Summary: The Samsung R540-11 ($999) delivers fast performance, smooth graphics, and a Blu-ray drive for a reasonable price. However, some may be turned off by the faux-wood look. If you can do without Blu-ray, we think the $899 Toshiba Satellite A655 is a better deal. That notebook's design isn't nearly as daring, but it offers nearly identical specs to the R540 and even better graphics performance.
Pros: Fast performance, Strong graphics, Comfortable keyboard, Cool operation, Good speakers
Cons: Polarizing faux-wood desgin, Short battery life, Small touchpad and buttons
Summary: The Samsung R540 seems to target a demanding audience, since its CPU, GPU, and all-around performance can drive powerful applications and games. But a mediocre display, a weak battery, and a stingy allocation of ports keep it from hitting the mark. If you're looking for a midrange laptop PC, the Samsung R540 is worth considering, but don't expect a high-end system on the cheap.