Samsung entered the notebook race a little over a year ago, and in that time they have consistently released a series of excellent laptops with exceptional looks and battery life. And the M50 is the flagship of the Samsung range.

The M50 features a 17″ screen in a magnesium alloy casing, which makes it very strong and light. The screen itself is well-braced with absolutely no flex, meaning that if it accidentally lands screen-side down on the ground, it’s less likely to break off or crack unlike some other, flimsier display panels.

With a screen that large, it’s no surprise that this is intended as a desktop replacement and not a portable machine. While it’s quite comfortable to carry at 2.95 kg, the battery life is not up to the level of some rivals such as Sony, and even its own stablemates. The freely-available benchmark, Battery Eater Pro, tests a laptop’s charge through several number-crunching and graphics-intensive tests. The Samsung managed a decent two hours and 28 minutes – enough for a DVD perhaps. But, plugged into the mains, its other strengths come to the fore.

The M50 features a 2GHz Pentium processor, a hefty amount of RAM for a notebook – 1GB – and a goodly amount of hard drive space in 80GB. The notebook will also play new release games courtesy of its Geforce Go 6600 chipset. And games are particularly well served – it will run the latest DirectX 9 games, achieving a 3DMark 05 score of 2173, which is excellent for a notebook.

Meanwhile,PCMark 04 managed an excellent 4080 marks which is quite exceptional for a notebook. This is one powerful machine.
In terms of ergonomics, Samsung are one of the best, and the M50 is no missed trick. The keys are responsive, the trackpad is one of the most pleasing to use, and the display is bright and consistent across the screen.

The M50 is an excellent notebook for both general usage and multimedia applications. It’s thin, relatively portable, and well priced. Samsung’s dominance of the laptop market continues.

Samsung M50 | $3,599 |

For: Light for a desktop replacement; surprisingly good battery life; excellent performance.
Against: Lack of multimedia features such as webcam and TV tuner
Verdict: A reasonably priced notebook with a gorgeous screen, and enough juice for the daily commute


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