Thin and light but more powerful than a netbook
Samsung’s Q330 laptop is thin and relatively light, weighing 2kg.
It has a 13.3in screen which puts it firmly into the category in-between full-sized laptops and smaller, less-powerful netbook computers.
One big distinguishing feature from a netbook is that Samsung has managed to squeeze a CD/DVD drive into the Q330, which is impressive given its thinness.
The screen was good quality, as was the keyboard, and although it was shallower than we would have liked (the keys didn’t travel far enough when pressed) it was easy to type on thanks to an excellent design.
Samsung has made full use of the laptop’s width to make sure all the keys are well spaced, helping to avoid typing errors. The touchpad, located beneath the keyboard, was so-so. There are two very small speakers mounted just above the keyboard which did a reasonable job, but were too tinny for serious use.
The laptop is preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium and it comes with a large amount of other software. Some of it, such as the Cyberlink software for playing DVDs, is useful, while others such as the trials of various security products, were less so and quickly became an annoyance. The most useful is Failsafe, which allows you to remotely lock, track and erase the laptop if it’s lost or stolen, but it’s only a 30-day trial, after which there’s an extra charge.
Inside the computer there’s an Intel Core i3 M350 processor which is at the lower end of the chip maker’s current range, but it’s still considerably more powerful than the Intel Atom processors to be found in most computers cheaper than this (and some at this price). It’s accompanied by 3GB of memory and there’s a 320GB hard disk. It doesn’t have a separate graphics card so it relies largely on the main processor to do all the hard work of delivering graphics and video.
That means it’s not much use when it comes to games, besides less demanding and older games, or for video editing. That said, it coped admirably with playing back high-definition video, something with which many similarly priced laptops struggle. For general office and internet tasks it had no problems.
It has both a VGA socket for attaching a monitor and an HDMI socket for attaching a flat-panel TV. There are three USB sockets and headphone and microphone sockets and it can connect to wired and wireless networks and Bluetooth devices, with a memory card reader located on the front panel below the touchpad.
This computer isn’t for everyone: its power is of limited use because it can’t play games or edit video. But it’s thin, light and easy to carry, so it will appeal to those who need to use a computer on the move but for whom a netbook is too small or underpowered.
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Relatively expensive for what it offers but if you need more power than a netbook it’s a good choice Good points Includes DVD drive; thin and light; reasonable computing power Bad points Fairly expensve; no good for games; speakers not much use
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