Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
- Light, portable, great screen
- External optical drive, relatively slow
Samsung has come up with a fantastic, lightweight ultraportable in the Q30. It's got enough power to drive productivity applications and manages to run for 5.5 hours with a long-life 6-cell battery.
Price$ 3,499.00 (AUD)
The diminutive Samsung Q30 is a road warrior's dream. The 1.2KG chassis packs enough features for the mobile worker, but eschews bells and whistles to save weight.
Once you get past the striking red lid and silver trim, the most noteworthy feature of the Q30 is the 12" widescreen display running at a native resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels. The screen features a gloss coating that boosts brightness and clarity, and the image looks fantastic. The wide screen also allows Samsung to fit a large keyboard to the machine while still keeping the size and weight down. Typing is comfortable, and the keys don't feel cramped.
The heart of the system includes a 1.2GHz Pentium M processor, mated to 512MB of RAM and a 40GB hard disk, which provide sufficient power to drive modern applications -- though not beefy databases or games.
At 29 x 20 x 2.4cm, the chassis is too small to house an optical drive, but there's a full-size Firewire port on the left panel to power an optional external unit beside VGA, USB and audio connectors. The right-hand face offers a second USB interface, along with Ethernet, modem, and Compact Flash sockets, while a combined MemoryStick/SD card reader sits on the front. Extras include a long life battery (supplied for testing) and an external FireWire optical drive.
The compact size of the Q30 means that Samsung has opted to rely on on-board hardware to drive most of the machine's functions. There's no extra graphics adaptor, and the unit instead relies on the Intel 855 Extreme Graphics chipset to achieve sub-par gaming results. The machine was able to score 2017 in PCMark04 and 103 under MobileMark 2002; hardly setting any lab records, but still acceptable for driving current applications. Battery life stretched out to 5:30 hours using the long life cell.
The system also includes Intel's PRO Wireless 2200 802.11b/g Wi-Fi adaptor, along with a 10/100 Broadcom Ethernet adaptor. Many current-generation notebooks are built around newer Intel architecture (Sonoma) that includes an 802.11a/b/g adaptor and gigabit Ethernet, but the Q30 is still a capable, lightweight ultraportable for productivity.
One handy addition to the box contents is a foldout installation guide that takes the user through installing the battery, connecting the power adapter, powering up the machine and registering Windows. It's simple, well laid-out, and a handy inclusion for any new notebook buyers.
Though the Samsung Q30 isn't blisteringly fast, it more than keeps up with surfing the net and handling productivity applications like Microsoft Office. Better yet, at 1.2KG, it's light enough to carry around all day, and the long life battery will come close to matching it.
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