Samsung continues to overhaul its notebook range with the Q45. This is a lightweight entry-level machine that uses its new Aura design, which includes a piano-lacquer style of finish. This gives the Q45 a great look that is highly reflective but it soon gathers dust and fingerprints.
Being made from tough plastic, the build quality is sturdy with plenty of protection on the lid. More alarming is the fact that we found it easy to scratch, which doesn’t bode well for the long-term life of the machine. We’d advice carrying this machine around in a notebook slipcase or skin.
When it comes to performance, you’ll find an Intel 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo T7100 delivering more than sufficient power for every day tasks. Backed by 2048MB of memory, the Q45 loads Windows Vista Home Premium quite and smoothly and we found the system solid and reliable. The 160GB hard drive is a nice touch, as you’ll be able to store plenty of files of hours of video content.
Weighing in at 2kg, this is a great machine if you want to use out on the road. The battery protrudes from the back of the machine, making it a little awkward to get in and out of your carry case but you’ll be glad of it when travelling. We managed to get just over 6 hours from a single charge, which is more than surprising.
To help keep weight down, Samsung has fitted as 12.1-inch panel. This is a Super-TFT screen that is great for watching DVDs on but we found the panel had a grainy look to it that made editing photos less appealing. For daily tasks, such as writing this review or surfing the Internet, it proved more than adequate but there are notebooks at this price point with a better screen.
The keyboard is of a good size and the keys are near full-size, so you’ll find it easy to grow accustomed to. However, secondary keys around the edge of the board are a little cramped. Navigation is made easy, though, by a responsive touchpad that is accompanied by large mouse buttons.
As you would expect of a machine of this size there is little room for high-end components, to the graphics solution is integrated. Once again, this is fine for daily tasks but as it’s the Intel X3100 GPU, you won’t be able to handle anything too complicated. The features on offer are average more are very much in keeping with the price point. You’ll find a webcam fitted, which is a nice addition but the wireless option uses the ageing 802.11g format instead of the faster 802.11n.
The Samsung Q45 is something of a mixed bag, as the performance and battery life are more than appealing, especially at this price point and make it easy to recommend.
However, the keyboard and screen are less appealing and detract from what should be a far better machine.