Samsung has overhauled its range in recent months, first with the 12-inch Q210 and now with its slightly larger sibling, the 13.3-inches of the Q310.
It’s made from plastic but build quality is high and we were impressed with how solid it felt to the touch. It has the same styling as previous models in the Q Series but now has the addition of a ruby red strip along the front, to match Samsung’s widescreen televisions.
The 13.3-inch screen has a Super-TFT coating and images look fantastic. The panel has an even tone to it and even when running on battery power we found images looked bright. It’s supported by a dedicated graphics card, in this case the Nvidia GeForce 9200M GS, which is an entry-level card but means you’ll be able to play online games with a degree of ease.
The screen is also a good compromise between size and weight. Being a smaller than average notebook, weight is kept to a portable 2.2kg, which makes this machine ideal if you need to carry it around. When carrying it around, we found we could use this machine for up to 4 hours before needing to recharge.
To get to this battery life Samsung hasn’t opted for low-voltage processing power, but instead used standard Intel chips. The 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 is backed by 4096MB of memory and you’ll find this a portable powerhouse. We found that it was more than capable of handling multimedia tasks. What’s more, the 250GB hard drive is large enough to store all your files with ease.
Running Windows Vista Home Premium edition, we found this machine loaded quickly and ran smoothly. The extra memory helps to keep things ticking over nicely and we found this a great machine to use for most applications.
When it comes to extras, you’ll find the DVD rewriter supports LightScribe technology, so you can burn your own disc labels at the press of a button. Then there is the use of 802.11n Wi-Fi and even Gigabit Ethernet for the fastest possible connections to networks. Other ports are kept to a minimum but there are three USB ports scattered around the casing, as well as a webcam positioned above the screen.
Samsung isn’t known for its bundled software but you’ll find Microsoft Works is bundled. There are also a number of proprietary utilities that help you manage battery life as well as your networking options.
The Samsung Q310 offers everything we found likeable in the Q210 but the slightly larger screen means it’s just that bit more practical. Considering you get all this power and portability for less than £700, it’s no surprise this is quickly becoming one of our favourite notebooks.