Samsung Q330 review
Recent Samsung laptops have been stylish affairs, notable as much for their glossy red casing and matching keyboard and trackpad as for their computing capabilities.
This new 13.3-inch display model is a more demure machine, dressed in discreet gloss black, though with an eye-catching silver inside - the screen and keys are framed in matte silver plastic, with chrome trackpad keys. In keeping with the subdued styling, the large power button at the top right is silver and it's solid and well-built, too.
The keys stand out because they're black with white letters, widely spaced (not least because there's no separate number pad). The spacing is a great success - it's easy and comfortable to type at speed on this machine, although mind out for the trackpad which is all too easily brushed as you go, sending the cursor haywire.
But the Q330 aims to be more than a pretty face. It's reasonably slim and light (just under 2kg), but while that usually means low-power or high-price, Samsung is pitching this laptop as well-equipped and powerful, too. For instance, although this is a reasonably small notebook, Samsung still finds space for a multi-format DVD writer and that new favourite in the connectivity stakes, the USB connector that charges your phone, camera or other USB-chargeable device even when the computer is off.
You can play back HD content at 720p resolution - although it can't manage Full HD and there's no Blu-ray drive so your HD source won't be discs. Once you've found the content you can also view it on a suitable TV thanks to the HDMI out socket. This will be handy if you're having trouble angling the screen to avoid reflective glare or finding the viewing angle too narrow from the 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, 16:9 display.
The latest version of Bluetooth is another connectivity highlight, making it quicker to transfer data between the laptop and your phone or other device, along with Wi-Fi b/g/n.
And how does it perform? Pretty good, actually. With plenty of speed at the basics like word processing and internet surfing, but with enough grunt to cope with plenty of programs open at the same time. That's mostly down to the Intel Core i3-350M (2.26GHz) processor and 3GB of RAM which powers things along nicely. Gaming, however, isn't the laptop's strong point as the Intel HD graphics chip isn't designed for fast gameplay. There's plenty of space on the hard drive - 320GB - so you needn't worry about it filling up too fast.
Battery life was more than decent - you'll get almost a full day's activity between charges, and easily over 4.5 hours.
Overall, this is a highly enjoyable laptop to use - the keys are comfortable, responsive and work well for fast typing. The styling, though not as standout as recent Samsung models, is designed to match the Jet mobile phone. The graphics card isn't good enough to deliver fast gameplay but that's about the weakest element in a light, manageable and effective notebook. Decent value, too.