Samsung Q210 review

£591
Price when reviewed

Visually, Samsung’s newest Q-series notebook has had a slight facelift, courtesy of the company’s new “touch of colour” design. The same fingerprint-magnet, glossy black “Aura” finish from the formerly A-Listed Q70 remains on the exterior, but the inside of the case is now decked-out to match, and tinged at the front with a graduated red line. It won’t be to everyone’s taste – the word “tacky” was used by several PC Pro members – but will nonetheless be rolled-out across a variety of Samsung devices this year from computers to televisions.

Apart from this, little has changed from the Q70. The screen remains glossy, leaving its surround as virtually the only non-reflective surface on the entire laptop. The keyboard also sticks to the same formula as its predecessor, but this is no bad thing.

The action is low, but the board feels solid and spacious. The keys, like those on all new Samsung models, are also coated with a “Silver Nano” technology to prevent bacterial growth – a handy feature for those with OCD, but beware that this is only a coating, so after a few months you may find yourself once again catching horrible diseases from the gunk caught between G and H.

Beside the keyboard lurk two small speaker grilles, which look like miniature cheese graters, but hide a pair of decent quality, if not the loudest, speakers. Running alongside these grilles are a series of helpful white icons which indicate where the various ports live on the sides of the chassis, making life much easier when plugging in peripherals. Three USB ports are included, although two are closely stacked atop each other, so bulky flash drives can’t be used in tandem.

One of the only noticeable changes from the Q70 is the size. An inch has been knocked off the screen to 12.1in, although you get to keep the same 1,280 x 800 resolution and high quality. This makes the chassis around a centimetre smaller in each direction – including thickness. It’s therefore far more portable than its predecessor, with no compromise in screen usability or keyboard size.

A small amount has been knocked off the weight, too, although admittedly not enough to make a huge difference – a shade under 2kg is easily luggable.

Should the screen ever prove too small – watching movies is a slight stretch – the included HDMI port cleanly takes care of hooking up audio and video to an HDTV. No Blu-ray drive is included, though, so there is no way to make use of the laptop as anything more than a DVD and HDD media player.

Inside the chassis is where the majority of the changes have occurred. It qualifies for the Centrino 2 sticker on the front by including a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor, which already trumps the Q70’s 2.1GHz T8100. Included RAM is also increased by 50% to 3GB, and a 320GB hard disk takes the place of the 250GB. Considering this higher specification, we were a little surprised to see the Q210 score the same as the old Q70 in our 2D benchmarks, at 1.10.

it_photo_5965The battery is reasonable but not outstanding for a laptop of this size. It gave us an hour and a half in our intensive tests, while under light use conditions the Q210 managed to eke out just over four hours from the slim battery, which comes with a useful LED indicator showing the charge remaining.

Samsung may not have made any radical departures from the Q70 in the styling department (unless red stripes really float your boat), but the specification has been upgraded to an impressive extent, even if it has little impact on bottom line performance. Not only will the laptop crank through tasks quickly, but it will do so for longer, thanks to its longer battery life.

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