Review Last year I reviewed Sony's Vaio X505 notebook and was stunned at just how wafer-thin and light it was. Although I've looked at a number of ultra-portable notebooks since then, I've yet to see anything as slim, light or sexy as the Sony - until now. There are few technology products that I'd describe as beautiful, but the Samsung Q30 definitely falls into that category, writes Riyad Emeran.
OK, so the Q30 isn't quite as light as the Sony X505, weighing 1.1kg as opposed to the X505's 822g, but the Samsung can hardly be described as heavy. And with dimensions of only 28.7 x 19.7 x 2.4cm it's small enough to be slipped into almost any bag unobtrusively. But despite the tiny dimensions, the Q30 is a well-featured little machine. In fact, even though the X505 is lighter, you'd have to carry some extra bits and pieces with you to match the functionality of the Samsung. The X505 needs a dongle for both D-SUB and Ethernet ports, while there was also no integrated Wi-Fi adaptor. Yes, a Wi-Fi PC Card comes with the X505 as standard, but it's another thing that you need to carry with you. The memory card reader was also a PC Card, so this would need to be carried separately too. With the Q30, all this is built in.
Like so many notebooks these days, the Q30 is finished in matt silver, but the colour really suits the slim form-factor. Open up the lid and you're greeted with a surprisingly large and well laid out keyboard. The keys are a good size and have a decent amount of travel, along with a solid break that springs your finger back up for the next key strike. The Shift, Caps Lock, Return and Backspace keys are all large, and even though the Fn key is in the bottom left where the Ctrl key should be, Samsung has made the Ctrl key larger, so it's still pretty easy to get to.
The screen is stunning considering the size of the Q30. The 12.1in TFT display is a widescreen panel with a resolution of 1280 x 768, giving you an impressive amount of desktop real estate. Samsung has made the screen even more special by using what it calls 'Super Bright'. This is a coating similar to the X-Black/X-Brite coating pioneered by Sony, and it generates extremely vivid colours. The downside is increased reflectivity from the screen, but I'm quite happy to live with this, considering how much better the image looks overall. I'm a fan of this type of screen technology in general, but the display on the Q30 is exceptionally good. It's a shame that the Q30 isn't up to the job of playing games, because they'd look great on this display, although if you watch the odd movie you'll still make the most of it.
There's a small silver touchpad just below the Spacebar, but since the wrist rest is raised slightly from the keyboard there's little chance of you hitting the touchpad by accident when you're typing. The touchpad is finished in the same matt silver as the rest of the chassis, as are the two selector buttons below it. This is a very good touchpad and made for accurate and easy pointer manipulation. And you can use the right side of it to scroll up and down through documents and web pages.