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Samsung Q320 review

Verdict

Blends portability and finesse with an impressively affordable asking price

Review Date: 2 Oct 2009

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £561 (£645 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
6 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Samsung's Q320 is a fine example of the increasingly popular 13.3in laptop. It walks the fine line between Apple's minimalism and the attention-seeking gloss of dearer laptops, with the glossy black lid contrasting attractively against a matte-black interior and subtle chrome highlights.

But the Q320 is also a hardier notebook than its plain-Jane siblings, the R620 and R720. Both the base and the glossy lid feel up to taking a bit of abuse. That's a good thing, as at just 2.18kg the Samsung Q320 won't feel like a lead weight if you do decide to carry it about. Factor in the reasonable, if not exceptional, 4hrs 29mins of light-use battery life, and the Samsung makes a fine travelling partner.

Indeed, you may find you want to carry it around all the time. That most crucial of things, the keyboard, is in fine form with long-travel keys that give a responsive, positive feel and a layout that's free from foolish compromises.

There's an impressive turn of speed when you need it, thanks to the 2GHz Intel processor and 3GB of RAM. A result of 1.02 in our benchmarks isn't lightning-fast, but it's good enough for most jobs, and, thanks to the Nvidia G105M graphics chipset, it's also capable of some light gaming: 28fps in our low settings Crysis test isn't bad going at all.

The only disappointment is the Q320's LED-backlit display. The native resolution of 1,366 x 768 is a good match for the display size, but image quality isn't quite as good as we'd like. In isolation it looks perfectly acceptable, but next to better rivals, colours seem muted and it struggles to differentiate very light shades.

All the same, cast an eye through the specifications and you'll find simply nothing missing. A generous complement of memory and a 320GB hard disk sit alongside draft-n wireless and Bluetooth, while a comprehensive array of ports and connectors round off a keenly priced package.

So while the Q320 might not rival a MacBook Pro for sheer desirably, when it comes to value for money it leaves the Apple far behind.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

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User comments

You need to be on your guard if you are considering this laptop as it comes in several versions, the review sample had a 2.0 Ghz core 2 duo T6400 processor, HOWEVER it is also available with a 2.0 GHz core duo T4200 which is much cheaper although laptops with the T4200 processor seem to get very similar results in your lab tests.
Does anyone actually understand Intel's processor naming and numbering system, I'm actually interested from a professional point of view and have looked long and hard at this, and I'm not much wiser, the whole system seems to defy any sort of logic.
Anyway I bet a lot of people buy the wrong version of the Q320, thinking that they have found a bargain.

By stokegabriel on 5 Oct 2009

When I posed the question, "Does anyone actually understand Intel's processor naming and numbering system", I was of course referring to Intel mobile processors, not desktop processors.OK

By stokegabriel on 5 Oct 2009

Part codes

If you remember to click the Specs tab and check the precise part code before you buy any of our review machines you should avoid buying the wrong model. The PriceGrabber links below all point to the correct model too.

By DavidBayon on 5 Oct 2009

When I posed the question, "Does anyone actually understand Intel's processor naming and numbering system", I was of course referring to Intel mobile processors, not desktop processors.OK

By stokegabriel on 5 Oct 2009

T4200 vs T6400

The difference between the T4200 and T6400 comes down to L2 cache size. The T4200 has 1MB and the T6400 has 2MB.

Will it make a big difference, or even a noticeable one for most people? No. If the T4200 model is significantly cheaper than the T6400 one, then all other things being equal, I know which I'd choose. :)

By SashaMuller on 8 Oct 2009

Fan noise?

I've read reports that the wrist rest can get quite warm on the left. Is this true?
Also, any views on the noise from the fan - is it significant or not?

By simonhiscocks on 8 Oct 2009

Win 7 version

The W7 versions of this are starting to appear. Laptops Direct have a the slightly less powerful T4200 in black (previously only in white) but with a 500GB hard drive for £599 which looks a good deal to me http://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/Samsung_Q320-JS02UK
_Laptop_in_Black_NP-Q320-JS02UK/version.asp

By simonhiscocks on 21 Oct 2009

T6500 Processor

I've been looking at the NP-Q320-PS02UK which has 4gb of RAM, a500gb HDD and a 2.1 Ghz T6500 processor. The only thing I can't work out is how much L2 cache it has, all the spec sheets on the web point to 1mb but the Intel site quotes 2mb. I any one able to put my mind at rest and confirm whether it's 1mb or 2mb?

By AndyB on 8 Nov 2009

T6500 Processor

I've been looking at the NP-Q320-PS02UK which has 4gb of RAM, a500gb HDD and a 2.1 Ghz T6500 processor. The only thing I can't work out is how much L2 cache it has, all the spec sheets on the web point to 1mb but the Intel site quotes 2mb. I any one able to put my mind at rest and confirm whether it's 1mb or 2mb?

By AndyB on 8 Nov 2009

Replacement battery

Has anyone managed to get a replacement battery for this laptop. All of the online retailers stock a battery which claims to fit, but doesn't. Help!

By alan123 on 11 Aug 2010

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