The Good Solid, higher-end design in a compact package; Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia graphics for an affordable price.
The Bad Ports are sparse; no Bluetooth.
The Bottom Line An impressively designed surprise, the Samsung Q430-11 is a feature-packed, fast laptop that looks more expensive than it is.
Editors' note: This review is part of our 2010 retail laptop and desktop back-to-school roundup, covering specific fixed configurations of popular systems that can be found in retail stores.
In an earlier retail laptop roundup, we were surprised to discover that the $829 Samsung NP-R580-JSB1US was one of the best all-around values in the midrange category. It was a complete package with a Blu-ray drive, Nvidia graphics chip, and an Intel Core i5 processor in a 15-inch body that didn't look half bad. This time, the $829 Samsung Q430-11 breaks into our retail assortment of laptops at the same price but with a far sleeker design than that of its predecessor.
With a Core i5 processor and the same Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics chip found in the R580, this 14-inch metal-clad notebook is a very solid package, but Samsung drops the Blu-ray drive. The Q430-11 may not be quite the steal that the R580 was, but it happens to be a far better-looking and -feeling laptop. With its premium construction, style, discrete graphics chip, and price, Samsung has created yet another winning laptop.
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