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Samsung NP-QX412 review: Samsung NP-QX412

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The Good Good battery life. Solid construction. Decent performance.

The Bad Lots of wasted bezel space. Nvidia graphics don't really add much.

The Bottom Line Samsung's stylish-looking laptop is a reasonable performer — although it looks a little better than it actually performs.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.2 Overall

Review Sections

Design

Samsung's web page for the difficult to pronounce NP-QX412 states that it features an "ultra-thin and portable design". At 2.05kg it's arguably portable, but at 331x236.4x27mm it's a fair way what we'd call ultra-thin in comparison to laptops such as the MacBook Air or Lenovo Thinkpad X1. They're both apt comparisons from a design perspective as well, given Samsung's use of sheer black and silver metallic tones. The exact style of notebook that appeals to you may vary, but we'd say that the NP-QX412, despite its ungainly nomenclature, is an attractive system.

What it's not is a system that's overloaded with additional function buttons. The keyboard is comfortable to use and well spaced for comfortable typing, but there's a lot of extra space that could have accommodated additional functions. Instead, Samsung's left it blank, with only slender buttons for volume and network connection icons. It's a battle of functions versus aesthetics, and aesthetics clearly scored a first round KO.

Features

The review model we tested came with an Intel Core i5 2410M 2.3GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT520M graphics processor and a 14-inch 16:9 1366x768-pixel display screen. The default-installed operating system is Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. On the ports front you're looking at Ethernet, VGA, two USB 3.0 ports (hidden under a flap next to the HDMI port), one USB 2.0 port, a five-in-one card reader and DVD writer that slopes nicely in against the right-hand side.

Performance

The NP-QX412 showed itself as a capable performer for the asking price, with a PCMark05 score of 7109. That's almost exactly in line with what we'd expect from this processor and memory configuration; nothing surprising, but nothing terrible either.

As a Sandy Bridge system, the NP-QX412 features Intel's HD Graphics processor alongside Nvidia's dedicated 1GB GeForce GT520M, running Nvidia's "Optimus" drivers. These by default auto-select the more battery-intensive Nvidia processor when it's called for, but at least in our tests we didn't see a significant enough bump in graphics performance from them, scoring 5343 in 3DMark06. Samsung could chip a few dollars off the price of the NP-QX412 and simply ship with the Intel HD graphics option, and you most likely would never notice the difference.

The NP-QX412's battery life was decent for a six-cell battery option. Running full-screen video with all battery-saving measures disabled and screen brightness pumped up to full, the NP-QX412 managed a respectable three hours and 47 minutes. Bear in mind that in real-world usage, you should get better battery life than this; our battery test is intended to give a worst-case scenario figure.

Conclusion

The NP-QX412 is fair value for money on most fronts. The dedicated graphics don't provide as much oomph as we'd hope, but it's still a solid performer for most tasks, backed up with respectable battery life in a very attractive exterior shell.

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