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At first glance, the Samsung P200 seems to be little more than the company's popular Q45 laptop with all the fun taken out in an attempt to make it more appealing to business types. However, look further than its suit-and-tie attire and you'll find that this £700 laptop still has plenty of fire in its belly.
The P200 fits neatly into the thin-and-light category as its small dimensions mean you can hide it under a single A4 sheet of paper. Although it's small in stature, it punches above its weight when it comes to performance. The combination of the 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 and 2GB of RAM helped it post a score of 4,232 in PCMark 2005, which puts it near the top of the thin-and-light stack. You also get a decent amount of storage, thanks to the 200GB hard drive. The battery life isn't bad either: it managed to keep running for 2 hours 44 minutes before finally conking out.
As the P200 is aimed primarily at business users, Samsung has dumped the glossy coating found on the Q45 and Q70 and instead opted for a rubberised finish. Gloss finishes tend to pick up fingerprints like a CSI agent and are also prone to scratching, so we do think that the rubberised look is likely to wear better for business travellers.
It's a similar story with the 1,280x800-pixel, 12.1-inch screen. It has a matte finish rather than the Ultra-Brite coating found on most consumer laptops. Of course, this means colours look less vibrant, but it has the benefit of being less reflective. Your eyes will thank you when you're using it on a train or flight home after a tiring business meeting.
Still, Samsung knows that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so it hasn't completely ignored entertainment features. The P200 is fitted with a dedicated ATI's Radeon Xpress 1250 graphics chip for gaming. It scored a relatively lowly 610 in our 3DMark 2006 test, but that does make it good enough for a few bouts of Crysis, as long as you keep the detail turned down.
The other nod to entertainment comes in the form of the AV button on the top right-hand side of the case. This launches Samsung's AV Station Now software that gives you quick access to your music, photos and movies -- handy because the laptop is loaded with Windows Vista Business, which doesn't include Windows Media Center.
Although the keyboard is generally good, it carries over one of the sins from the Q45. The Windows key has been sited to the right of the space bar, rather than to the left as it is on most other laptops. If you use a lot of keyboard shortcuts you'll have to reprogram your brain slightly to adjust to this awkward anomaly.
The laptop is also lacking when it comes to ports. For example, it lacks a FireWire port and there are only two USB ports -- one at the back and one on the right-hand side -- which seems stingy to us. It's also disappointing that Wi-Fi is limited to 802.11b/g, rather than the Draft-N support that's now becoming common on most new machines. Business users may also be bothered at the lack of a fingerprint scanner and TPM security support -- something that's becoming increasingly common on business laptops.
We like the P200. It's compact, well built and has plenty of power under the bonnet. Sure, it's lacking in the ports department, but for many users that isn't such a big drawback. Overall, we reckon it's a good option for those who are after a powerful thin-and-light that doesn't cost a fortune.
Edited by Shannon Doubleday