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Samsung Q45 review: Samsung Q45

Samsung's Q45 might not be the tiniest of laptops available, but with a 12-inch screen it's still small enough to be easily portable.

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7.5

Samsung Q45

The Good

Good performance; small size; great looking design.

The Bad

Poor at 3D graphics; annoying key layout.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung Q45 punches well above its weight, with performance results you'd expect from a much larger model. It's not quite up to 3D gaming though, and suffers from an annoying key layout

Despite its undersized dimensions, it's still a decent performer with enough power to do some proper work and it's a good-looker too, all for just £717 from LaptopsDirect.co.uk.

Strengths
The Q45 may only measure 299 by 36 by 217mm and weigh 1.9kg, but it can easily give a much larger laptop a run for its money in the performance stakes. With a 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 processor and only 1GB of RAM, it managed to rack up a score of 3,281 in PCMark05, which is impressive for its size.

While it's capable of turning its hand to heavy processing, it's thankfully not too much of a drain on the battery. Although it only turned in an average result of 1 hour 33 minutes while running the intensive Battery Eater test, it managed a much more respectable 4 hours 30 minutes during the reader test.

The 12.1-inch glossy display has a native resolution of 1,280x800 pixels and offers great colour reproduction, but its reflective coating makes it difficult to work on if there are any bright lights behind you.

The whole package is finished off in a stunning glossy black casing that looks fantastic, although it is rather susceptible to greasy fingerprints.

Weaknesses
PCMark05 may have proved little challenge for the Q45, but 3DMark06 turned out to be a much more formidable opponent. Despite its best efforts, its integrated Intel GMA X3100 graphics chip only managed to pull it in a result of 431, ruling out cutting-edge gaming.

The Q45 only comes bundled with a copy of Windows XP, and given its poor 3D performance and only 1GB of RAM it's unlikely to fare that well running Vista with all the bells and whistles enabled.

The keyboard is a decent size for such a small model, but Samsung has inexplicably swapped some modifier keys around, so if you're a fan of keyboard shortcuts you'll need to re-program your brain before you're back up to full speed again. The Right Click button sits on the bottom far left, where Ctrl should be. Ctrl is living where the Windows key should be, which itself is over on the wrong side of the spacebar, where you would expect to find the Right Click button.

The Q45 also comes up short on the connector front, with just two USB ports available (one at the back, the other on the right), modem, Ethernet, four-pin FireWire, VGA, headphone and microphone, plus a SD/Memory Stick card reader at the front.

Conclusion
Unlike many a small laptop, the Q45 is actually capable of doing some proper work on the move, although its 3D performance is still pretty miserable. The basic key reassignment is stupid, serving no conceivable purpose other than to confuse and annoy, but other than that it's a nice little number for under £720.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire