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Samsung Q70 review: Samsung Q70

The Good Impressive glossy screen; decent range of features.

The Bad Dull styling; rather heavy.

The Bottom Line The Q70 has plenty of grunt under the hood and a decent range of features. However, it's all wrapped up in a dull-looking and slightly too heavy and bulky chassis. Ultra-portables are all about sex appeal and this machine just hasn't got the x-factor to make it a real object of desire

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7.5 Overall

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Sony is perhaps the name that springs to mind when you think of stylish ultra-portable laptops, but Samsung has also knocked out plenty of elegant machines in this category -- we loved the Q35.

This one may not be the thinnest or lightest Samsung has produced, but it uses the latest Intel Centrino technology, codenamed Santa Rosa, and is fully Vista-capable, so you don't miss out on the new operating system's flashy graphical flourishes. The machine will be available from June onwards and will be priced at around £900.

In the past, Samsung has produced some of the prettiest ultra-portables we've seen, but unfortunately this model isn't one that's destined for the catwalk. Sure, the glossy black veneer on the lid looks attractive, but open it up and you're met with a grey metallic finish that's as dull as reruns of The Bill. The underside also looks lumpy.

Size-wise, the machine slots in at the chunkier end of the ultra-portable scale. Its footprint is slightly larger than an A4 sheet of paper, it's not particularly thin and it weights in at the 2kg mark with the large six-cell battery attached.

The USB, VGA and Ethernet ports are all cunningly concealed under a flap on the right-hand side

To be fair, many of its rivals slim themselves down by jettisoning ports and optical drives, or at least banishing them to the docking bay, whereas the Q70 keeps all this gubbins onboard. You get a DVD-rewriter, twin USB ports, a mini-FireWire socket and a full-size VGA port.

The Q70 is loaded with Windows Vista Home Premium, so you get access to all the new Vista features including the handy Windows Media Center software. The graphics chip can handle the full Vista Aero interface, so you also get to use the transparency effects and the 'impress your friends' Windows 3D application switcher.

It has to be said that Vista's new eye candy really does look great on the excellent 13.3-inch display. The screen has a sharp resolution of 1,280x800 pixels and uses the Superbright coating to make colours really leap from the display. That said, it is rather more reflective that a traditional matte finish.

Samsung has resisted the temptation to adorn the laptop with a plethora of quick-launch buttons or media keys. As a result, the main keyboard has room to stretch itself out across practically the whole width of the machine. This helps it feel a little less cramped than you would expect on such a small laptop.

There is one quick-launch button provided, which is used to fire up Samsung's AVstation media playback software. Unlike the quick-start media players on some laptops, this one seems to require the PC to boot normally into Windows, so there is little point in using it when the Windows Media Center software does a much better job of playing back your music and videos. The 160GB hard drive offers a decent amount of storage, but if you're a fan of collecting movies you may want to invest in an external hard drive.

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