Normally, if you want a light, portable laptop, you'll have to compromise when it comes to performance. Recently, though, Samsung has spawned a few exceptional machines that offer surprising performance without splintering your spine every time you try and lift them. The latest effort to slide under the CNET UK microscope is the 14-inch Samsung Q430, which can be yours for around £660.
The Q430 makes a good first impression, sporting a sultry, dark grey lid and a silver, brushed-aluminium effect on the interior. It looks stylish and, even though it's mostly made of plastic, the Q430 doesn't feel too clumsily glued together. Overall, it feels sturdy.
The computer also feels light. Lifting it up, it's immediately obvious that it's been built for taking on the road. It weighs 2.1kg, so, while it's not as light as a netbook, it'll be comfortable enough to lug around in a backpack or satchel. It's pretty thin too, measuring 26mm at its slimmest point and 32mm at its thickest.
The next thing you'll notice is the 14-inch display. We're big fans of this panel. It's a 16:9 affair with a maximum resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. That's all pretty standard, but what's not standard is the delightful brightness that the panel is capable of emitting. It's vibrant too, with colours rendered very vividly. We don't encounter screens this attractive very often, although some other Samsung machines we've seen, like the, have similarly impressed us. Staring at this panel all day will leave your eyes so happy they might just dance a jig right out of your head.
You'll notice a few distracting reflections on the display, thanks its glossy coating, but we didn't find these too distracting. The screen's brightness goes some way towards cancelling out these annoyances too.
The Q430's big, chunky keys make for a great typing experience. There's a healthy gap between each key, which will cut down on the chances of you making typos. The arrow keys are sensibly laid out, and there's a massive enter key, so you can send your world-altering missives with a satisfying thump. Lovely.
The trackpad manages to impress as well, even though it's quite small. The touch-sensitive surface is responsive enough to register precise mousing actions, but not so sensitive as to send your cursor flying off into the corner of the screen. The click buttons feel great, and they're less likely to induce crippling thumb cramp than the buttons on many rival laptops.
For a portable machine, the Q430 also does fairly well when it comes to connectivity. It has three USB ports, an Ethernet jack, VGA and HDMI outputs, 3.5mm sockets for headphones and a mic, a three-in-one card reader and a DVD rewritable drive.