BRIGITTE ROZARIO takes the Samsung Q35 ultraportable notebook for a spin and reflects on the wisdom of equipping it with a glossy screen.
Ultraportable notebook PC
Processor: Intel Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz)
Memory: 512MB RAM
Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
Display: 12.1in WXGA LCD (1,280 x 800pixels)
Storage: 100GB hard disk, DVD/CD-RW combo drive
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, 56K modem, Gigabit Ethernet
I/O ports: Two USB 2.0 ports, PC Card Type II slot, six-in-one memory card reader, headphone jack, mic input
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP2
Dimensions (w x d x h): 29.9 x 21.4 x 2.74cm
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia, 1-800-88-9999.
WITH mobility being so important these days – to students, professionals and businesses alike – it is not surprising that more and more PC manufacturers are producing ultraportable notebooks.
Not to be denied its piece of the pie is South Korean powerhouse Samsung. If you only knew of Samsung’s AV products and cellphones, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, as I was, to find out that the company also manufactures notebook PCs.
No small tyke
With the small footprint, I expected the Q35 to be lighter. At 1.89kg, it would be a bit of a task lugging this PC with me on my daily appointments.
The weight is probably due to the DVD/CD-RW drive and the battery. Some of the other ultraportable notebook PCs save on weight by having no optical disc drive and a smaller battery.
Despite being an ultraportable notebook, the Q35 did not stinge on space. There is ample space to rest your hands as you type on the keyboard. And the keys aren’t so cramped together as some manufacturers tend to do with ultraportables.
I am not sure why the position of the Function (Fn) key has been exchanged with that of the Control (Ctrl) key. I found myself pressing the Fn key constantly when I wanted to press the Control key.
I do wish the Q35 had an external wheel for the volume control. Without one, I had to go into the Volume Control window or press down the Function key and the arrow buttons to increase or decrease the volume.
Although this is an ultraportable, the heat vents are substantial so that the notebook does not run hot even after extended use.
The Q35 has a six-in-one memory card reader for Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD Card, MultiMedia Card, xD and high-speed MultiMedia Card.
This is quite handy for those who have a variety of gadgets and use several different memory cards. This way you no longer need to use an external memory card reader.
Another cool feature is the AVS Multimedia button, which is situated just under the Power button.
It allows you to watch movies, see photos or listen to music files without having to first boot up the PC – a nice feature for those who want instant access to their multimedia files.
Pluses and minuses
The Q35 comes with Bluetooth, which is always a boon for those with more than one gadget (and that includes almost everyone these days).
There’s also WiFi connectivity for those who have a wireless network or are on the go (which you would be if you’re getting an ultraportable).
However, there are only two USB ports. Insufficient by today’s standards, but given that this is an ultraportable I don’t think you would expect it to come with too many bells and whistles.
I thought the placement of the second USB port on the back left of the PC a bit strange. I prefer my USB ports on the sides or if it’s on the back then on the right, but that’s a matter of preference, I guess. I am sure left-handed PC users will appreciate this, though.
The audio on the Q35 is really horrible. I am not exaggerating here. It really is horrendously “bass-y.”
However with headphones plugged in, the sound was much better. On the Q35 the headphone jack is on the front and not on the side as with some laptops. I’m not sure if it makes a difference to everyone else; it didn’t for me.
One grouse I had is that the screen made it quite difficult to read documents or view photos or video. I kept seeing my reflection on the screen, which incidentally is a WXGA Superbright Gloss display.
I tried watching the same DVD on my own notebook, a non-glossy display. While the reflection was there, it was not as distracting as it was on the Samsung screen.
Ringgit and sense
So, the question we come to is: Is the Q35 worth its price tag? It really depends on what you need your notebook for.
If you need a notebook for mobility but also need a DVD/CD-RW combo drive and won’t be using it much for viewing movies and don’t mind bass-y audio, then by all means get it.
If you’re a stickler for details like excellent audio and you want a multimedia machine, then you might consider other options.
I found this Samsung lacking but then I tend to use the notebook for everything, which is why I am biased towards multimedia-centric PCs.
Pros: DVD/CD-RW drive; Bluetooth; six-in-one memory card reader; WiFi.
Cons: A bit heavy; hard to read documents or see pictures when external power source is switched off; audio is bass-y.