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Samsung Q210 12.1in Centrino 2 Notebook review

Andy Vandervell




Our Score:


Samsung has long been the purveyor of excellent portable laptops. Its Q35 and latterly the Q45 were great little machines and were often priced very competitively as well. More recently, however, the Q45 was starting to show its age since, short of a new lick of paint, it hadn't seen a meaningful chassis overhaul since the original Q35 that we reviewed all the way back in June 2006. It's all change now, though, as the Q45 makes way for the Q210 and Santa Rosa for Montevina, Intel's new mobile platform that's known to you as Centrino 2.

Centrino 2 brings with it a completely new chipset with improved integrated graphics, better power management and a new range of processors. We'll get into the details of this new platform a little later, but first let's take a closer look at the shiny veneer that houses it all.

On the outside its classic Samsung: glossy and black. This introduces all the usual issues such as fingerprints and scratches but, as with the R410, the Q210 is more durable than previous machines thanks to a new coating. This doesn't make it impenetrable, this is no ToughBook, but the glossy finish on the Q210 is appreciably more durable than on previous models.

Inside things have changed quite a bit and not necessarily for the better. Carrying over its 'touch of colour' theme from TVs and monitors, the Q210 features its own deep red 'touch of colour' along the front edge. Samsung has also decided to extend the use of glossy black plastic inside and around the keyboard, too. Unfortunately, to our eyes at least, this effect isn't anywhere as attractive on the Q210 as it is on the TVs. It's not ugly per se, just underwhelming and less subtle than the rose tinted bezels of the TVs.

Moreover, knowing that glossy black finishes spoil easily, it's not the best thing to have around the one part of the notebook you're constantly touching. Even after relatively light usage the Q210 begins to look rather grubby and greasy and makes regular use of the provided cloth a necessity. Overall, the jury is very much out on both the touch of colour and glossy internal finish. Some will like it, but we're not so convinced.

Moving onto more subtle differences, the Q210 is also marginally wider and deeper than the Q45 it replaces. This is largely because the battery now sits flush with the system rather than protruding from the rear, as it did on the Q45. This arrangement is definitely preferable, so the extra size is perfectly acceptable.

Thankfully, this extra size hasn't had too noticeable an effect on the overall weight of the Q210. Weighing just 1.95kg the Q210 isn't the lightest notebook of its type, but less than two kilos is the ideal target for a machine of this size and anyone used to larger 15.4 or 14.1in machines will notice the difference straightaway.


August 1, 2008, 3:44 pm

I dont think ive seen a laptop with a touch of red before.. Im liking it, looks really smart.


September 5, 2008, 2:08 am

I don't like it! The red, it looks like the laptop is bruised!


October 4, 2008, 12:10 pm

I can't wait for the price of this machine to drop, and yes the shiny red is cool but messy !


December 1, 2008, 7:21 am

Trying to decide which one to get out of this and the Q310.

Sven Okonomi

December 28, 2008, 5:37 am

I can apreciate this notebook, just like I apreciate a classic car. ;) Its got a sweet deep red curvy look and a black bonnet all shined, just like a car. This puppy just needs alot of love to keep looking pristine. But if you do keep it clean youll have yourself one of the more elegant ultramobiles out there. I dont think samsung is aiming for the boring office crowd with this one, or it would have been black and featureless. Its appealing to gamers and geeks, a shiny hitech gadget to show off with. ;) One of these under your arm is a geek badge of honor.

Im quite shocked by the batterylife these overgrown netbooks can still grunt out with a nVidia chip thats constantly on duty. I origionally planned on getting an Asus 1000H, purely because of all of the more powerfull ultramobiles being so misserably impaired by the short lived or otherwise massive batteries, but this one shows me it can be different.

Im gearing towards buying this one right now, as this seems to be the ultimate portable gamestation for under that ugly 1000 euro marker. Its the only truely gamegeared portable I can find without going to the lumpy heavy 15" range.

One question though, is the recharger as magnificantly small as the netbooks that seem to use the same size batteries? Or is this one already sporting the usuall wired brick?


January 26, 2009, 1:03 am

Less than 6 months down the line and it seems impossible to get this laptop with the spec reviewed! What's going on? Plenty of Q210s around, but all with a much inferior processor (T6400 which, incidentally, I can find absolutely NO reference to on Intel's web page). What's worse is that the inferior models are priced the same or even higher than this one. When I questioned one large online retailer about why the out-of-stock model with the 2.26ghz P8400 processor (as reviewed) was priced exactly the same as the inferior T6400 model on their website, the response was that pricing wasn’t really much to do with spec but more to do with what’s in stock and what the demand is like. Great.

Anyone know why this laptop seems to have disappeared so quickly?

Gary H

March 11, 2009, 12:56 pm

I bought a Q40 when they first came out and it has been fantastic so as I am now changing it I am definitely going for the Q210 in my opinion you have to go a long way to beat Samsung's lightweight notebooks and for the price.

Gary H

March 11, 2009, 5:24 pm

DavidW Amazon have the T6400


April 1, 2009, 8:17 pm

DavidW, I'm having the same problem! My guess is that Samsung have changed their mind and holding the P series processors over for their next Q model, whils putting them in their lower-specced-in-every-other-way P210 laptop, aimed at business.

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