When I reviewed the Samsung Q30 back in January 2005 I decided that it was a great ultra-portable notebook, but the lack of PC Card slot concerned me. Plus, the fact that the Q30 doesn't have an optical drive is a definite issue these days, with machines like the Sony VAIO TX2XP sporting a DVD writer while remaining feather light and wafer thin. I was therefore very pleased when the Samsung Q35 landed on my desk and addressed both those issues.
To be honest the Q35 isn’t exactly a natural replacement for the Q30, since it weighs over a kilo more than its older sibling. Of course I’m not suggesting that 1.89kg is heavy for a notebook, but when you consider that the Q30 only weighed 822g, almost any other notebook seems portly by comparison. But with dimensions of 299 x 214 x 35mm (WxDxH) the Q35 is still pretty damn small by anyone’s standards.
Like most Samsung notebooks I’ve looked at, the Q35 is finished in matt silver and it looks pretty good. There is a rumour of a gloss red version of the Q35 appearing though, something that the company did with the Q30 as well. Opening up the lid reveals a 12.1in widescreen display, complete with high-contrast glossy coating. With a screen resolution of 1,280 x 800, you’re getting a decent amount of desktop real estate considering the physical size.
In use the screen is very bright, with vivid colours making it ideal for watching the odd movie on a plane or in your hotel room. That’s not to say that the screen isn’t good for general application work, because it is. However, as I always mention, some people just don’t get on with these glossy screens, especially where there are multiple light sources around you. Of course if you don’t like high contrast screens on notebooks, you’re going to have to get used to them, because the majority of notebooks I see these days have them. It’s a good thing that I like them then.
Despite the small dimensions, the keybaord is very good. I’ve stopped being surprised at ultra-mobile notebooks having good keyboards because all the major players seem to have cracked this issue. Sony, Fujitsu-Siemens and now Samsung have all managed to squeeze good quality keyboards into the slimmest chassis. The keys aren’t too small, and there’s a good amount of travel, with a solid break. What’s really impressive is that there wasn’t the slightest hint of flex no matter how hard or fast I typed.