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The ultra-portable market is one that has come under increasing threat from netbooks like the Asus Eee PC 901 and MSI Wind. As little as a year ago, to get a usable computer with a screen size below 13in could cost you well over £1,000. Even when the 4G Eee came out, it was essentially in a different market class, with its small screen, poor specifications and tiny amount of storage.
However, the more expensive Eee PC 1000 is encroaching further onto ultra-portable territory. This model, sporting a 10in screen, near full size keyboard and, in the H model at least, 80GB hard drive, is blurring the boundary between small notebooks and netbooks. So is there still sufficient reason to get a heavier and bulkier notebook? Well, quite apart from things like a LightScribe optical drive, Samsung makes a very convincing argument with its updated H001 HSDPA Q45, which is absolutely stuffed with features.
Now regular readers might realise we've already reviewed the Samsung Q45 back in 2007, and the Q45 T5450 just a few months ago. But while the H001 model I'm looking at today is physically still identical, there have been a few updates stuffed under the hood. Instead of its predecessor's Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 1.66GHz CPU, there's now a speedy 2.4GHz T8300, and wireless has been upgraded from 802.11b/g to draft-n. Perhaps the biggest upgrade is integrated HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, also known as Mobile Broadband), with network operators like Vodafone already offering 7.2mbps download speeds in major cities and airports. This basically brings high-end ADSL broadband speed within reach the of the mobile consumer, and is great for streaming video (among other things).
But for those of you who are new to the Q45 party, let's get started on how this little laptop looks. Samsung has a fairly consistent design across many of its notebook models: a glossy black lid and matte grey or black interior, base and keyboard (unlike the shiny disaster on the Toshiba Satellite A300 177). Like most glossy lids, it is very eye-catching, and like most, after a while this can be for all the wrong reasons: it's a fingerprint and dust magnet, not to mention that any scratches or scrapes will show up really well. A good thing, then, that Samsung provides a nice little cleaning cloth.
The only sign of glossiness when you open the notebook up are the shiny integrated 1.3-megapixel camera, glossy screen and touchpad buttons, which are finished in the same mirror-like black as the top of the lid. The rest of the interior is an attractive matte black, which extends from the bezel to the keyboard and touchpad. Apart from a small range of easily removable coloured stickers on the right palm rest, it makes for a minimalist look that's businesslike yet pleasantly stylish. It's actually somewhat reminiscent of the recently reviewed Dell 1310, which is certainly no bad thing.