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Samsung Q45 T5450
Once upon a time truly portable laptops were something of a luxury, but that scenario seems a distant memory these days. Where once people marvelled at the £2,000 and wafer thin Sony VAIO VGN-X505VP, we now have a massive range of both expensive and affordable portable notebooks to choose from. On one end of the scale you have the Asus Eee PC 900 and its trailing army of impersonators, while Sony has the acclaimed TZ Series (see: Sony VAIO VGN-TZ31MN) and Lenovo the ThinkPad X300 - oh, and there's the Apple MacBook Air, though it's something of a dirty word around these parts!
Yet, though all these are compelling options, they're all subject to certain limitations of processing power and/or expense that may make them unsuitable for some. This is where the likes of the Samsung Q45 come in, offering regular mobile parts inside a perfectly portable chassis and at a far more affordable price point.
Of course, the Samsung Q45 isn't a new model by any means and I reviewed it back in June last year; however, a few things have changed since then. It can now be found in a new and cheaper £570 configuration (model number: NP-Q45A00A/SUK), while there's a great deal more competition out there from the likes of the Dell XPS M1330 and the Toshiba Satellite U300. Both are slightly larger 13.3in notebooks, but with both weighing in at 2kg or under, they offer keen competition.
It probably doesn't help, then, that the Q45 is starting to show its age. Though Samsung found time to update the external look, the underlying chassis is still practically identical to the Samsung Q35 that we first saw all the way back in 2006. This isn't a total disaster, but its relative age is exposed in the way some ports don't feel quite as well integrated as on other notebooks, while you still get a PC Card slot instead of the now more common ExpressCard. There are also only two USB ports, though this isn't a sin unique to the Q45.
In addition, though the Samsung R700 I looked at recently was quite slim given its size, the Q45 is on chunky side for this form factor. Thankfully, it's still relatively light, weighing an eminently portable 1.86kg with its 6-cell battery and though I've been critical of a few little things, it's still an essentially good looking notebook thanks to its uncomplicated glossy lid and black internals.
Elsewhere everything is very much as you'd expect. There's a 12.1in glossy and reflective screen with a 1,280 x 800 resolution and it's a relatively good one, with sharp text and decent colour production, though there's some minor backlight bleed and viewing angles aren't a strong point. Neither, for that matter, are the speakers that are housed underneath the notebook, though this is less of any issue on a small notebook like this than it was on the R700.