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Samsung Q45 T5450 - Samsung Q45 T5450
Directing proceedings is an Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 clocked at 1.66GHz, with 2MB L2 Cache and a 667MHz Front Side Bus. Supported by 2GB of 667MHz DRR2 and Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics this Q45 is no speed demon but it is very frugal, managing just over four hours in the Mobile Mark 2007 Productivity test and nearly five in the lower intensity Reader test. With wireless enabled you can probably expect between three and four hours and though our usual DVD playback test didn't complete, you should be able to watch a film of around two hours with some power to spare.
As for raw performance, it'll do everything short of truly intensive tasks like batch image editing and video rendering in decent time. This makes it perfectly suited to a student who wants a capable all-rounder that's portable and can be used for long periods unplugged. To use a cricketing analogy - hey it's almost summer - it's more Paul Collingwood than Andrew Flintoff, never explosive but always reliable and not one to turn up drunk and floundering in shallow water.
In this spirit of solid dependability this Q45 has everything you really need, without offering anything outstanding. A 250GB 5400rpm SATA HDD is ample, while Intel 802.11b/g wireless, 10/100 Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR means you'll never be lacking for network or wireless access. Likewise, connectivity is limited but lacking nothing essential, with D-SUB (VGA) for an external monitor, audio inputs and outputs, a memory card reader and FireWire. There's also a 1.3 Megapixel webcam; always a welcome inclusion.
Samsung keyboards are generally something of a Jekyll and Hyde affair. On the positive side, most of the layout is really quite good and keys are firm, responsive and feature a nice degree of travel. On the flip side, Samsung still insists on placing the Fn key to the left of the Ctrl key, something myself and rest of the TR team are determined to eradicate. For the most part, though, the Q45 delivers an above average typing experience.
So, the only question remains is whether the Samsung Q45 remains as good a proposition as it did last year? Competition is fiercer now, but even so the Q45 still offers the right mix of features (not the most advanced) at a superb price. If you have more budget or prefer the 13.3in form factor then I'd still happily recommend both the Dell XPS M1330 or Toshiba Satellite U300 respectively, but the hundred grams or so less weight and smaller footprint of the Q45 still count for a lot.
Despite the slightly ageing chassis the Samsung Q45 is still a superb portable laptop at the price, especially for the student. Battery performance is very impressive and though you won't be throwing games or intensive processing tasks at it, it'll tackle most typical computing activities comfortably. Thus, if you want portability at the right price and an Asus Eee PC 900 doesn't offer the performance you need, this is still worth serious consideration.