Having recently reviewed the Fujitsu-Siemens P7230 and P1610, I was struck on both occasions by the quality of their keyboards. Both were not only good to type on, but had very good layouts despite the comparative lack of space. Unfortunately, Samsung hasn’t quite managed to match those feats.
Though the keyboard itself is very pleasant to type on, the layout does have a few annoying quirks. Primary among them is the classic Left Ctrl and Fn key placement conundrum, with the Q45 having the Fn key to the left of the Ctrl key. This is always a source of annoyance, especially since the Fn key also doubles up as the Menu key which only adds to the confusion when wanting to use shortcut commands. It’s one notebook keyboard facet we’d like to see the back of, though with extended use one does get used to it.
One area where the Q45 does surpass either of the previously mentioned notebooks, however, is in the quality of its display. Given the price bracket there’s no LED backlight as on the Sony VAIO VGN-TZ11MN, but even so the display on the Q45 is very good. It’s bright and sharp, with the high contrast glossy finish helping to provide superb black levels and vibrant colour reproduction. A native resolution of 1,280 x 800 makes it ideal for 720p HD content, and any video you do play on it will look great.
This isn’t to say it’s perfect. There is some evidence of back light bleeding from the bottom of the screen, and though fairly minor it can be a tad annoying when watching a film, while viewing angles are mediocre at best. But, again, for the price these are acceptable problems and when in front of the display you’ll enjoy what you see.