Review Price £576.82
In general, laptops have more processing power than most people need, and the Intel Core i3 in the Q530 (clocked at 2.26GHz) will provide ample performance for most users' needs. Image editing and normal multi-tasking should pose no problems, and HD video editing and encoding is possible too if you don't mind waiting a little while.
All this said, for the money, there is better performance to be had. Ironically such competition comes from the Samsung R590 (review coming soon), which for the same money has a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor. Not only is it faster at stock speeds, it also features Intel's 'Turbo Boost' technology, which dynamically adjusts the CPU's performance depending on the load.
Little difference exists in games, however, and the Q530 is a capable performer in this department. It certainly had no problems with our low-intensity TrackMania Nations test, and it produced playable frame rates at medium detail settings in the more demanding STALKER: Call of Pripyat. In the latest titles compromise on settings will be needed, but the likes of World Warcraft and EVE Online should pose few problems, and many older titles will look great.
As Samsung talks up the relative portability of the Q530, we hoped to see better than average battery life. In reality there's nothing special about the Q530's longevity, but it passed the three hour mark in our testing and this is good enough for most requirements. It also has a noticeable advantage over the R590 in this test, which may prove significant if choosing between them.
In our eyes, however, considering the two are priced near identically, the Q530 doesn't compare well. Not only is the R590 faster, it has better connectivity (eSATA and ExpressCard are included) and a more stylish appearance. Some may prefer the more durable design of the Q530, and it's still a solid, perfectly usable machine, but it doesn't shine in any particular department.
A solid, dependable and durable laptop, the Q530 will do everything you ask of it, but there are better deals to be had.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network