From the outset it was clear what Samsung was getting at with its Aura branding for notebooks. It was back in the February that we first reported on their existence, and even then the similarities in price, specification and design pointed toward an Apple shaped inspiration. When the R20, the first of the Aura notebooks, arrived in the office our suspicions were verified, and it went on to earn itself a well deserved Recommended award.
Last week I looked at another of the Aura branded notebooks, the Q45. As the successor to the superb Q35 it had a lot of live up to, but live up it did; once again proving that Samsung knows how to make a superb portable notebook at a criminally low price. Today I’m looking at another of the Q range, the slightly larger and more expensive Q70.
Interestingly, of all the Aura branded notebooks we’ve seen so far the Q70 is probably the most natural Apple competitor. With its 13.3in display, and 2.03kg weight, it sits directly in MacBook territory and since Apple has switched to Intel it shares a fair amount of internal characteristics too.
Our sample came complete with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, this is one of the new Santa Rosa processors and sports a clock speed of 2.0GHz, 2MB L2 Cache and an 800MHz front-side bus. This is supported by 2GB 667MHz DRR2 RAM, a 160GB 5,400rpm SATA hard drive and an nVidia 8400M GS with 128 MB of dedicated memory. Sound is provided by Realtek, and as with the Q45 the system is based on the Intel 965PM chipset and runs Windows Vista Home Premium.
You also get a DVD Super Multi drive with Lightscribe support, while connectivity includes 10/100 Ethernet, 3945ABG Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR. As with the Q45 it’s disappointing to not get either Gigabit Ethernet or Draft N wireless, and given that the Q70 is a little more expensive at £900, the disappointment is all the more acute.
However this price still makes the Q70 good value for money, just not to the degree of the Q45 and though the Q70 provides a larger hard drive and more RAM comparative to a MacBook, all the new MacBooks come with Draft N wireless and Gigabit Ethernet. As ever there’s a balance to be had, one only an individual can decide upon. You’ll get better performance and a more generous spec with the Q70, but with the MacBook you get the things I’ve already mentioned and OSX. Obviously you pay a premium for buying into the Apple brand, but that’s just how things are.