Further changes can be seen in the keyboard, one area where the Q45 wasn’t as strong as it could have been. Samsung has finally corrected the placement of the Fn key, which now sits inside the left-Ctrl key rather than outside – hooray! This is a welcome change, but we’re not so keen on how it has placed the forward-slash key next to the right-Shift key, instead of on the left as it normally would be. When you start hitting that instead of the Shift key, you’ll understand why.
As for the keys themselves they’re good, but not outstanding. On the plus side keyboard flex is near non-existent and this reflects the overall build quality of the machine, which is exemplary. We did, however, find that the depth of travel and response wasn’t as positive as we’d like, proving a little shallow. Again, it’s not terrible and with a little use you’ll quickly get used to it and even begin to like the feel of the keyboard, but it doesn’t have that instant comfort we look for.
No such complaints can be made of the touchpad or its accompanying buttons. Both are nicely proportioned and positioned, never interfering with typing. There are both vertical and horizontal scroll zones, though oddly only the vertical one is marked on the touchpad itself.
Either side of the keyboard are the two integrated speakers. This marks another positive change from the Q45 that had them underneath the front edge, hardly an ideal place for speakers. This said you shouldn’t expect great sonic pleasures from the Q210. Volume levels are disappointingly low and even the speakers on an Eee PC 901 or Eee PC 1000 would best those on the Q210, though the Eee PC speakers are unusually good for their size.
Connection options have unequivocally improved. For instance, gone is the long since out dated PC Card slot in favour of a 34mm ExpressCard slot. There’s also one more USB port, three in total, and an HDMI connection joins VGA in the external video options. One touch we rather like is the labelling of ports around the edges. This makes it that much easier to find the port you want and unlike similar efforts from some manufacturers, the labels actually line up with the corresponding ports properly!
As is often the case with Samsung laptops the screen is a very good one. A native resolution of 1,280 x 800 is par for the course, but colour reproduction and brightness levels are good and the glossy “high contrast” coating on this model doesn’t appear as thick as on previous models. Backlight bleed is kept to an acceptable minimum and text is typically sharp at the sizes people are likely to use on a laptop. Viewing angles aren’t amazing, though this is less of an issue on this machine as they might be on a larger multimedia targeted notebook.