On opening it up, you’re greeted with a mixture of glossy and matte plastic. The screen bezel consists of a matte plastic outer surround and narrow inner glossy strip, an effect that creates a nice sense of contrast and frames the display rather nicely. Below the display you’ll find Samsung’s name in tasteful silver lettering and the Q310 model number in white.
Thankfully, though its surround is likewise glossy, the keyboard is matte, as is the touchpad. Its buttons, meanwhile, are shiny and located on the edge where red transitions into black. It’s worth noting, too, that you’ll see a hint of the red when the notebook is closed, thanks to the lid not fully extending over the palm rest – something that’s clearly deliberate on Samsung’s part.
In terms of connectivity, there’s nothing too special here and though everything you really need is here, there are a few issues worth noting. For instance, it’s not overly convenient having only one USB port accessible from the sides and though you do get another two at the back, it’s odd given the Q210 had all its USB ports on the sides. Moreover, the two ports at the back are quite close together, so ‘fat’ memory sticks like my Corsair Flash Voyager will end up blocking the other port. From another point of view, though, the two USB ports on the back do mean you can connect a keyboard and mouse and not have the wires hanging out of the side of the machine – something any home worker will appreciate.
FireWire probably won’t be missed by many, but my biggest regret – an issue with most Samsung notebooks – is the lack of an e-SATA port. This enables far higher transfer speeds to external storage than USB 2.0 and has become common enough on notebooks that its absence here is notable. S/PDIF, meanwhile, is another casualty of the cut-throat price, with only regular headphone and microphone jacks on offer.
Apart from this the connectivity layout is perfectly acceptable and Samsung continues its handy habit of marking the ports with tiny icons on top, so you can plug things in without having to look around the notebook’s sides. On the left are the two video inputs; HDMI and VGA, and a Kensington lock slot. At the front we find the 7-in-1 card reader, which handles MS, MS Pro, SD, SDHC, MMC, MMC plus and xD.
On the right of the Q310 reside a 34mm ExpressCard slot, microphone and headphone jacks, a LightScribe DVD Writer and the aforementioned USB port. There’s also a blocked-off modem port, so any poor soul without broadband access will need to invest in an external modem or perhaps an HSDPA modem, if 3G is more prevalent. Finally, at the back are Gigabit LAN and power jacks and the remaining two USBs, as covered previously.