As if to make up for the physical connectivity niggles, wireless is generously taken care of by Bluetooth 2.0 and Wireless-N Wi-Fi and the rest of the specifications don’t exactly leave you wanting for much either. Of course the Q310, like the Q210 before it, is based on Intel’s Centrino 2 platform, so if you opt for the Q310 you can rest assured you’re getting the very latest and best mobile technology.
It also means this notebook features the same processor as its predecessor, namely an Intel P8400 Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.26GHz, with a low 25W thermal envelope. As we’ve seen before, this provides plenty of processing power for any task you’d want to throw at this system, easily matching most similarly-sized notebooks. It is backed up by even more memory than on the Q210, with a full 4GBs of 800MHZ DDR2 available. While this is more than the 32-bit version of Vista Home Premium can handle and therefore has a smaller impact on actual performance, it does mean that you’re unlikely to have to upgrade the RAM in the notebook’s lifetime, even should you change to a 64-bit operating system. You also get a very reasonable 250GB hard drive, giving you plenty of space for all your music, photos, videos and other documents.
Unfortunately, while the rest of the system could easily cope with some pretty decent gaming, the nVidia GeForce 9200 isn’t up to much. Having said that, it’ll beat any integrated Intel graphics chip on the market and older games on medium settings shouldn’t be a problem. As an example, in TrackMania Nations Forever the Q310 gave a very playable 24FPS on Medium detail at the screen’s native 1,280 x 800 resolution without any anti-aliasing.
This is even more of a pity since the screen is really rather good. There’s virtually no sign of backlight bleed, no banding and text is perfectly sharp. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that for an LCD notebook screen, there really is very little to criticize. Even greyscale differentiation is pretty good compared to most, especially for a panel this size. The only visual niggles while watching films are that horizontal viewing angles have a large effect on contrast, so you have to get the screen’s angle right and, as with most laptop displays these days, the glossy coating means you’ll get lots of reflections in anything but a dark environment.