Using a full-power processor makes the Q330 less of a compromise than low-voltage machines, as the system performance results show. It’s comfortably faster than the Asus UL30A, and compares pretty well to the similarly specified Toshiba Satellite U500.
This isn’t to say the Asus is slow; it’s perfectly capable for general computing tasks. However, whereas it will struggle with MP3 or video encoding, the Samsung has the processing power to power through such tasks far more easily. It’s also a better choice for those who multi-task heavily, as it simply has the processing overhead to run more applications at the same time.
It’s a not a machine for gaming, though. It might cope with particularly undemanding games okay, as the playable 27.8fps in TrackMania Nations demonstrates. However it doesn’t ask much of graphics hardware, especially at the medium detail settings we test at. Intel’s integrated chip also doesn’t support anti-aliasing, so it doesn’t offer much in the way of eye-candy. On the other hand, HD video processing is no problem at all and the trade-off for its lack of performance is extremely efficient power use.
Consequently, battery life is rather more impressive. While the Q330 gets nowhere near the epic 10+ hours of the Asus UL30A, the 293 minutes (4hrs, 53mins) of productivity it managed is impressive enough given it performs more like an ordinary laptop. It’s also considerably more than the Toshiba Satellite U500.
The Q330 also fairs quite well in the DVD playback test. At 161 minutes at full brightness it will last long enough for most films, and reducing the brightness a little should push it past the three hour mark quite comfortably. Of course, the UL30A doesn’t have a DVD drive, so there’s no comparison to be made there.
Aside from the silly touchpad placement, it’s difficult to fault the Q330. It’s durable, looks good, performs well and has very good battery life: all the things you need in a genuinely mobile laptop. Best of all, however, is the price. At £600 it’s an absolute bargain, and one that won’t need replacing any time soon.