To the top right of the keyboard are two round buttons – one for power and one to boot into Samsung’s AV Station multimedia application. This lets you perform basic AV duties without having to boot up into Windows. I say basic, because although you can playback music and video, the video codec support is very limited, so don’t go expecting to watch your XviD collection without having to boot into Windows first.
On the right side of the casing is modem socket, a USB 2.0 port and D-SUB port for hooking up the Q35 to an external monitor. At the front you’ll find headphone and mic sockets along with a memory card reader that accepts SD, MMC, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro and xD cards.
The left is pretty well stacked with a four-pin FireWire port, a PC Card slot, the DVD writer and an Ethernet port. While the rear is dominated by the battery, but also houses a second USB 2.0 port and the power socket.
Performance wise, this Q35 has considerably more grunt than the 1.66GHz Core Duo version I reviewed before, turning in a SYSmark 2002 score of 338 compared with 265. The Q35 Red also turned in a far higher PC Mark score than the older version at 3143 compared to 2816. When it comes to battery life the original Q35 produced an impressive time of 339 minutes compared to the 241 minutes on this machine. However, I should point out that I’ve become a bit more unforgiving with the backlight setting when running Mobile Mark these days, plus the new model produced a corresponding performance rating of 196 compared to 176 on the previous model. DVD playback time was almost identical with the shiny new Red Q35 managing 213 minutes compared to 212 minutes on the older machine.
When I reviewed the original Q35 I thought that it was a bit of a bargain, but this new red model is even more so. With a street price of only £917.68 including VAT, you’re getting a lot of notebook in a very small and light package at a great price. OK, there are smaller and lighter notebooks like the Sony TX3XP, but with dimensions of 299 x 214 x 35mm and a weight of 1.89kg, the Q35 Red is no porker. Also, the Sony TX3XP only uses a single core, ultra-low voltage CPU.
Samsung’s updated Q35 is just as impressive as the original. The new Core 2 Duo processor brings with it extra performance and features, while the red lid really does make it look that bit more special. If you prefer the understated silver, that option is still available as the first picture in this review shows. But best of all, Samsung isn’t expecting you to pay through the nose for its fully featured, thin and light notebook.