So, what about that price? All in all this spec will set you back a paltry £760 inc. VAT. At this point one can only invoke the memory of a million cheap “deal of the century” TV adverts selling garden furniture, sofas and kitchens. For the price you’re getting a superb specification, and a form factor that’s as close to an ultra-portable as you’re ever likely to get this side of a £1000.
It’s not as if you’re getting what you pay for either. As with previous iterations the Q45 is studiously well made, everything about the notebook feels sturdy and reliable and gives the impressive it could survive a few bumps and scrapes. The only thing that’s potentially annoying is the propensity of the shiny black finish for attracting dust, finger marks and even scratches. This is one of the unfortunate evils of such finishes, as the iPod has demonstrated.
Although the chassis is more or less unchanged since the Q35, it’s still worth going over for posterity. On the left edge is the Ethernet port, optical drive, with a Type II PC Card slot and a four-pin FireWire port for company. Having a PC Card slot opens up the possibility of using a 3G HSDPA data card, which is always a useful investment.
On the front are the audio connections and card reader, which supports MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro, MMC Plus, MMC, SD and xD formats. The audio connections comprise of a combined Headphone and S/PDIF socket, and a Mic connection. There’s also a built in microphone, which is situated just above the status lights.
Moving to the right edge you’ll find a USB port, D-Sub and a modem socket, though the main heat vent takes up most of the space here. It’s worth noting too that in general use the Q45 runs very quietly, with the internal fan rarely spinning up excessively or kicking out too much heat. As a result you can comfortably use the Q45 on your lap without being burnt to crisp or, if you’re bloke, risking your future fertility.
Finally on the back there is a DC-in, another USB port and a Kensington Security Lock point. As with previous iterations the battery pack sticks out the back, while if you look on the bottom of the battery there’s a handy battery level meter so you can check whether you need to charge without powering on the notebook.
Another notable addition is the 1.3 Megapixel camera, which is inconspicuously integrated into the bezel above the screen. It isn’t adjustable as some notebook webcams are, but it’s still a useful new feature and brings the Q45 in line with the large majority of competing models.