Showing just how far laptop prices have fallen, the Samsung Q35 Red (£899 inc. VAT) is one the most affordable ultraportable laptops on the market. Despite low performance, the mobility on offer is impressive and makes this is a great choice for travellers on a budget.
Weighing 1.9kg, we had no trouble working in comfort wherever we travelled. The chassis is strong enough for carrying in small luggage when out and about. Its glossy red design adds style and is resilient enough to avoid scratching.
With a battery life of 178 minutes under normal use, the Samsung will keep you working for nearly three hours on the move. However, the battery is large and protrudes from the rear of the chassis. While not enough to impact on usability, it does increase the risk of damage.
Despite its compact size, the keyboard is large and usable. All keys have a firm typing action and are responsive enough for smooth speed-typing. The wide touchpad perfectly mirrors the aspect ratio of the 12.1-inch screen and is equally well-made and reliable.
Using a Super-TFT coating, the widescreen panel provides mixed performance for mobile users. While the glossy display is bright and provides lifelike colours, the increased reflections reduce visibility when outdoors.
The Q35's vast hard drive is notable for such a small laptop. With 160GB of storage, you can easily carry all your photos, music and videos on your travels. Equally impressive for an ultraportable, a dual-layer recordable DVD drive is fitted.
Although the Q35 uses a high-powered Intel Core 2 Duo chip, performance is low. While fine for home office tasks such as browsing the internet and writing letters, more powerful multimedia tasks and virus scans quickly consume resources and slow the system down.
Since ultraportables are designed for mobility rather than power, 3D performance is equally poor from the Q35. That said, you'll have no trouble running multimedia presentations at work and viewing movies and photos in your spare time.
Keeping you wirelessly connected, 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi lets you access hotspots at high-speed, while Bluetooth can synchronise with peripherals. Fixed home and office networks can be connected at the slower 10/100 Base-T speed, which will suit basic data transfers.
Although low-powered, you're unlikely to find a more usable ultraportable at this price. For frequent travellers on a tight budget, the Samsung Q35 Red is one of the best laptops you can buy, and comes highly recommended.