The Samsung Q430-JS02UK is a compact laptop, yet still manages to pack an impressive amount of power and strong mobility into its sleek, silver chassis.
This a slim laptop with a depth of only 35mm, and with a weight of just 2.2kg, it's also light, making it a good choice for commuters. The battery life of 294 minutes further enhances portability.
The brushed-aluminium finish to the plastic chassis gives it a solid appearance, although there's a little flex towards the centre of the palm rest. We also liked the dark grainy design on the lid, which does a great job of masking fingerprints.
The strong build quality continues with the isolation-style keyboard, which proves excellent for touch-typing and, while we would have preferred a larger touchpad, at least the one in place is smooth and responsive during use.
Since the Samsung is compact, the screen is also smaller at just 14 inches. However, this proves perfectly comfortable to work on for long periods and the true widescreen aspect ratio is great for watching movies or working on documents side by side.
Contrast levels are strong, but the screen is reflective and doesn't bend far back from vertical, so it can be difficult to see in bright conditions.
The Intel Core i3 350M processor provides more than enough power for multi-tasking and we witnessed very little slowdown when putting this laptop through its paces. Despite this, the Core i5 machines around this price point inevitably offered even stronger performance and could prove a better long-term investment.
If you're looking to edit your media or play games, however, the Samsung is a good choice with its dedicated Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics card. It's only an entry-level GPU, so you'll need to turn down detail levels on more complex games, but photo and video editing suites will run fine.
Battery life: 294 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 217
3DMark 2003: 10,613
Wireless networking matches most other laptops for the money, while Bluetooth 3.0 provides speedy data transfer with compatible devices.
The 320GB of hard drive storage is also standard and is enough space to carry a fair-sized media collection around with you. There's also space on the compact chassis for an SD Card reader, as well as VGA and HDMI ports that allow you to output video to an external display.
Overall, the Samsung Q430-JS02UK is a well-built and highly usable mid-range laptop. The slim and light chassis makes it a great travel companion and there's no loss of power as a result.
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