The Samsung Q35 is the replacement for the excellent Q30 -- Samsung's flagship ultra-portable laptop. It's better than its predecessor, and indeed better than most of its current rivals in almost every respect. The Q35 is not only nice to look at, but its use of modern components, remarkable battery life and ease of use make it a near-perfect proposition.
The Q35 strikes us as a miniature version of M70 -- Samsung's mighty 19-inch laptop.The Q35 couldn't be further removed from its big brother in terms of weight, however. Whereas the M70 weighs a whopping 4.4kg, the Q35 is a svelte 1.89kg and measures 299 by 35 by 214mm -- which is small enough to fit into a large handbag or a small manbag.
It has an attractive, albeit slightly hackneyed, silver-and-black finish, with a silver keyboard and mouse touchpad and brushed aluminium mouse buttons. As with the vast majority of Windows-based laptops, the base of the Q35 is black, which despite providing contrast, spoils the overall aesthetic slightly. There's some compensation in the fact that there's a battery-level indicator button with a strip of five indicator lights to show how much juice is left in the laptop. This can be used without booting the operating system -- a useful addition.
We were initially very impressed by the layout of the keyboard. It has large, comfortable keys that are conducive to fast touch-typing, and the Return key is large enough to find easily with your right pinkie finger. Likewise, the Del key is logically placed next to the backspace button, but the right Shift key is too small for our liking -- it proved difficult to reach, and we had to retrain ourselves to use the left Shift button, or temporarily use the Caps lock to enter upper-case characters.
There are no dedicated shortcut buttons for quick access to common programs or settings, but most of the buttons have a dual function, the second of which can be accessed by hitting the Fn key, which itself is annoyingly positioned to the left of the left Ctrl key. We'd have preferred it if these two were swapped around, but this is a minor gripe. Below the power button on the right side there's an AV Now button for launching a media playback mode outside of Windows.
There are mic and headphone ports on the front edge of the unit, as well as a memory card reader that supports MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro, SD, MMC and xD cards, although it's only labelled 'MemoryStick'. On the left edge, you'll find a LAN port, a DVD rewriter drive, PC Card slot and 4-pin FireWire port. The right edge is fairly barren aside from a single USB port, VGA port and a large air vent expelling hot air generated by the internal components. On the rear of the laptop, there's a solitary USB port and an AC adaptor port.
One of the laptop's best features is its striking 12.1-inch widescreen display. It's small enough to help the laptop remain ultra-portable, but just large enough to be usable without causing eyestrain. Its native resolution of 1,280x800 pixels is fairly standard for a screen of this size, and the panel produces excellent image quality whether displaying movies or still pictures. The only potential gripe is the fact that it uses a glossy coating, which although great for improving contrast and colour sharpness, can make things difficult to see in direct light due to its reflectiveness.
Images are fed to the screen by the Intel 945GM chipset's integrated graphics adaptor. This is a staple on budget or non-gaming laptops due to its low cost and suitability for everyday tasks. It's perfectly capable of displaying 2D applications such as movies, presentations and the odd low-end game, and will even cope with photo editing, but don't expect it to play 3D titles.