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on 27 October 2009
I bought this laptop after reading the glowing reviews of its predecessor (the Q320-AS02UK) in PC PRO and What Laptop*. I had decided to wait a few weeks to see whether a Windows7 version would appear. My wait has been well rewarded - this laptop is only a few pounds more than the best web price for an AS02UK, and for that you get a faster processor (2.0GHz -> 2.1GHz), more RAM (3GB -> 4GB), more disk space (320GB - 500GB) and Windows 7 Home Premium.

The machine is a good balance between the portability of Netbooks (and the fantastic Sony ultraportables), and the power and size of more conventional 15" and 17" laptops. To me the primary consideration in choosing a laptop is the user-experience: that is, the sum of the quality of the screen, the keyboard, looks, portability and performance.

Taking these in turn:
The screen is bright and clear: OK, I have seen better, but only on (much) pricier machines
The keyboard is as good as any I have used: keys have a good shape and travel, and are just where I expect them to be
The look is neat and well balanced: usefully, silk-screened graphics on the top make USB ports etc easy to locate
The portability is reasonable: good battery life frees you from the tyranny of the mains lead, although 2.2kg is a fair bit more heft than the 1kg of a netbook/ultraportable
The performance is just what I want: apps start up quickly and run smoothly, and getting things like Skype working is a doddle (it isn't always as some machines have temperamental cameras, microphones or speakers).

The one downside I have experienced so far is the sound quality. The speakers are nothing to write home about, and even into headphones the sound is still poor. Oh and it would be nice to have a physical volume control. Mind you, for my money only Toshiba have ever given laptop sound the attention it deserves.

Considering the price I think this fully deserves its 5 stars. I would expect to have to pay considerably more to get a laptop that I would enjoy owning more than this. Buy one today (but of course if you are reading this in 6 months time there may well be something better :-)

* I know it's the computer world's sorry answer to the equally dismal What HiFi, but at least PC PRO's reviews are credible
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on 8 January 2010
I did considerable research before buying this laptop, albeit before its very recent price increase. What swayed me is that, for the money, I couldn't find a real alternative which suited me. I had already discounted the netbook concept after using an upmarket one, which felt crabby to use for extended periods and beyond simple email and web browsing wasn't up to much.

To keep this short and to the point I can echo the two previous reviewers' comments and will simply cover the main points which concerned me when buying a laptop:

1/. Power - the power of this Q320 is plenty to enable my MS Office apps and Xara Xtreme Pro vector graphics software, for example, (if you're interested in web graphics and you've not tried this one I'd recommend doing so) very smoothly. More power would probably mean reducing battery life a bit. I also found that the low power processors available on some other laptops were too undercharged for what I wanted to do, irrespective of the gains in battery life.

It runs Windows 7 flawlessly. A very nice combination.

2/. Battery life - currently 3-4 hours for varied usage. Simple office work coupled with streaming Radio 4 seems hardly to consume anything at all. Interestingly Samsung have a battery life extender utility which restricts charging to 80% when largely using your laptop plugged in to the mains. No complaints.

3/. The screen - I don't recognise the criticisms of the Q320's screen qualities I've seen elsewhere reviewed. Maybe later models are improved, who knows. Anyway, the screen is sharp, clear and vivid with very reasonable viewing angles. No complaints here whatsoever.

4/. Keyboard - full size layout. Positive easy action.

5/. Build quality - very nicely put together and has a feel of some quality, surprising for the price point. I had seriously considered the new Dell Studio 15" with its Core i7 processor but on seeing the demos on YouTube with respect to the terrible lid flexing (very real screen damage issues) I'd suggest anyone considering that one to think long and hard, especially if they want to use the laptop as a portable device.

5/. Sound - the Q320 has garnered some criticism for tinny sound. On rooting around I found that the sound is actually very configurable, via the Realtek device properties, including SRS/WOW sound shaping plug-in. More than acceptable in a laptop.

6/. Wireless - N protocol system has worked flawlessly so far. Very good range.

A final point which is not specific to this laptop but is relevant to ANY computer/OS: use a good disk imaging system rather than rely on inbuilt restore facilities. I've used Acronis True Image for years and Powerquest's Drive Image before that - it will save you endless time and money when things go wrong, believe me!

The Samsung Q320 is highly recommended.
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on 25 November 2009
It is sitting on the desk next to my corporate work laptop (which is duller than cold dirty dishwater and made by a company that rhymes with bell...)

First impressions... well I wasn't impressed to begin with to be honest... it looked odd. Yet it had presence. However within minutes it grew on me, handsome looks, strong build quality and very silent in operation...

I smuggled it to an empty meeting room (after stealthy unpacking it at my desk at work) and I placed it on the table open-lid and walked around it a bit eyeing up this new addition to my electronic family. Hmm yes handsome I thought... professional looking too, its mixture of black glossy and black matte with chrome accents adding to a sense of class not the stuffy type but more cool and confidant.. You will be taken seriously with this machine. The keyboard looked great and so usable and the screen with no ugly bevel (man how I hate those!) looked amazing with that single sheet of glass covering to from a frameless display.

I powered it on... After some set up I got to the Windows 7 desktop and after gawping at the Win 7 interface (it is beautiful and agile and very user-friendly) again I looked at the hardware, hmm very nice I thought... The wide screen display looking great with the desktop on full display. Liking it even more now

I opened up Office 2007 (60 day trial) and bashed around on the keyboard a little using Word 2007. Wow feels great, (no clicky clackity effects or rattles) very accurate, nice feel, good travel, could bash on those all day! (only ThinkPad's have done better) and all coated in a treatment that kills bacteria. How modern I thought I then wondered how bright the screen could get... so I did the function key hold and arrow up key and my goodness!... so bright, so sharp, so clear... the colours are rich, balanced and life like... I heard reports of washed out colours, average performance and but not the case. Very rich indeed well above the average and great for this price range..

I decided to check the ports out (after checking this meeting room was still free! - I also sat down in the chair and stopped grinning so to look professional just in case someone walked in on me!) well constructed, nicely labelled. None of those horrid childish colours on the audio ports (ya'know. pink and green?!?!) just a nice pro black. It has 3 usb, 1 esata which can be a usb too, VGA, HDMI, express card slip, SD slot, LAN, and Kensington lock. Awesome keyboard, great screen, and perfectly matched with windows 7 (home premium).

The loading DVD... it works like a charm, so discrete and cool too. Bits of plastic and metal sticking out with to load a disc on seems so old fashion now. Easy access panels to hard rive and memory for future upgrades. And one thing no reviews have mentioned so far... the battery has a cool indicator button. Press it and it will show you how much energy you have left using indicator lights. Simple but a nice touch

The laptop machine is quick. My build has 4Gigs of memory and a 2.0ghz T6500 core dual duo Intel processor. Applications open up in a snap, and everything just flows along nicely without stutter... and the machine is just so quiet. I had a HP DV2 for 3 months and it was a nice machine (a little slow and hated multitasking) but man was it noisy. Not the Samsung Q320.

As for weight... hmm a little heavier to what am used too, but not in a bad way... considering that this is a 13 inch and not a 10, 11 or 12 inch machine and has a core duo processor for us commuters it is more than perfect and slips neatly into my 13 inch black slip case.

Overall I now love this machine and I have only had it since 11am (now 14:47) Solid build, great ports Buy it...

Now I gotta get back to work... thanks for reading
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on 18 February 2010
Having reviewed the market, the recommendations of a number of magazines, and personal experience of Samsung netbooks, I purchased this laptop for my son to use at university to replace his old 15.4in (Sony) model. Having been Sony users for a number of years, build quality and screen definition are high on my list of priorities - this machine does not disappoint. Moving down from 15.4in to 13.4in has not demonstrated any material disadvantages, and the increased portability is great. Definitely a machine I would unequivocally recommend for users with a broad range of needs.
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on 21 March 2010
I've been using this laptop for about two months now, and have not yet found one drawback with it or once regretted the purchase. The keyboard is excellent, the screen quality cannot be faulted, and the T6500 processor with 4Gb ram ensures a rapid response. I love this size laptop. For me it is the ideal compromise between portability (especially when trying to balance it on your lap) and screen/keyboard size. It is extremely quiet. I did have some concerns about the lack of an open/close button on the optical drive (the drive `sucks-in' the disk, much like a single cd player does in your car, and combination keystrokes ejects it) but using the drive button on my desktop optical drives now seem so `clunky'. I have a 15.4" Vaio with a T3500 processor; hardly ever use it since the Samsung arrived.
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on 11 May 2010
Having bought this notebook a couple of months ago to replace a 9 year old desktop PC, I'm very happy with my purchase. Like other reviewers, I have found the sound poor without headphones, but with them it is fine. The only other slightly annoying thing is you can't eject disks from the drive when the PC isn't switched on. However, these are minor niggles over what is otherwise a great laptop. It's very fast, lightweight & portable without being too small to type on easily (though I do have quite small hands being 5' 4")! It's perfect for anyone who wants a DVD drive & more memory than a netbook but without losing too much portability.
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on 5 March 2010
Bought this for its spec. Got it and had difficulty backing it up and then windows 7 kept freezing. Final nail in the coffin was dvd getting stuck in drive and not possible to remove. Gave up and sent back.
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