Solid Performance for a Small Business Notebook
Samsung did not cut corners when it came time to pick a CPU for the Q430. The notebook PC is built around the excellent Intel Core i5-450 processor running at 2.4GHz. That is matched to 4GB of fast DDR3 memory (the fastest you can get in a mainstream notebook).
These components mean the Q430 will easily handle everyday applications such as Microsoft Office without breaking a sweat, plus you'll have plenty of power on tap for more demanding multimedia chores such as video and audio encoding should the need arise.
Of course, all that processing power does take its toll on battery life. With judicious use, you should be able to squeeze out about 5 hours of runtime on a charge. But road warriors who need to go all day without an AC outlet may want to opt for a notebook with a lower-powered processor and more miserly integrated graphics chip.
The Q430's Generous Software Bundle
Samsung has loaded the Q430 with the software and utilities you are likely to use, while avoiding the bloatware common on consumer-oriented notebook PCs. For starters, you get Windows 7 Home Premium as the operating system, plus the CyberLink DVD Suite for multimedia work: PowerDVD 8 for DVD playback, PowerDirector 7 for video editing, PowerProducer 8 for DVD creation and Power2Go 6 for creating CDs and DVDs. Also from CyberLink is the YouCam software for use with the webcam, which lets you send video captures to YouTube or via email with a single mouse click.
We're also impressed with Samsung's own utilities that come preloaded on the Q430. The Samsung Support Center houses various utilities for diagnosing and troubleshooting PC problems. The company's Easy File Share program lets you transfer files from the host PC via Wi-Fi to another Windows 7 machine. And similarly, Easy Content Share lets you share music, photos, and video stored on the Q430 with other Windows 7 PCs on your network.
The Q430 includes a 1-year warranty, which is typical for this class. The company offers tech support via phone or live chat; or (if you prefer) via remote-desktop assistance, where the support reps takes control of the PC remotely to troubleshoot an issue. The Samsung Q430 is available from a range of online and bricks-and-mortar retailers including NewEgg.com, Buy.com, TigerDirect.com and Best Buy for around $800.
While the Q430 isn't perfect -- Bluetooth, eSATA and an ExpressCard slot would be nice -- you still get a good selection of features and decent power for the price.
Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology editor and writer with 18 years experience in the high-tech arena. In his 14 years at PC Magazine he worked with the full range of hardware and software products. His specialties include notebook and desktop PCs, printers, displays, and small-business software and Web services.
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