Review Samsung Q320

The new Samsung Q320, an attractive, dynamically designed notebook, is now facing our tests. The 13.4 inch display executed in an edge-to-edge design bids a 16:9 cinematic format. Aside from that, there is a dedicated GeForce G105M graphic card from nVidia inside. Read on to find out more about the strengths and weaknesses of the new Samsung generation.

Many thanks to our Polish colleagues from notebookcheck.pl who have executed these tests and provided us with this review.

Case

Samsung Q320

The looks of the Samsung Q320 already impresses at first sight. This doesn't only apply to its looks, but also the feel of the plastic case is relatively good. Additionally, the matt surfaces present themselves as almost insusceptible for fingerprints. Apparently, Samsung has taken the critique of users and testers seriously and has refrained from using high gloss surfaces for the base unit.
It looks different for the display lid. This shows a black high-gloss finish, which is very susceptible for smudge and traces of use.

The case also shows a good stability in the test. There is practically no twisting to be noticed when lifting the laptop at a case corner, but it does creak slightly. This applies equally to the display lid so that it can be spoken of a seemingly very robust notebook.

The selection of a slot-loading drive instead of the standardly deployed optical drive usually found is appealing. The case makes an overall encased impression with this. The only weak point of the case under point pressure is found on the front left edge, directly above the audio sockets. The bottom side also proves to be very pressure resistant due to the use of high-quality plastic.

Looking closer at the workmanship, a somewhat unequal gap can be recognized in the metal-like inlays. But, apart from this, the Q320 looks very elegant altogether. In a sense, it resembles the Sony Vaio SR in this regard.

The hinges do an overall good job. A luffing after opening angle adjustments or a quivering at vibrations couldn't be established by us. However, the hinges restrict the maximum opening angle to about 120 degrees, which could prove to be a tad too little depending on the utilization.

Front: Cardreader
Front: Cardreader
Left: Kensington lock, LAN, VGA, USB, USB/eSATA, HDMI, audio ports, ExpressCard/34
Left: Kensington lock, LAN, VGA, USB, USB/eSATA, HDMI, audio ports, ExpressCard/34
Right: Optical drive (slot load), USB, power socket
Right: Optical drive (slot load), USB, power socket
Rear: Battery, fan
Rear: Battery, fan

Input Devices

The keyboard presents itself well-executed, with a layout very well-designed for the 13 inch format. The CRTL key is found exactly on its innate place and the right shift key has also been placed beside the numerical keyboard bordering the arrow keys. The size of the single keys also appeals to us.

The pressure resistance at typing is low, the pressure point has been ideally chosen. A disadvantage of the low pressure resistance is that it leads to typos faster, due to the lack of feedback, than a stiffer key stroke. Fortunately, typing is generally very quiet, too. Only the key caps have a bit of room and causes a gentle rustle.

The additional Fn key beside the arrow keys also proved to be practical. It's even possible to adapt the display brightness single-handedly with it.

The built-in touchpad has a matt surface, which can be described as smooth. The size is also adequate for a pleasant and precise mouse cursor navigation on a 16:9 display.

Unfortunately, the easy-moving keys belonging to it only have a mediocre quality. A long key travel was shown at pressing. In opposition, we can evaluate its width, operating noises and the pleasant feel as positive.

Keyboard
Samsung Q320
Touchpad
Samsung Q320

Display

Color Diagram
Samsung Q320

Samsung has equipped the Q320 with a 13.4 inch display with an LED background light. This screen made by Chi Mei Optoelectronics uses a cinematic-friendly resolution of 1355x768 pixels in a 16:9 format. The screen can be easily cleaned due to its edge-to-edge design with a straight bottom edge above the hinges.

A disadvantage of this variation is an intensely reflective surface. Especially in combination with a dark background and adverse light conditions (i.e. outdoors), you have more of a mirror than of a high quality user interface. We could establish an average brightness of about 200 cd/m2 in mains.

200.6
cd/m²
215.5
cd/m²
177
cd/m²
197.6
cd/m²
209.9
cd/m²
182.8
cd/m²
200.7
cd/m²
218.4
cd/m²
199.9
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 218.4 cd/m²
Average: 200.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Black: 1.1 cd/m²
Contrast: 191:1
Q320 outdoors
Samsung Q320

A significant disadvantage of the used display is the weak color representation. The colors look pallid and blurry. Black isn't represented optimally, either. Also, streak formations in form of a brighter stripe with a width of one millimeter along the display's bottom rim could be established.

The next weak point shows itself in the viewing angle stability. Compared with the cheaper MSI VR340, used by our Polish colleagues, much stronger image distortions turn up along the vertical axis.

Reference Image
Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320

Performance

Samsung Q320

The test device is equipped with a 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 processor. This belongs to the Penryn CPUs manufactured in a 45nm process and demonstrates a solid performance at moderate energy requirement. It's a good choice for a mobile laptop, which should also be suitable for basic office tasks at the same time.

The nVidia Geforce G 105M belongs to a new generation of graphic cards, which is still produced in the older 65nm process. Compared to the 9300M GS, it only has half as much shaders, but is clocked higher with 640/1400 MHz. The use of a 256 MB GDDR3 memory with a rate of 700 MHz (1400 MHz effectively) improves its performance to a certain degree.

Unfortunately, the graphic performance is limited by the 64 bit memory bus so that it quickly comes to its limits in actual 3-D prone games. In view of the form factor, which implies mobility as the focal point, it is a useable graphic solution, in any case.

3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE16121 points
3DMark 037048 points
3DMark 054218 points
3DMark 06
 1280x720
2559 points
Help
3DMark 06 in comparison
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE (min)
 Z2760, SGX545
367
   ...
   ...
Samsung Q320 (max)
 P7450, GeForce G 105M
2559
PC Mark
PCMark 055284 points
Help
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
692
   ...
Sony Vaio VGN-NW11S/S
 T6500, Mobility Radeon HD 4570
5278
Lenovo Thinkpad SL400 2743-22U
 P8400, GeForce 9300M GS
5278
Samsung Q320
 P7450, GeForce G 105M
5284
Lenovo Ideapad G560-M277QGE
 350M, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) HD Graphics
5293
Lenovo IdeaPad Z565-4311
 N830, Mobility Radeon HD 5470
5309
   ...
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
13842
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
4380
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
2308
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
2976
Help
Cinebench R10 Rend. Multi (32bit) in comparison
Lenovo IdeaPad S12 (min)
 N270, GeForce 9400M (G) / ION (LE)
482
   ...
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11
 N3520, HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
4353
Asus X52F-EX513D
 P6100, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) HD Graphics
4355
Samsung Q320
 P7450, GeForce G 105M
4380
Schenker Xesia E510 Entry
 P6100, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) HD Graphics
4381
Lenovo B560-M488TGE
 P6100, GeForce 310M
4387
   ...
Eurocom Panther 5D (max)
 E5-2697 v2, Quadro K5100M
34776
Quake 3 Arena - Timedemo
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1024x768highest, 0xAA, 0xAF238.4 fps
F.E.A.R.
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1024x768GPU: max, CPU: max, 0xAA, 0xAF27 fps
 800x600GPU medium, CPU medium, 0xAA, 0xAF76 fps
 640x480GPU min, CPU min, 0xAA, 0xAF341 fps
Crysis - CPU Benchmark
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1024x768Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF10.65 fps
 1024x768Low, 0xAA, 0xAF23.47 fps
Crysis - GPU Benchmark
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1024x768Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF10.94 fps
 1024x768Low, 0xAA, 0xAF24.43 fps
250 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 6.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 64.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 48.7 MB/s
Access Time: 18.2 ms
Burst Rate: 95.8 MB/s
CPU Usage: 4.3 %

Gaming performance (Fraps 60s):

Call of Duty 4
Resolution: 1280x720; normal/medium details
min. 10, avg. 13.42, max. 17fps

Company of Heroes
Resolution: 1024x768; high/med details; AA off
min. 10: avg. 17.93; max. 25fps

FIFA 07
Demo version default
min. 58; avg59.58; max. 61fps

Gothic 3
Resolution: 1024x768; high details
min. 6; avg. 9.62; max. 13fps

Medal of Honor Airborne

Resolution: 1280x720; all medium
min. 14; avg. 17.75; max. 22fps

Supreme Commander
Resolution: 1024x768; high details; AA off
min. 9; avg. 12.88; max.16fps

Witcher
Resolution:1280x720; med details; AA off
min. 10; avg. 20.32; max.39fps

Emissions

System noise

The fan regulation attracts negative attention in idle mode, or rather with low load. The soundscape is characterized by an unpleasant periodic rise and fall of the noise.

Interestingly, this mannerism improves under full load. The fan runs permanently and reaches a low noise level of 32.6 dB(A) at first. A maximum of 34.5 dB(A) can already be established after a few minutes. Anyhow, the constant whirring is more endurable than a frequent change. The Q320, therefore, doesn't belong to the quietest devices but the operating noise remained overall within a limit.

Noise Level

Idle 31.8 / 32 / 33 dB(A)
HDD 32 dB(A)
DVD 34 / 40.9 dB(A)
Load 32.6 / 34.5 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)
Samsung Q320

Temperature

The case doesn't heat up too much under low office load so that use on the thighs seems to be unproblematic. However, the situation alters under load. The bottom side reaches up to 40 degrees Celsius and more, here. We could even note a maximum of 45 degrees Celsius for the louver area. The dedicated graphic card has quite a part in the higher heat emissions, as well.

Max. Load
 38 °C34.5 °C28.1 °C 
 35.3 °C35.6 °C29.1 °C 
 36.5 °C34.5 °C28.1 °C 
Maximum: 38 °C
Average: 33.3 °C
26.8 °C29.9 °C45.1 °C
27.4 °C35.1 °C39.7 °C
27.5 °C40.4 °C37.2 °C
Maximum: 45.1 °C
Average: 34.3 °C
Room Temperature 22 °C

Loudpeakers

The sound of the built-in loudspeakers is agreeably full and vibrant. The amplification is sufficient to even hear a clear and loud sound on the other side of a larger room. Music or speech output can already be enjoyed at two-thirds of the maximum volume. A further volume increase leads to distortions and vibrations.

Battery life

A 6 cell battery with a capacity of 48 Wh belongs to the Samsung Q320's scope of delivery. This allows for a maximum of 5 hours mains-free working. However, the battery life is shortened to about 3 hours in the practical WLAN mode in the energy savings profile "balanced".

In comparison to competitor notebooks, it can be noted that the Q320 is on about the same level as the Sony Vaio SR with an ATI HD 3470 graphic card in regards to battery life. In this regard, it even surpassed the MSI EX300 with a larger battery and the HP Pavilion dv3600 and down rights outstrips the Dell Studio XPS 13.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 00min
WiFi Surfing
2h 57min
DVD
2h 10min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 30min

Power Consumption

Idle 14 / 19 / 22 Watt
Load 43 / 55 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         

Verdict

We appreciated the defined orientation of mobile use of the Samsung Q320. The good quality of the deployed materials results in an overall robust laptop with a low weight and a practical design. The display lid presents itself, despite a high-gloss finish, less prone to smudge than some of Samsungs forerunners.

Additionally, the Q320 has one of the best keyboards in its category. Except for a light in dark rooms, there is practically nothing left to be desired at typing.

Unfortunately, the display proves to be a stumbling block for mobile use in adverse light conditions. The LED display might be bright but the reflective surface leads  to irritating reflections, for instance outdoors. On the other hand, the screen is easy to clean due to its "edge-to-edge" design.

A further disadvantage is found in the fan regulation. The noise characteristic is quite unpleasant, particularly at use under low load.

Surmising it can however be noted: Samsung has done a good job with the Q320. The Samsung Q320 proves to be a useable mobile companion.

Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320
In Review: Samsung Q320
Samsung Q320

Specifications

Samsung Q320

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel PM45
:: Memory
3072 MB, Samsung DDR2-800, 1x 1GB + 1x 2GB
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce G 105M - 256 MB, Core: 640 MHz, Memory: 702 MHz, GDDR3, ForceWare 179.60
:: Display
13.4 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, WXGA, LED backlight, Chi Mei Optoelectronics CMO1317 / N134B6-L01, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
250 GB - 5400 rpm, 250 GB 5400 rpm Hitachi HTS543225L9A300
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC272
:: Connections
1 Express Card 34mm, 2 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: Audio-in, Audio-out, Card Reader: 3-in-1 (SD, SDHC, MMC),
:: Networking
Marvell Yukon 88E8057 (10MBit), Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5100 (a b g n ), 2.0 + EDR Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
TSSTcorp CDDVDW TS-T633A
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 37 x 326 x 228,5
:: Weight
2.185 kg Power Supply: 0.45 kg
:: Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion, Samsung 4400mAh, 11.1 V, 6 cells
:: Price
900 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32 Bit
:: Additional features
1.3MPx webcam

 

Samsung Q320 proves to be a nice little notebook with quality.
Samsung Q320 proves to be a nice little notebook with quality.
We found the periodic rise and fall of the fan noise quite disturbing, even if it's not readable in the noise diagram.
We found the periodic rise and fall of the fan noise quite disturbing, even if it's not readable in the noise diagram.
In return, it can heat up decently in places under load.
In return, it can heat up decently in places under load.
The Q320's bottom side doesn't heat up much under load.
The Q320's bottom side doesn't heat up much under load.
It resembles the look of Vaio notebook, in a sense.
It resembles the look of Vaio notebook, in a sense.
The contour of the Samsung Q320 looks slim.
The contour of the Samsung Q320 looks slim.
The status display along the front edge would look good - at least after removing the ugly stickers.
The status display along the front edge would look good - at least after removing the ugly stickers.
The reflective display doesn't leave a good impression due to pallid colors.
The reflective display doesn't leave a good impression due to pallid colors.
This doesn't deflect and allows for a comfortable typing experience.
This doesn't deflect and allows for a comfortable typing experience.
The Q320 has been equipped with one of the best keyboards in comparison to other notebooks of the same category.
The Q320 has been equipped with one of the best keyboards in comparison to other notebooks of the same category.
The slot-loading drive contributes to the case stability.
The slot-loading drive contributes to the case stability.
The base unit's feel convinces not least because of the use of quality materials.
The base unit's feel convinces not least because of the use of quality materials.
Sophisticated details add to this impression.
Sophisticated details add to this impression.
The restricted opening angle has a detrimental effect.
The restricted opening angle has a detrimental effect.
...and a high-gloss display lid.
...and a high-gloss display lid.
And that despite a reflective display...
And that despite a reflective display...
In view of the dedicated GPU, the battery life is good.
In view of the dedicated GPU, the battery life is good.

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Pro

+Stable case and display lid
+Quality material with a pleasant feel
+Aesthetic design
+Fantastic keyboard
+Good loudspeakers
+Numerous interfaces
 

Cons

-Fan regulation in idle mode or under low load
-Weak colors and viewing angles
-Reflective display
-High-gloss display lid
-Restricted opening angle

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Samsung Q320
Author: Sylwester Cyba, 2009-08-22 (Update: 2013-06- 6)