The Samsung Q40 doesn't look as expensive as some models we've tried but it feels robust enough and you don't end up leaving telltale greasy finger marks all over it.
More importantly, the Samsung Q40's keyboard is springy and responsive and the keys sufficiently large for the average user to tap away comfortably.
Samsung kits out the Samsung Q40 with Vista Home Premium running on a 1.2GHz Intel processor, a 60GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM. This resulted in a dreadful WorldBench speed score of just 26 – one of the poorest performance scores we’ve seen in quite some time.
However, the Samsung Q40 is incredibly strong in other areas. It draws far less power than any of the other laptops tested using the Prodigit energy monitor we borrowed from reuk.co.uk and it was able to last an hour and 58 minutes on a single charge under heavy use.
The Samsung Q40's standout feature, though, is the inclusion of an HSDPA (high speed data packet access) module hidden in its base. Using this, you can access the web at blistering fast speeds – at least by laptop standards – and do so where other wireless means of internet access may not be available. HSDPA connections are faster than 3G (up to 3.6Mbps) and some industry experts could HSDPA largely leapfrog it.
Although the Samsung Q40 is pricey at £1,299, this feature is still a rarity and isn’t usually found on models under £1,500. You’ll need to supply your own HSDPA SIM, however.
We expected to find the lack of an optical drive a drag (Samsung supplies one as an external add-on, which means you don't need to lug it with you if you don't need it), but instead we found the lightness of the Samsung Q40's frame liberating. Rather than thinking twice about whether or not to take a laptop with us for fairly routine meetings or to and from the office of an evening, we were more than happy to do so regularly. This, presumably, is the point of an ultraportable: it's not just something that occasionally proves its worth - it's a practical tool that you soon come to depend on.
We hope to see more well-constructed, truly ultraportable laptops like this one. A faster processor and twice the RAM would have made a huge difference to our final verdict on this desirable piece of kit.