Business laptops: Samsung QX510

The Samsung QX510's metallic lid, black base and silver interior place it firmly between the established 'home' and 'office' aesthetics. The 15.6-inch display runs at the common 1366 x 768 resolution - workable enough for the vast majority of Windows applications, though you may have trouble editing large images or working with particularly screen-hungry applications.

NameBusiness laptop: Samsung QX510
At a glance:Attractive, sturdy construction,Mediocre CPU for the price range,Impressive graphical performance,No USB 3 or eSATA
Summary:A great contender for a graphics-oriented laptop, but lacks some business-friendly features.
Rating:3.5/5
RRP:$2,400
Contact:samsung.co.nz

The Samsung QX510's metallic lid, black base and silver interior place it firmly between the established ‘home’ and ‘office’ aesthetics. The 15.6-inch display runs at the common 1366 x 768 resolution – workable enough for the vast majority of Windows applications, though you may have trouble editing large images or working with particularly screen-hungry applications.

The glossy display panel is set behind a single transparent sheet – there’s no recessed “screen” area, so you can just clean the whole thing. Convenient, but the reflective gloss doesn’t do you any favours in direct sunlight.

The QX510 features an “island” keyboard with comfortable key size, spacing and travel. However, the full-sized arrow keys occupy some of the space where you’d expect the zero key on the numeric keypad. When entering numbers, I was repeatedly stymied by this.

The touchpad is large, with a single-surface design: the buttons are part of the pad’s surface, allowing for extra movement room. They still provide a nice “click” feeling when pressed.

Internally, the QX510 packs an Intel Core i5 560M CPU running at 2.66GHz – that’s a dual-core, four-threaded offering from the first generation Core i5 processors. In our CPU-based benchmarks, the 560M ran similarly to the i7 620M in single-core tasks but lagged noticeably behind in the multi-core stakes. However, Intel’s newer second-generation Core i5 (Sandy Bridge) processors blow it away in the performance stakes. If it’s raw, portable power you’re after, look beyond the 560M.

Graphics are provided by an Nvidia GeForce 420M with an ample 1GB of dedicated video memory. Nvidia’s “Optimus” technology allows this card to be enabled or disabled as required, falling back to an onboard Intel HD Graphics solution as a power-saving measure.

What it lacks in processing power, the QX510 makes up for with graphics capability. The Cinebench OpenGL and 3DMark DirectX 11 scores are particularly high for a business-class laptop in its price range. Artists, designers and game developers, take note.

Oddly enough, the QX510 ships with Windows 7 Home Premium, which isn’t going to get you very far if you need to join a domain. If you’re part of a large enterprise with Microsoft volume licensing arrangements, replacing this with Windows 7 Professional (or your company’s OS of choice) might not be a big deal. In a smaller business, this means increased cost, among other things.

Connectivity is reasonable – you get three USB ports, an SD card reader, VGA and HDMI outputs, with wired LAN, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Notably missing? USB 3 or eSATA – the highest-speed connectivity you’re going to get is via USB 2.0. If you’re working with large (or numerous) files on external drives, this may present a bottleneck now or in the future.

There’s also no dial-up modem: for most that’s not going to be an issue, but serious road-warriors that travel in rural areas or to less broadband-equipped nations, watch out. There’s also no expansion card slot, so any modem you use will need to be wholly external.

Support is via a standard 12-month consumer warranty, with a return-to-base policy (a courier will be arranged to collect and deliver your laptop). Extended cover isn’t available from Samsung so if you want your laptop guaranteed for more than a year, try your luck with a reseller.

The QX510 is a great laptop, but isn’t the most performance or business-optimised device. For graphics-heavy work, it’s a good option. In other corporate domains, it shouldn’t be your first choice.

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Tags businesslaptopsamsungreviewsamsung qx510

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Harley Ogier

Harley Ogier

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