Samsung Q430 cuts corners, still feels nimble

An average screen and limited assortment of ports knock down an otherwise-great laptop.

The Samsung Q430 has the specs required to zip through work and play. Aside from those internal components, parts of the laptop feel like Samsung isn't trying very hard; a dull display, pointless and annoying software extras, and a few cut corners hold the Q430 back from excellence. Even with this missed potential, the underlying performance makes the laptop worth considering for general-use, mid-range buyers.

The Q430 is a Best Buy exclusive that costs about $830 as this was published, with a solid lineup of components. You get a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, a 500GB hard disk, and an Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics processor with 512MB of dedicated RAM. All together, these parts powered respectable benchmarks, scoring a solid 108 in PC World's WorldBench 6.

In real-world testing, the Q430 can run nearly anything, from business productivity software to demanding games. The GeForce 310M drives this gaming performance, keeping pace with nearly any recent title. For general use, the laptop nimbly juggles many open applications, letting you multitask with ease. Strong battery life acts as a good counterpoint, with the laptop scoring a satisfying 4 hours and 16 minutes in our benchmarking.

The Q430's input devices feel average, however. The keyboard works well enough, although I'd prefer a slightly tighter rebound on the keys; still, the surface is easy for touch-typists. The laptop lacks any extra buttons to launch browsers or activate special commands, but the omission is usually better than useless extras. You access basics, such as volume and brightness control with a Function-key modifier.

The adequate trackpad feels only slightly different than the palm-rest around it, causing regular swipes to carry too far. Worse, it stops registering movement a full fingertip from its edges; you'll get disoriented when it feels like the mouse should be responding, but it just sits. At least it includes two distinct buttons that are easy to feel, although the smooth texture can seem a bit slimy.

While the 14-inch glossy display includes a sufficient 1,366 by 768 pixels, it skimps on color and contrast. You'll have to crank the brightness to the max to get the best definition. Reduce this setting, and blacks and grays begin to merge. Colors are also sufficient, but they lack the flair of a great laptop.

Audio performance sounds fine for a laptop, but that's another area that could be improved. Music and dialogue favor high tones and can sound garbled, as if you're listening to a conversation across the room. Low drums and other bass effects are only suggested, admittedly like most competitors.

The laptop lacks some competitors' connections. You get three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, VGA, audio-in and -out, webcam, and a flash-card reader; those are all solid standards. Its Wi-Fi supports b/g/n networks, also as expected. And that's nearly it. There's no Bluetooth, eSATA, FireWire, USB 3.0, or other ports that can help in a pinch. The Q430 includes a 100Base-T Ethernet port, but the fairly common Gigabit standard doesn't make the cut.

The Q430 includes a few software extras, such as CyberLink DVD suite to help with the built-in DVD burner. The Best Buy Software application is more notable, however, since it pops up to annoy you at each launch. This software-store hard-sell feels cheap. It also comes with Google Toolbar and other needless additions.

Even with a mediocre display, thin roster of ports, and just-sufficient audio, the Samsung Q430 can win over mid-range buyers. Strong processor and battery performance can help you overlook those shortcomings.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags intelsamsunghardware systemsnvidialaptops

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zack Stern

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?