Samsung X360 review

25 Feb 2009
Our Rating 
4/5
Price when reviewed 
1,156
inc VAT

Specifications

The X360 is a slim, ultra-light laptop with a 13.3in screen, and weighs only 1.3kg. It's not literally 'Lighter than Air' as the advertising claims, but it is a little lighter than the MacBook Air and its screen is the same size.

The MacBook Air is thinner and its pearl-white design doesn't show up greasy fingerprints like the X360's piano-black finish. Meanwhile, the X360's three USB ports make it far more practical when compared to the Air's one. However, comparing the two in this manner isn't hugely productive, as most people will make their choice based on the operating system.

The X360 is an impressive Windows laptop. Its low-power Intel SU9300 processor and 3GB of RAM scored a respectable 3,132 in our PCMark benchmark, which is comparable with the performance of far larger, heavier models. Power efficiency has also improved, thanks to the inclusion of a 128GB solid-state disk drive (SSD), which is also faster and lighter than a normal hard disk. The LED-backlit display draws less power than cold cathode tube screens too. This all adds up to an incredibly low 26W active power consumption. Its battery is relatively small, though, giving it a respectable but not outstanding three-and-a-half-hour battery life.

The keyboard uses the full width of the case, but its flat, separated keys may trip up touch-typists. We prefer a standard keyboard with more tightly packed keys. Although it has full-sized Enter and Shift keys, the Home and End keys are missing and have been replaced by Function key short cuts. The large touch pad is smooth and responsive and the buttons, although flush with the case, have a light action and adequate feedback.

In its quest to reduce the X360's size and weight, Samsung has removed the optical drive - although it comes with a slim and light USB DVD writer. However, if you often use your optical drive while you're out and about, this could be a major inconvenience.

There's no doubt that the Samsung X360 will appeal to Windows users who looked at the MacBook Air with a tinge of envy. It's incredibly low weight and small dimensions are to be applauded, but they're not quite enough to make this our favourite ultra-portable. For around the same money you can buy the Asus U6V. It might weigh around 300g more than the X360, but it was considerably quicker in both our application and gaming benchmarks. Best of all, it includes a 320GB hard disk, a built-in optical drive and five USB ports. These features make it a more practical proposition for day-to-day computing.

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