Samsung X360 review
Samsung's X360 is the most eye-catching ultra-portable here thanks to its glossy black and red brushed-metal lid.
Its tapered design means that, at its thinnest point, it's not much thicker than this magazine. It's light at just 1.3kg but it achieves this by having an external USB DVD writer. With the DVD writer, it weighs 1.6kg, making it the heaviest ultra-portable here. This is disappointing, as Toshiba's Portege has a built-in DVD writer but weighs just 1.1kg. The X360 feels more rigid than the Portege, although its lid still flexes under pressure.
The keyboard looks unusual with its spaced-out keys, but they're full size. They feel springy and lack resistance when pressed, which makes typing without errors difficult. The touchpad is large and accurate and the buttons give just the right amount of feedback.
Like the other ultra-portables here, the X360's integrated graphics chip isn't powerful enough to play the latest 3D games. The processor is fast enough for more serious work, although the ultra-low voltage 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo SU9300 is slower than the chips in most of the general-purpose laptops here. It has the second-longest battery life of any laptop here at an astonishing seven hours and 30 minutes.
We were dazzled by the 13.3in 1,280x800-pixel screen, which is almost painfully bright. It's the only ultra-portable screen with a glossy finish, but some colours looked washed out and white areas have a blue tint.
The X360 is the only ultra-portable here to lack a built-in 3G modem, but it has an ExpressCard/34 slot, so you can add one without it dangling off one of the three USB ports. The 120GB solid-state drive (SSD) is more rugged than the hard disks in Sony's VGN-Z31VN/X and Toshiba's Portege, but can fill up quickly if you have lots of media files.
We were impressed with the X360's long battery life and comparatively low price, but we can't recommend it due to its springy keyboard, lack of built-in 3G and comparatively short one-year warranty.
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