We’ve been greatly impressed by Samsung’s netbooks and other laptops and had high hopes for the X120, the company’s 11.6in CULV laptop. It certainly looks the business thanks to attractive grey lid, slender dimensions and chrome trim. However, as good looking as the X120 is, it doesn’t feel very sturdy. The base feels cheap, creaking under pressure while the lid flexes quite easily.
An even more important feature in an ultra-portable laptop is battery life. After all, there’s little point in having a thin and light laptop if its battery constantly needs recharging. Unfortunately, the X120 lasted just three hours and 15 minutes, which is very poor. Although we loved the X120’s slim frame, we’d happily put up with a slightly chunkier design for longer battery life.
We were more impressed with the keyboard. The keys are large, with only the cursor keys and a handful of punctuation keys smaller than the rest. They could do with a little more feedback when pressed, but they have just the right amount of travel so they still feel comfortable to type on.
The large speaker grille pushes the keyboard forwards a little, leaving less room for the accurate touchpad. The pad is still quite large though, since the buttons have been moved to either side of the pad, instead of sitting below it. This change in position can take a little getting used to.
Despite the space devoted to the speakers, they’re very poor. They sound very tinny and muddy, so they’re good for Windows alert noises and little else. You’ll want a good quality set of speakers or headphones for enjoying movies and music. The 250GB hard disk is a little small at this price, and there’s no Gigabit Ethernet, which is unusual for a CULV ultra-portable. Fast 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth are built-in.
The 11.6in screen is a step up from the 10.1in screens on most netbooks and has a higher resolution of 1,366×768. This gives you plenty of desktop space to work with. We were disappointed by the quality of the display. Although by no means dark or illegible, the screen is quite bright. We were also disappointed by the slightly uneven backlight and tight viewing angles, which means colours don’t look very accurate. The screen does tilt reasonably far back though, making it easier to use on your lap or in confined spaces, such as on a flight.
The X120 performed well for a CULV ultra-portable laptop thanks to its 3GB of RAM and dual-core 1.3GHz Pentium SU4100 processor. It scored 40 overall, making it more than twice as fast as an Atom-powered netbook. The laptop can be upgraded to 4GB of RAM, although the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium installed will only be able to use around 3.5GB.
As expected, the integrated Intel GMA 4500M HD graphics chip is no good for playing games, although it can handle decoding HD video.
We wanted to like the Samsung X120, but its creaky build quality is unimpressive and its short battery life severely limits its usefulness as an ultra-portable laptop. Unless you’re absolutely smitten with its appearance, there are far better value alternatives available.
|Processor||Intel Pentium SU4100|
|Processor clock speed||1.3GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Realtek High Definition Audio|
|Viewable size||11.6 in|
|Graphics Processor||Intel GMA 4500M HD|
|Graphics/video ports||HDMI, VGA|
|Total storage capacity||250GB|
|Optical drive model||none|
|Optical drive type||N/A|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SDHC, MMC|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition|
|Optional extras||extra battery £95|
|Warranty||one year collect and return|