Samsung – X120 review

stylish, light and powerful ultra-portable notebook
Photo of Samsung – X120
£470

It’s hard to remember back to a time when there wasn’t some form of mobile computer, now that the market is flooded with laptops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets, PDAs and smartphones. The upside, of course, is that it’s now possible to buy a portable computer to suit pretty much everybody’s needs, and Samsung’s recent X series machines aim to nestle in some of the niches in this market.

The X120 is an ultra-portable notebook that is marginally bigger but considerably slimmer than several 10.1-inch netbooks. It’s beautifully styled in smooth silver with luscious curves, measures a wafer-thin 297 x 209 x 25.4mm and can easily be hefted in one hand and stuffed into a shoulder bag as it weighs just 1.36kg.

A quick tour of the outside reveals three USB ports, VGA and HDMI, Ethernet, the usual sound ports and a 3-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, MMC) at the front, which is about par for the course. Once you flip the lid up, you’re confronted with a glossy HD 11.6-inch LED screen in 16:9 widescreen ratio and with a native resolution of 1366 x 768, which is more than sufficient for reading documents, watching videos and preparing presentations.

A glance at the all-black keyboard is enough to reassure you that it’s full size, has firm Scrabble-like tiles that are completely user-friendly and, apart from slightly squashed cursor keys, is a joy to use. However, a considerable amount of space is given over to the stereo speaker panel above the keyboard, with the result that the touchpad below it is correspondingly compressed, forcing the mouse buttons to the side and making the pinch-zoom function in Windows 7 awkward to operate.

Despite this design irritation, the X120 definitely sparkles when it comes to performance as it’s powered by an Intel Pentium dual core 1.3GHz ULV SU4100 CPU with 3GB of RAM. This makes it twice as powerful as the Intel Atom used in many netbooks and thus both speedier and better able to multitask. You won’t, though, be using this as a high-end games machine, but video quality is impressive.

In order to maintain the slim design Samsung has installed a 4-cell battery that is claimed to last four hours, but we only managed 3 hours 45 minutes with virtually no activity yet multiple windows open. Intensive use caused this to drop to around 1 hour 30 minutes so you can probably count on 2 hours 30 minutes for everyday use. Samsung promises 9 hours with an extended 6-cell battery if you’re willing to pay the extra, but as soon as you start hitting the £600 mark you’re straying into superior laptop territory.

Company: Samsung

Contact: 0845 726 7864


Verdict
The Samsung X120 notebook ideally bridges the gap between netbook and larger notebooks with its chic looks, light weight, powerful CPU and attractive keyboard, although it would benefit from a larger touchpad and longer battery life.