Ultraportable is definitely the current buzzword in the computer notebook market, the lighter and thinner the better. The benchmark was raised with the arrival of Apple’s MacBook Air, and Samsung’s response for Windows users is the X360.
In marked contrast to Apple’s pure white, the X360 makes a bold statement from the off, with a striking brushed metal burgundy and glossy black plastic cover and the same jet black interior. It weighs in at a miniscule 1.29kg and although the basic measurements are 311 x 228 x 16.5mm, the height extends to 30.9mm at the rear because of the size of the battery.
Like the MacBook Air, the X360 has large, raised keys that are easy to operate, a 13.3-inch backlit glossy LCD with a native resolution of 1,280 x 800 and a built-in Webcam (1.3-megapixels) for that all-important conferencing. Although they both have touchpads, the Air includes Multi-Touch gesture support while the X360 just has the simple scroll facility.
However, the X360 does have a lot more in terms of interactivity, thus reinforcing its business usage bias. There are no fewer than three USB 2.0 ports (unfortunately one’s needed to link up to the external DVD/CD-ROM drive) as well as an HDMI output, VGA for external monitor, a 7-in-1 multi memory card slot, an ExpressCard slot, fixed Gigabit Ethernet connection and an X-Dock port at the rear.
Security is also a major factor in the design and the software, as there’s a fingerprint reader to the right of the touchpad plus Trusted Platform Module 1.2 and a Kensington Lock port at the back. The other clues to the X360′s principal target audience are the relatively low power processor (the Intel Core 2 Duo SU9300 runs at just 1.2GHz) and the low spec Intel graphics card which will leave a lot of games struggling yet still manages to reveal DVD movies in sharp and authentic colours and run PowerPoint presentations with strong blacks and vibrant details.
The other considerable advantage to the business person on the move is the use of the 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD) in place of the traditional HDD, providing fast boot, read and write times. And because it has no moving parts it’s not going to get damaged when it’s bumped on the train. Samsung claims the long-life, 6-cell battery can squeeze out up to 10 hours of continuous usage but even at the 8 hours that we managed, it’s going to be attractive to the long distance traveller.
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