Samsung X420 review
Samsung's X420 is slim, light and relatively inexpensive, but it's far from perfect.
Going by the number of slimline ultraportables around at the moment, Intel has really been pushing its Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage platform. That's no bad thing, since it allows the likes of Samsung's X420 to bridge the gap between the upper echelons of netbook society and expensive ultraportables.
Compared to many £500 laptops Samsung's X420 is a seriously portable proposition at just 1.77kg, and its slim figure is alluring too. The silver lid sparkles attractively and contrasts well with the stylish matte-black interior and chrome-effect frame. The overall effect is sharp and stylish.
Build quality, however, is uninspiring. Both the chassis and lid are flexible, and the chassis feels insubstantial. This is disappointing for a laptop designed to spend much of its life on the road, particularly given its ability to manage 7hrs 24mins of light usage.
The somewhat creaky build is doubly disappointing as, even with the display cranked up to its brightest setting and the processor running flat out, the Samsung still managed an impressive 3hrs 24mins.
On a positive note, the 14in screen is bright and clear, and the keyboard not bad, either. The keys have a light action, there's plenty of travel and the layout is sensible.
Again, though, scratch the surface and things aren't quite so rosy. Image quality, for example, looks fine in isolation, but we started to have our doubts when we viewed our array of test photos and videos. Colours err on the side of coldness; a trait that robs images of their vibrancy and leaves skintones looking excessively pale and blue.
Performance, too, is as underwhelming as you'd expect from a low-voltage processor. It's quick enough for the everyday tasks required of it, as a result of 0.71 in our benchmarks suggests, but it's no speed demon. Gaming is almost completely out of the question due to the modest Intel graphics.
Go back a few years, and finding an ultraportable for £496 exc VAT would have caused a stampede. Now, however, with CULV-equipped laptops popping up all over the place, there's a huge amount of competition, and Samsung's X420 just isn't worthy of your hard-earned cash.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||343 x 235 x 32mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel GS45|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA4500M|
|Graphics card RAM||32MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||298GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Samsung HM320IJ|
|Optical disc technology||External DVD writer|
|Optical drive||Samsung SE-S048C|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||1|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||7hr 24min|
|Battery life, heavy use||3hr 24min|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.71|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||8fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs|