Samsung X420 review
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.
Author: Sasha Muller
When did a 14" laptop become an ultraportable? I've always understood it to mean one of 12.1" or less - although I accept that slimline 13" models such as the Dell Adamo could be included.
By davidbryant4 on 5 Jan 2010
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