Samsung X125 review
Netbook performance at a laptop price, with not enough polish elsewhere to compensate
Intel's low-power CPUs are fine beasts, but we're seeing more and more of AMD's alternatives appear in thin and light laptops. We've already tested the dual-core Athlon II Neo K325 in the Dell Inspiron M101z; the Samsung X125 sports the other Neo II in the range - the single-core K125.
It's a 45nm part running at 1.7GHz, up from the 1.3GHz of the K325, yet both have the same 12W TDP. But any hopes that the clock boost would keep the Samsung's performance up there with the Dell were soon dashed. It managed only 0.46 in our benchmarks, slowing almost to a halt when faced with multiple simultaneous applications. With the Dell scoring a comfortable 0.67, that missing second core is alarmingly obvious.
Unfortunately, playing second fiddle to the lovely Dell is something the Samsung X125 had better get used to. Not only is its processor weak by comparison, but it also proves detrimental when paired with the same graphics chip as in the Dell. It's the Radeon HD 4225, which is hardly a gaming contender anyway, but an average in our Low quality Crysis test of just 8fps is down from the Dell's 13fps. It will decode HD video without a hitch, but don't expect much else in the way of entertainment.
Thankfully, the X125 does at least deliver on battery life, lasting 6hrs 44mins in our light-use test and more than four hours when pushed to the limit. That's either a sign of the processor's excellent efficiency or an indicator of just how little power it has, depending on your outlook. Still, combine it with the Samsung's 1.57kg weight and you have a portable companion.
It's an 11.6in laptop with a glossy-black interior contrasting with the matte-white outer finish. We'd hesitate to call it attractive, and it feels a bit too plasticky for the type of stylish impact it's going for, but there's a stiffness to the chassis and lid that suggests it will last on its travels. The 1,366 x 768 screen is glossy and a bit too reflective for our office lighting, but colours are good and the backlight is even and bright.
The X125 is quite a deep laptop, so there's plenty of space for the keyboard and touchpad. Unfortunately, Samsung hasn't made much use of it, instead cramming tiny cursor and right-Shift keys onto the Chiclet-style keyboard. It isn't a particularly comfortable keyboard to type on, and the rocker-style mouse button sometimes needed a good push to respond.
Despite netbook levels of performance, this is meant to be a proper laptop, as the 320GB hard disk gives away. But compared to others around its £368 exc VAT price, the Samsung looks like a bit of a dud. A Dell Inspiron M101z with 4GB of RAM and a dual-core Neo will cost you around £50 more, yet gives 30% higher performance, won't grind to a halt if you open several applications, and has better build quality and a nicer keyboard. It's difficult to find a compelling reason to opt for this Samsung in its stead.
|Price ex VAT||£368|
|Price inc VAT||£432|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||4|
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||297 x 209 x 32mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||AMD Athlon Neo K125|
|Motherboard chipset||AMD RS880M|
|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||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4225|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||276GB|
|Optical disc technology||N/A|
|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|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||6hr 44min|
|Battery life, heavy use||4hr 8min|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.46|
|Office application benchmark score||0.42|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||0.41|
|Encoding application benchmark score||0.63|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||0.39|
|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|