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Samsung made a big splash in the netbook market when it released the still excellent NC10. It came to the market late and learnt from the mistakes of others, producing a product that (at the time) fulfilled all the needs and desires of consumers. It appears to be taking a similar approach to the burgeoning CULV segment - an idea Acer helped test run with the likes of the Acer Aspire Timeline 4810T - with the X-Series. This new range comprises 11.6-, 14- and 15.6-inch models and we're kicking off with the baby of the range, the 11.6in X120.
There are currently two variants of the X120 available: the JA01UK we've got and the FA03UK. Of the two you'll definitely want the former, which is the same price as the FA03UK but has Windows 7 and a dual-core processor against Vista and a single-core processor. We've been told the other model was a pre-Windows 7 version, so you may find it being discounted quite soon as stock is rundown. You'd have to have rocks in your head to go for it at current prices!
Our version of the X120 is powered by a dual-core Intel Pentium SU4100. It runs at 1.30GHz, has 2MB of L2 Cache and is supported by an ample 3GB of system memory. A 250GB hard drive provides the storage and graphics come courtesy of Intel's GMA 4500M HD integrated chip. Wireless-N Wi-Fi is included for speedy wireless performance, as is Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR for peripherals, though wired networking is the standard 10/100 LAN rather than the faster Gigabit variety. Most people will use Wi-Fi, though, so the latter isn't a great concern.
Of greater import is the design, durability and portability of this 11.6in machine and here Samsung has done a great job. It starts with the slick and elegant silver lid, which doesn't reveal grease and dirt as vociferously as the glossy black finishes on most Samsung laptops. Slightly elevated edges on the main body of the machine help the lid merge seamlessly with it; a fact accentuated by the faux-chrome accenting that lends the X120 a classy, refined appearance. A weight of just 1.36kg means the X120 is no heavier than most netbooks despite being larger, but this slightness isn't the product of poor build quality: the X120 is very well screwed together.
Samsung continues to win brownie points by using smooth, matte black plastic on the inside. Not only does it look and feel good, it's also durable and easy to maintain. That said the display still retains the ever polarising glossy finish, which is prone to smudges and is quite reflective, but it can boast a roomy 1,366 x 768 native resolution. Being LED backlit it's also quite thin, as is the machine itself at 25.4mm thick, though the lack of an optical drive aids this, too. Again, the thinness is accentuated by the well-placed curves and aggressively tapered edges, though it does mean the various ports jut out awkwardly. That's about the biggest complaint that can be made of the design, though, so suffice to say this is a good'un.