Samsung X360

When you turn the X360 on things just get better. The 13.3in screen sports a native resolution of 1,280 x 800, which is pretty much par for the course, but in sheer image quality terms, this screen is staggeringly good. Unsurprisingly, this screen uses LED backlight technology, but this is definitely one of the best implementations that I've seen. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that this is the best notebook screen I've seen bar the Sony VAIO TZ series, and anyone who's used a Sony TZ will know just how much of a compliment that is.

The screen on the X360 has a high contrast glossy coating, as is the case more often than not with notebooks these days. This means that the screen is more reflective than a non-glossy version, but that's a small price to pay for the rich, bright and vibrant colours, while black levels are ludicrously deep for a notebook display.

There's also no hint of backlight bleed at any of the screen's edges, which is something that plagues many LED backlight screens - actually the lighting is smooth and even across the whole screen surface. As much as it pains me to say it, sitting in front of the X360 with my ThinkPad X300 next to me, I can't help but feel a little disappointed in the Lenovo - although to be fair, the screen is about the only thing about the ThinkPad that isn't first rate.

The quality feel of the X360 extends to the keybaord, which utilises the separated key layout that was pioneered by Sony's VAIO X505VP ultra-portable back in 2004. Whether Samsung has gone with this design to compete with Apple and Sony, or whether it just allows for slimmer and lighter notebooks is anyone's guess.

One thing is certain though - the keyboard in the X360 is brilliant. OK, so it doesn't quite reach the dizzying heights of a ThinkPad keyboard, but it's pretty damn good nonetheless. Because each key is separate, there's absolutely no hint of flex, no matter how hard or fast you're typing, and despite the slight lack of travel, the break is firm and the spring back strong. I had no problem whatsoever achieving a fast and accurate typing rate on the X360, and anyone who's used a Sony VAIO TZ or Apple MacBook will take to it like a duck to water.

The early sample that Samsung provided me with had a US style keyboard layout, so there was a small Enter key, rather than a large Return key. That said, even with this keyboard, both Shift keys are large, as is Caps Lock, Backspace and Tab. Even the Ctrl key is large and easy to access, sitting in the bottom left corner where it should be, while many notebook vendors choose to place the Fn key here instead.

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