Samsung X360

Looking around the X360's chassis, there's far more connection options than you have any right to expect from a machine this thin and light. On the right hand side you'll find both analogue and digital video outputs in the form of D-SUB and HDMI ports respectively. Also present are two USB 2.0 ports, and a memory card reader that accepts SD, MMC, xD and MemoryStick variants.

On the left is a third USB 2.0 port (the MacBook Air has just one remember), headphone and microphone sockets, a 34mm ExpressCard slot (so you could go with a slot-in HSDPA module if you fancied one) and an Ethernet port for that Gigabit controller. The rear is dominated by the standard, six-cell battery, with space for just the power socket and a Kensington lock point.
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Talking of the battery, Samsung claims to have squeezed ten hours battery life from an X360, but admitted that between six and seven hours is probably more realistic for most users. Unfortunately I wasn't able to benchmark this early sample, but as soon as I get my paws on a retail unit I'll see if the X360 lives up to Samsung's claims in the battery department.

If it can manage seven hours, it will give the MacBook Air another good thrashing, and will also leave the ThinkPad X300 in its wake - although to be fair, neither the Air nor the X300 use ultra-low-voltage chips. But let's not forget that you can slip a second battery into the ThinkPad's optical drive bay - no such option with the MacBook Air of course.

As impressive as the specification, design and usability of the X360 are, even more impressive is that Samsung has managed to hit a price of £1,499 including VAT for the 128GB solid state version. Now, you have to remember that's an MSRP, so you should be able to pick one up for even less online.

Compare that to the fact that the MacBook Air, with only a 64GB SSD (and it's not even SATA) costs more, and that's before you add the cost of an external DVD writer, Ethernet adapter and USB hub of some kind - you simply can't live with only one USB, especially if you're having to use that as an Ethernet port. And if you absolutely, positively don't want the 128GB SSD, you can buy a version with a 120GB HDD for £1,299 - you would of course be mad to not spend a bit extra on the faster, lighter and cooler SSD version though.
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It's hard to imagine the X360 not being a success. Samsung has ticked all the right feature boxes, and still managed to bring the thing in at an amazing price. Yes, £1,499 is a lot of money, especially in this climate, but compared to the competition, the X360 is an absolute bargain. Obviously I'll hold off giving the X360 my unequivocal recommendation until I've benchmarked and reviewed a UK retail sample, but it looks like Samsung has really taken the fight to Apple this time.

Related: Samsung X360 World Exclusive Full Review
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