One of the big stories at IFA last month was the launch of the Samsung X360 – a 1.29kg 13.3in notebook that has the MacBook Air firmly in its sights. There’s no denying that the X360 looks like a great machine that will please anyone looking for a light but fully featured notebook. In fact, compared to the MacBook Air, the X360 is filled to the brim with features, but for some, the lack of an integrated optical drive could be a deal breaker, especially when you consider that the Lenovo ThinkPad X300 and Sony VAIO TZ series both sport integrated DVD writers. Samsung isn’t blind to this fact, so today the Korean giant is announcing the X460, and I managed to get my paws on an early sample prior to launch.
If you looked at the X460 in isolation, you could mistake it for the X360 – it shares the same design, including the brushed aluminium finish adorning most of the lid, and as such it looks very good indeed. However, placing the X460 next to the X360 reveals that the new machine is larger, sporting a 14.1in screen instead of a 13.3in panel (check out Page 4 for some comparison photos). Unfortunately the resolution remains 1,280 x 800, while it would have been nice to have seen a 1,440 x 900 panel. That said, considering the price point Samsung has managed to hit with the X460, it would be somewhat churlish of me to complain too much about desktop real estate.
Resolution aside, this is a very good screen, which is especially impressive considering that this isn’t a retail sample. As is usually the case with Samsung notebooks, the screen has a high contrast, glossy finish. As a result, the colours are very vibrant and blacks are deep, so anyone who likes to watch movies on their notebook while stuck in a hotel room won’t be disappointed. There’s also little evidence of the backlight bleed that often plagues bright notebook screens, especially LED backlight models like this one. Viewing angles are also very impressive for a glossy screen, and although reflections can be an issue in environments with strong directional light sources, I didn’t have any problems seeing the screen. Mounted above the screen is a 1.3-megapixel webcam, which is good news for anyone who likes to make video calls from their notebook.
The stylish look of the lid continues when you open the X460 up – yes that glossy screen looks good, but then so does the glossy piano black finish that adorns the bezel, keyboard surround and wrist rest. OK, so it picks up more finger prints than a CSI working a murder case, but there’s no denying that it looks great after a quick wipe down. The piano black finish is broken up by a long, thin, brushed aluminium strip above the keyboard – here you’ll find the stereo speakers and a small power button, which of course, glows blue.