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Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop review

Andy Vandervell



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Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop
  • Samsung X120 (JA01UK) - 11.6in CULV Laptop


Our Score:


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.

Luan Bach

November 11, 2009, 5:50 pm

Real shame about the battery life, I was hoping for around 5 hours.


November 11, 2009, 6:47 pm

Seems to be a conspiracy by each manufacturer to implement some form of achilies heel into each of their CULV products right now? Bad keyboard here, small battery there, lack of dual core processor (Toshiba CULV) etc etc etc

Andy Vandervell

November 11, 2009, 7:03 pm

bv: It's rather like netbooks in the early days. Manufacturers are still exploring what people want and how best to implement that. I've got high hopes for the X420, though. It has a better battery on it and comes with an external optical drive as well.


November 11, 2009, 7:39 pm

Andy, any idea when you'll be able to review the X series Vaio? Battery life on my X is excellent although I haven't done any sort of tests...


November 11, 2009, 8:24 pm

If you can get used to the keyboard of the acer timeline 1810T (which I have and I absolutely love it) then its perfect. Su4100, 3/4GB DDR3, 250/320GB HDD, 11.6'' screen (1366x768 I believe may be slightly out) 6 hours plus battery life, and looks great. Oh and it can be had for £400 if you shop around - this really should be what they should have reviewed.

If you want a touchscreen then wait for the 1820p series (as above but with tablet feature) - probably won't be more than £500. I will probably sell the 1810 and get that when it comes out.

IMO the vaio X is stupid - less power than these new CULV models and if you want more than 3.5 hours battery life you have to add the extended battery that more than doubles both the weight and thickness, and is extremely ugly - kinda defeats the purpose really. Get used to being to bend the screen significantly whenever you open it, its so thin and makes me wonder how on earth it doesn't snap when it bends so much too. The keyboard is decent but there are better (read: vaio TT) but the touch pad is like something off the eee pc 900 with half decent mouse buttons. If you just have to spend a lot of money on a ultra portable and really want an exclusive branded computer then get a vaio TT instead. So much more power and the potability isn't practically any similar. Sorry to rant but I had to get that off my chest, If it CULV with some 'portable' battery life built in, I could justify the premium (still wouldn't get it mind).

Andy Vandervell

November 11, 2009, 8:51 pm

I hope to have a 1810T in quite soon.

X-Series is a wait and see job. Sony tend to be reticent in sending them to people who might actually test them properly - at least that's my experience! ;)

Martin Daler

November 11, 2009, 10:27 pm

I would second Andrew Violet's comments about the Acer 1810TZ. I bought one to use as a student teacher, so I needed something small and light, but with enough gumption to run powerpoint, smartboard software, show video clips as well as the usual office software, maybe several apps open at a time etc. And since I didn't want to have to lug a power brick and UK monster mains plug, it had to last all day - and it does, easily. No, it's not 8 hours of intensive multimedia use, its a full day of on-off use with a fair percentage of idle time - typical usage I would guess. And I love the keyboard.


November 12, 2009, 1:04 pm

Thanks for the pointers guys - the Acer 1810TZ looks to be the benchmark CULV sub-notebook right now - early web reviews of it and the closely related 1410 appear positive. Looking forward to a TR review soon (?) to confirm.


November 13, 2009, 7:57 pm

I've been looking around for a 6 cell battery for the Samsung X120 (JA01UK) and can't find anything concrete on it or a price. Has anyone heard anything on the 6 cell battery and a price?

Martin Daler

November 14, 2009, 6:55 pm

@Andrew Clifton-Brown

Yes, the above mentioned Acer 1810 has a 6-cell battery (Or were you saying you have already bought the Samsung and need a 6-cell battery for that?)


November 15, 2009, 1:45 pm

@Martin Daler

I haven't actually brought the Samsung X120 yet, but if I can source a 6 cell battery for it I probably will. Just finding the battery is proving to be the problem at the moment.....

Andy Vandervell

November 16, 2009, 5:34 pm

FYI all, an 1810T arrived today, so expect to see a review in a week or so!


November 17, 2009, 10:42 pm

Acer nearly always manage to have what looks on paper to be the best features to price ratio. I guess they have economies of scale that allow them to undercut the competition most of the time to maintain this. However what always puts me off them are reports of poor build quality and the fact that their machines just don't last as well. I'd always rather pay another 10-20% and go with Sony, Toshiba, Asus or even Dell than go down the Acer route (which I've done once and won't be repeating until I've heard better reports of their quality).

Ben Senior

November 25, 2009, 4:56 am

The Acer 1810tz would be perfect except it has no bluetooth (?!) and i'm not mad about the keyboard. Such a shame about the battery on the x120. The only netbook i've found that seems to tick all the boxes is the Lenovo U150 but it's only out in the States from what I can see with no indication of if/when it will be released here...


December 6, 2009, 11:35 pm

OK, have mine 2 weeks lads, it is brilliant, but battery life is crap! Admittedly I have come from a FSC Lifebook P7120 which had a 2nd modular battery giving me between 6-8 hours battery. The standard 4 cell which came with my "X120-JA01, Dual Core SU4100 1.3GHz, Windows 7 Home Premium, 11.6" WXGA, GMA 4500M, 3GB (1x1GB

+ 1x2GB) RAM, 250GB

HDD, No Optical

Drive, 802.11BG WLAN,

Webcam, 4 Cell" only last about 2.5hrs at max, even with Samsung power profile enabled in W7. Very dissapointing. I am a reseller/IT installer and I will be making sure I spec a 6cell before selling this baby. Other than that it is great. Performace, great speed to come back from hiberantion too. Mad to think I now think an 11.6 screen is too big!!!! That's what coming from a 10.2" Lifebook does!!!!! Anyway, bewarned about battery life, but then get this machine with confidence. ADIOS AMIGOS!!!

James Bedford

August 11, 2010, 1:36 pm

I've had my X120 for a few months now - major gripe (like everyone), is the battery.

On the plus side - there is a 6-cell available, but it's nearly impossible to track down. Samsung's UK parts dealer (digicare.co.uk) sell it by phone / mail order (not in their web catalogue) and it's £111 + £7.50 P&P. It's part number is BA43-00235A (the standard 4-cell is BA43-00234A).


October 14, 2010, 3:49 pm

I'm not concerned about battery life so I went for this one - only to find it had another downer that, for me, is going to take a lot of getting over. I had never seen a keyboard with both the back slash and the forward slash on the right-hand side, resulting in the right-hand shift key, which is only two-thirds the size of the left-hand one (if that!), being shoved out too far to the right for the pinkie to reach it while the other fingers stay close to the "home keys". If anyone has an X120, try this - left index finger on the \f, sorry, F, and other left-hand fingers on D, S, A; right index finger on the J and other right-hand fingers on K, L, Semi-colon; now stretch each pinkie to rest on the relevant shift key. \see, oops, See the difference?

I gather that nobody at \samsung (see what I mean?) sorry, Samsung, nor any reviewer, is a touch-typist :-/ This keyboard is a no-no for a touch-typist with the average female hand size, which is why I'm taking so much trouble to explain it here.

I'd also never heard of a laptop with no sleep-charge USB sockets so it didn't occur to me to check it out.

Very depressing.


March 11, 2013, 8:00 pm

i brought this laptop 2 yrs ago and has never failed me till 3 months ago when the speekers started making funny noises to be honest i whould never get this computer again waist of money

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