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Samsung X360 13.3in Notebook - World Exclusive - Display, Keyboard & Build Quality

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Like the Air and Lenovo's all-conquering ThinkPad X300, the X360 is built around a 13.3in display. It's a form factor that has exploded in popularity over the last year or so and though the likes of the Sony VAIO TZ and its replacement the VAIO TT (review coming soon) still sit atop the portable rankings due to their 11.1in screens, a 13.3in has some obvious benefits if you don't get on with small screens and compressed keyboards.

Samsung's effort has a par for the course 1,280 x 800 native resolution and though this is probably ideal for its intended market, the tech snob within us can't help but pine after something roomier. If the display doesn't sport a high resolution, one thing it can boast is brightness. Like most LED displays at full brightness it's still just about viewable in strong sunlight, even with its glossy finish, while text is razor sharp and very readable.

Regrettably not everything about the X360's screen is quite so complimentary. Bright it may be but the screen also comes across as slightly watery. Low saturation colours are poorly handled, colours lack vibrancy and there's noticeable banding in gradients. Viewing angles are also fairly mediocre and though all this doesn't prevent it from producing a reasonable performance in videos and photos, as a whole it's not in the same league as the likes of the Sony VAIO Z11WN - our runner-up in the portable notebook category of our Annual Awardsthis year.

No such complaints can be made of the keyboard. As seems tradition in designer machines like this, Samsung has employed an isolated style keyboard and it's an absolute peach. Keys have just the right amount of travel and feature a nice, light and crisp action that makes typing effortless.

This is combined with a more or less faultless layout. There's a large and friendly UK style Return key, the cursor keys are slightly withdrawn and more or less every key is where it ought to be. In fact, the only deviation from UK convention is the backslash key, which is on the right to make room for a larger left Shift key, but this has more or less no impact on normal typing.

This excellent keyboard is reflective of the overall build quality of the X360, too. Creaking and bendy panels are nowhere to be seen and though the screen hinge could be a little stiffer, it has a smooth and reassuring action that inspires some confidence. Likewise, the touchpad buttons have a firm and positive action and all told we can't really fault Samsung in this regard.


November 28, 2008, 8:16 pm

Alas, Samsung seem to be shooting for the corporate/education sub-� market - in my experience that limit is common.


November 29, 2008, 12:19 am

Gloss = Loss


November 29, 2008, 6:10 am

If Samsung were aiming for the budget concious, what was the point of putting DDR3 RAM in there, when it is so much more expensive than DDR2 and the very small performance increases don't really warrant it (particularly with that processor), especially for this market. They would have been better off just sticking in 3 or even 2GB of DDR2 which would have been fine for a system of this spec. They could then use those savings to upgrade that weak processor to the slightly better ULV SU9400 (1.4GHz), which would only be about another 㿀-㿊 more.


December 1, 2008, 3:59 pm

After reading the preview on TR a few months ago, I was seriously considering this notebook. After reading a few reviews, I'm glad I opted for the Sony VAIO VGN-Z11WN/B. The screen, colour of the lid, glossy finish & lack of a built-in optical drive are enough to put me off the Samsung. Might sound trivial, but when you chuck around ٟ.5k at a notebook, you want all your requirements on board!


December 2, 2008, 5:20 pm

Hi there,

I've had an X360 for the past couple of weeks and I am delighted with it. Whilst not a perfect product, for me it represents an excellent balance of features, performance and value. This laptop was bought to replace a Sony G series 12inch ultra-portable.

The good aspects of this laptop includes: battery life (full charge gives me five hours word processing plus three hours web browsing with two hours indicated remaining - wireless on at all times), display very sharp (from the box it did look a bit washed out but reducing the extreme factory contrast setting helped alot with this), boot time (can't tell you how annoying Vista boot times were on my previous laptop...this thing is so fast that I sometimes reboot just to see again how quick it is!), cool and really quiet operation, & finally really solid construction both keyboard (which is great) and overall.

The bad: the displays rather limited viewing angle.

The Ugly: Yep...that glossy finish is a pain.

Whilst it will always be horses for courses; for me (and after playing with the Sony TT as my other option) the X360 represented the best balance delivered at a very good price. Don't discount the X360 until you've tried it and the alternatives.



December 3, 2008, 4:47 pm

PS: On my scales the X360 is 1.31Kg - still not the quoted 1.29 :o)


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