Of course what’s inside a notebook is also important, and Samsung has put together a pretty decent specification for the X10 Plus. Being Centrino branded, it comes as no surprise to find an Intel Pentium M CPU inside, clocked at a respectable 1.8GHz. Supporting the CPU is 512MB of RAM and a capacious 80GB hard disk. Despite the slim chassis, there’s also a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive in evidence, so you can backup important data or just burn some music to CD, so you can listen to it in the car. The drive will burn CD-R and CD-RW media at 24x, while also reading CD-ROM discs at 24x and DVD-ROM discs at 8x.
The other half of the Centrino story is, of course, the wireless networking – taking care of this is an Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG adapter that supports both 802.11b and 802.11g standards. Talking of communication, there’s also a wired 10/100Mbit Ethernet adapter and a 56K modem included. Conspicuous by its absence is Bluetooth, which is a shame. It is useful to be able to link-up to your mobile phone for Internet connectivity when you can’t find a hotspot.
On the right of the casing you’ll find the CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive, a USB 2.0 port, a microphone socket and a headphone socket. On the left there’s a single Type II PC Card slot, another USB 2.0 port, a D-SUB connector, a six-pin FireWire port, the modem socket and an Ethernet port.
At the rear of the chassis the battery extends slightly outward from the main body. Next to the battery is the power socket, an optical S/PDIF output and an S-Video output. Finally, at the front there’s a MemoryStick slot, which will be handy if you have a MemoryStick based digital camera or music player.
As far as performance goes the Samsung X10 Plus turned in some pretty good results. Under Mobile Mark the X10 Plus managed a battery life of just under three and a half hours. Although this isn’t the best battery life I’ve seen, when you consider that the Samsung also turned in a Mobile Mark Performance Score of 201, it’s clear that the X10 Plus wasn’t throttling back too much to achieve maximum battery life. Therefore, you could probably tailor your power saving options and achieve better batery life at the expense of a bit of performance.
Firing up SYSmark 2001 showed that the X10 Plus could hold its own with other slim and light notebooks, turning in a score of 184 overall. The PCMark score was also reasonable at 3487 and you could probably even play the odd game on the X10 Plus, assuming it wasn’t too new and you didn’t want to turn any effects on.
The final piece in the puzzle is the price and the X10 Plus isn’t the cheapest thin and light notebook out there. At around £1,625 the X10 Plus is sitting in the premium slim and light notebook sector, but to be fair, that’s exactly where it should be. Having used this notebook for a while now, I can say that it feels every bit as solid as something from Sony or Fujitsu-Siemens. When compared to the Sony VAIO VGN-S1VP and the Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook S7010, the X10 Plus offers a better feature set at a lower price point, and although the Sony had a more stylish look and feel, the Samsung is far quieter in operation.
I can’t deny that I like the X10 Plus, and I’ve enjoyed having it as my travelling companion for the past few weeks. Unfortunately, the lack of Bluetooth and slightly disappointing screen resolution take some of the shine off. Even without the Bluetooth, if Samsung could squeeze a 1,400 x 1,050 panel in this chassis, it would have a real winner on its hands.
The Samsung X10 Plus is a great thin and light notebook, with a strong feature set and good ergonomics. The fingerprint scanner is a nice touch and it’s easy to setup and use. The price is a little on the steep side, and it could do with more desktop real estate, but Samsung has proved that it can compete with the likes of Sony and Fujitsu-Siemens in the slim, light and stylish notebook market.
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