Another important design related aspect on any laptop is the keyboard and touchpad. Samsung has a pretty good record on both fronts and the X120 does little to dent its reputation. Samsung has been smart in positioning the keyboard lower down the chassis. This does leave less space for the touchpad, necessitating placing the buttons either side of it, but means the keyboard is optimally positioned for comfortable typing.
As for the keyboard itself, it’s very good. It has a sensible, logical layout, with a half-height top row of keys and slightly withdrawn cursor keys flanked by Page Up/Down keys. Were we nitpicking, the key actions could be snappier, but by normal standards – not our “if it’s not a ThinkPad it’s crap” standards – this is an excellent keyboard. Aside from the abnormal buttons the touchpad is fine, too, and after a few weeks the button placement will become second nature.
Moving one’s gaze upward (to the screen, not the sky!) the 11.6in display is another triumph. It might not hold up to the very highest standards, but at this price brightness, sharpness and resolution are the key factors and in these it passes with flying colours. And, while the 1,366 x 768 native resolution on this size screen does produce a very low pixel pitch – making text quite small, it’s still perfectly readable (more so than this resolution on a 10in screen is) and Windows 7’s DPI options can alleviate any issues you do have.
For connectivity you get three USB ports and audio jacks (1x headphone, 1x microphone) on the right, a memory card reader on the front, and HDMI, Ethernet, and VGA on the left. This covers the basics perfectly well, but an eSATA/USB port or a ‘sleep & charge’ USB port would be nice. Indeed it’s a surprise you don’t at least get the latter; Samsung has had it on other notebooks and Toshiba even had one on its N200 netbook, so why they hell not here, eh?
One thing we weren’t expecting from the X120 was great speakers. Not just because it’s small, either; even the far from small Samsung R620 had speakers whose fidelity was akin to two goats with laryngitis. So, while bass is pretty much absent, the two 1.5W speakers manage to reach decent volumes without distorting horribly, making them fine for video clips and the like.