If one takes the X360 and the MacBook Air as direct rivals, the obvious area where the Samsung comes out on top is in connectivity – not that it would take much. On the left there’s the all important Ethernet port, then there’s a USB port, a 34mm ExpressCard slot and the headphone and microphone jacks.
Following, on the right, you’ll find a memory card reader, two more USB ports, an HDMI output and a VGA port. A power input can be found on the back, as can a lock slot, while underneath there’s even a docking station port. This will please anyone who fancies a working machine with a little style, as will the security provided by a fingerprint reader and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM).
Despite all these practicalities, the X360 does share one of the Air’s impracticalities: there’s no integrated optical drive. How important this is, is a perennial argument but our immediate answer is it’s better to have than have not; especially given the inconvenience if you want to watch a DVD in bed or use a CD you’ve been given.
On the plus side, Samsung does at least eschew Apple’s legendary penny pinching by bundling an external drive in the box. It’s a pretty neat affair, too. An 8x DVD-Rewriter, its glossy black and metallic silver exterior, slim proportions and subtle curves sit well with the X360 itself. We also like how the cable coils into a recesses underneath, though we did wonder whether it would have been better in black to match the machine rather than battleship grey.
Another accessory that’s included in the box is a slip case, though we’re not sure why Samsung bothered. Why? Because the slip case is the exact same flimsy effort found with Samsung’s NC10 netbook, which costs more than four times less and lets face it, if you knew this you’d be annoyed, wouldn’t you? And now you do, you’ll probably be annoyed already – how depressing! In all seriousness, though, when dealing with a ‘premium’ product such as this, one either includes a good slip case or doesn’t bother. Apple of course, takes the latter option with the Air.