The little gold square between the buttons is actually a fingerprint scanner for the integrated biometric security. Although IBM has had a lot of exposure for implementing biometric security on its ThinkPads, to be fair, Samsung actually had this feature first. In fact the X10 that I reviewed well over a year ago had fingerprint security, which worked very well. Just like the X10 and the latest IBM machines, the X50 can utilise your fingerprint instead of passwords. So, you can assign all your Windows, application and online passwords to be replaced by your fingerprint. This means that you shouldn’t have to worry about remembering passwords anymore, and hopefully no one will be able to have a quick nose around your notebook when you’re not there.
Above the keyboard are five buttons. The large button on the far right is the power button, while next to this is a hardware button for the integrated wireless adapter. To the left of this is a programmable shortcut button, which is set to Calculator by default. The last two buttons have dual purposes – in Windows they will launch Outlook and Internet Explorer, but when the machine is powered off, these buttons will activate the AV Now utility, which allows you to playback, video, audio and images without booting into Windows.
Inside the X50 is a 2GHz Pentium M, which is only one step down from the top of the range Pentium M. The CPU is backed up by 512MB of PC3200 DDRII memory, while the 80GB hard disk should provide enough storage for even the most space hungry user. Grpahics come courtesy of ATI in the shape of a Mobility Radeon X600 chipset. This isn’t the fastest mobile graphics chipset by any stretch of the imagination, but you can probably get away with playing the odd game if you drop the resolution down and don’t turn any image quality features on.
Squeezed into the right side of the slim chassis is a DVD writer. This is a Panasonic device and can handle the full complement of disc formats – so you can happily burn DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD-RAM, CD-R and CD-RW discs. Next to the optical drive are two stacked USB 2.0 ports.
At the front you’ll find headphone and microphone sockets, along with an integrated memory card reader. The card reader will accept SD/MMC cards as well as the various flavours of MemoryStick.
The left side sports a six-pin FireWire port, a Type II PC Card slot, a D-SUB port, a modem socket and a network port for the integrated gigabit Ethernet controler. Most of the rear is taken up by the battery, but Samsung has still managed to squeeze in the power socket, another USB 2.0 port, a TV out connector and an S/PDIF port.