Samsung seems to be toying around with the Asian notebook market for quite a while now, occasionally introducing a new model, before disappearing for months, after which we'll see something new again. Hopefully, with the debut of the newest Samsung X360 ultra-portable notebook, Samsung's back for good and ready to deliver.
As with most ultra-portables, the Samsung X360 main selling point is its portability and at 1.29kg, it's off to a great start. This seems almost impossible, till you actually balance the notebook on the tips of your fingers. Then you'll realize that yes, it's that light. It even beats Apple's MacBook Air, which checks in at 1.36kg. Sure, there's not too much of a weight difference between both machines, but right now, the X360 takes the cake for the lightest 13.3-inch ultra-portable.
Design wise, the X360 liberally uses Samsung's favorite design aesthetic - glossy piano black, which, admittedly, does look pretty when you first lay eyes on it. Unfortunately, glossy black surfaces tend to end up looking all smudged and oily and is something we aren't really looking forward to. There's some hope in the form of a brushed metal surface elegantly layered over three quarters of the top cover, but the interior returns to our abovementioned gripe.
Since the X360 lacks an optical drive, we're proud to report that it makes up for that with plenty of connectivity options in the form of three USB 2.0 ports, a HDMI output, an analog video output (VGA), a LAN jack, ExpressCard/34 and a 3-in-1 card reader. Compared against say the MacBook Air, it offers that much more without comprising on the weight, though the Air still beats the X360 on sheer thinness. That's not to say the X360 is thick; it's surprisingly thin at just 1.6cm at its minimum and 3.09cm at its thickest.
Inside the X360, you'll find a nicely spaced out keyboard that we dare say, is inspired from Sony and Apple. The X360 does have the dubious benefit of Silver Nano technology on the keyboard to chase away the germs if you're the sort to eat with your hands straight after typing with the keyboard. Call us a skeptic but we're not entirely sold on the nanotechnology just yet. As for the trackpad, we loved both the feel and responsiveness that left our fingers singing in content.
Like most ultra-portables, the Samsung X360 suffers from a lack of processing power due to the use of an Ultra Low Voltage processor, the Intel Core 2 Duo SU9300 (1.2GHz); though it does get some help in the form of a 128GB SSD that speeds up application loading times quite a bit. You won't be able to perform video encoding or indulge in 3D gaming on the X360 to any satisfaction, but it will be sufficient for day to day productivity tasks like Microsoft Office and other non-taxing content creation programs for sure.
On the benchmarking front, the unit scored a low 2131 marks in PCMark Vantage, which is just quite disappointing when compared to the 2574 marks scored by the Lenovo X300 which uses a similar (but older) ULV processor with the same clock speed. Battery life was perhaps the saving grace of the unit, managing a cool 193 minutes for our test.
Retailing at S$2899, the Samsung X360 may seem like an expensive prospect to most, but it's a pretty looking and decent ultra-portable that should satiate the appetites of fashionistas and techies with a need for a sexy machine. We're hoping that with the X360, Samsung makes a grand enough re-entry splash into the seas of the Asian market that will see them staying for good this time.