Samsung X360 Ultraportable Laptop

In recent months, Samsung has . But its new X360 is an interesting contender among ultraportable models--sleek enough to take on the or even the . Though its sex appeal can't match that of the or the , this slim little machine may have enough positives to win you away from Lenovo's competing models--if you have a spare US$2500.

That money buys you an ultraportable equipped with a 1.4-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U9400 CPU and 3GB of RAM. Despite its lukewarm configuration, the X360 still managed to eke out an average score of 73 on our WorldBench 6 test suite. But don't buy it if your intent on playing graphics-intensive games. Intel's integrated graphics system limps along in Doom 3 at a lousy 8 frames per second (at 1024 by 786 resolution). Hamsters on treadmills move faster. On the other hand, the X360's 128GB solid-state drive is fairly speedy; it is also largely responsible for the laptop's high price and low weight (only 3.7 pounds, counting the AC adapter).

The battery life of this ultraportable was most impressive, lasting a whopping 7 hours, 36 minutes in our stress tests. Lenovo's X200 still keeps the top spot on the endurance chart, however, at 8 hours, 54 minutes.

The X360 measures 12.2 by 9.1 by 1.3 inches, so a lot gets crammed into a fairly tight space. In fact it shares a lot in common with its big brother, the X460, despite having a smaller screen and lacking an optical drive. The 13.3-inch backlit LED on the X360 is amazingly bright. Good and colorful, without oversaturation, Samsung's new notebook is easy on the eyes. In fact, the screen makes for easy viewing under just about any lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. And the 1280-by-800-pixel resolution is perfectly reasonable for an ultraportable notebook.

Like Apple and Sony, Samsung opts for a cutout keyboard, on which the keys pop out through holes in the case. This arrangement gives the keys a more solid feel and creates good spacing between them. The result is comfortable, solid tactile feedback on every key press. Though the keys aren't especially textured, they don't feel flimsy.

You won't find superfluous multimedia shortcut keys on the X360. Instead, the laptop handles each special task through a combination of the 'Function' button and one of the F keys. (That's the only way to toggle the number lock and caps lock.) The only dedicated buttons are a shortcut to the Samsung MagicDoctor (a quick-fix finder for PC problems) and a speed-boost shortcut key (a toggle between basic power-saving settings and full speed). The mousepad is pleasantly sensitive, and the two buttons are well-spaced and solid to the touch.