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Samsung X420 review: Samsung X420

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The Good Lightweight; full day's battery life; nice trackpad; HDMI port.

The Bad Expensive; build quality isn't great.

The Bottom Line The X420 is a decent ultraportable -- impressively light with great battery life, but also quite expensive. With some more powerful components and a higher build quality the price would seem more appropriate, but as it is, the X420 is hard to recommend over a high-end netbook or a more powerful thin-and-light laptop

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6.5 Overall

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Meet the Samung X420: an ultraportable laptop that boasts impressive battery life, a 14-inch screen and a delightfully lightweight 1.78kg frame. You'll have to fork out for the privilege though -- at around £600, the X420 will take a sizeable bite out of your yearly tech budget. Is it a well-rounded enough machine to justify a purchase?

Silver surfer
The X420 scores early points for style, at least on the outside. A sparkling silver lid and chrome edging give the X420 an attractive finish. Opening it up sadly reveals a more businesslike matte-black finish, although curved edges help make the interior a little more visually arresting.

That hot look unfortunately doesn't translate into solid build quality. Both the X420's lid and chassis twisted in our hands, and we noticed a high degree of keyboard flex when we applied a little pressure. The X420 certainly doesn't feel robust, which is quite an obstacle when you bear in mind it's designed to be your faithful companion on the road, and needs to be able to withstand a few knocks.

Light refreshment
It might not look as if it'll withstand much abuse, but the X420 really is small and light. At 1.78kg it's positively feathery for a 14-inch laptop, despite the six-cell battery lurking round the back. Sling the X420 in a bag and you'll barely notice it, even if you're carrying it around all day.


The keyboard is well designed but doesn't feel terribly durable. The trackpad is smooth and sensitive

The optical drive has been sacrificed to keep the laptop as light as possible. The X420 comes with an external DVD-RW drive which plugs in via USB, which is useful as you get to choose whether or not you really need it, but it has to be said it's not a particularly elegant solution.

The X420 sports a 14-inch LED 1,366x768-pixel resolution display, which was certainly easy on the eyes. The horizontal viewing angle is reasonably good, and means you don't have to be looking at the screen dead-on to see what's happening. While the display is sharp and bright, it does tend to look slightly drained of colour. When viewing an array of test photos and video footage it looked a little washed-out, and not as vibrant as we'd have liked.

Buried deep within the X420's nether regions is an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 CPU clocked at 1.3GHz, and backed up by 3GB of RAM. Those are middle of the road specs, which our benchmark tests reflected. The X420 achieved a score of 3,186 in PCMark05, and 853 when we ran 3DMark06 -- respectable but not particularly exciting scores.

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