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By Thomas McKinnon 25 November 2009

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Thin-and-light notebooks are a bit of a preference here at the office. They’re a lot more powerful than netbooks, but mange to keep an element of portability. As we’re always on our way out to some product launch or another we enjoy the thin-and-light option. We were understandably excited then to review Samsung’s X460, having just looked at the similarly speced Acer Travelmate Timeline 8471 and Lenovo\'s brilliant but pricey ThinkPad X301.

The feel

The Samsung X460 is a very smart looking notebook. Its chassis is made of a hardened, matte black plastic that feels very sturdy. It features a two-textured lid, with two-thirds of the lid covered in a black brushed aluminium plate and the other third a glossy black plastic covering, complete with embossed Samsung branding.

The device’s keyboard is minimalistic; with no dedicated media keys and all media controls enabled via the Fn key. The keyboard is well spaced and offers helpful tactile feedback, and we found the overall typing experience to be pleasant.

The notebook’s trackpad is really small, in fact too small. While we were happy to see that Samsung didn’t try to integrate the fingerprint scanner between the right and left buttons like many competitors do, we always felt cramped. The fact that multi-gesture controls on the trackpad, similar to the Acer 8471\'s, are supported only added to the obvious size issue.

The notebook weighs just 1.84 kg and has dimensions of 333 x 245.7 x 20.9 ~ 31.9 mm. This makes it one of the slightest 14.1" notebooks currently available.

Hardware

The X406 is certainly a lightweight, but it features a respectable set of components. The model we looked at is powered by a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 CPU, 3 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive and a Nvidia GeForce 9200M GS GPU. Running on a 32-bit Windows Vista Business OS we had few troubles. We ran multiple applications simultaneously, did a little work in Photoshop and even did some light gaming, all without hassle. Don’t expect to play anything graphic intensive though as it’s nowhere near powerful enough.

The notebook’s 14.1" LED display is perhaps its most impressive feature. It\'s bright and clear in most conditions. The inclusion of an optical drive also proved fortunate as we could watch movies and playback other media on the X460’s impressive display. We were a little disappointed with the sound on offer though. The X460’s tiny speakers give off a distinct tinny sound despite offering acceptable volume.

Interfaces

There is no lack of input and output options available on the X460. It features an HDMI output so you can play HD content on a larger display, three USB 2.0 inputs and a 7-in-1 card reader. Nothing excessive, just what you need.

Conclusion

It is thin, it is light and most importantly it works incredibly well. You’ll feel rather smug every time you whip it out and pop it on the table at a meeting. R16000 is a hefty price, but for bold presentation and acceptable performance you get your money’s worth. 

PROS
Its 14.1-inch LED display is excellent in most conditions and it offers an HDMI output.
CONS
Its trackpad is far too small.
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