Road warriors have a new object of desire to drool over. The Samsung X460 arrived in our office today, and it has virtually everything business travelers and corridor warriors could ask for. Weighing in at only 4.2 pounds, the X460 is one of the thinnest and lightest notebooks on the planet with a 14.1-inch screen. (Only the Panasonic Toughbook F8 is lighter at 3.8 pounds, but it’s nowhere near as affordable–or fashionable.) The X460 is basically the 13-inch Samsung X360 with a bigger display, built-in optical drive, and discrete graphics–and a more affordable price tag due to the lack of a solid state drive option. In other words, it’s the notebook I’d rather carry. For $1,700 you get: Specs
Executive-Chic Design, Comfy Keyboard That’s a well-rounded feature set for the money, especially since the X460 is so easy to tote. The depth is from 0.8 inches up to 1.25 inches at its thickest point–and we could easily slip this in our backpack or tuck it under our arm on a way to a meeting. Overall, the design is very attractive, and we like the red brushed aluminum panel on the lid. There’s a bit too much black glossiness going on (keep a polishing cloth handy) but the X460 feels solid, thanks to its magnesium alloy frame. We also like the isolated keyboard. Reminiscent of the isolated keyboard layout on the MacBook Air and VAIO Z series, the keys are large and have very good tactile feedback. Ultra-Bright Display and Discrete Graphics Another plus is the 14.1-inch display, which is LED-backlit. Pumping out 300 nits, we found the panel so bright that it overpowered the included wallpaper and we had to change it. Viewing angles are great from side to side but a bit too narrow vertically for our taste. In early early tests the Nvidia GeForce 9200M graphics chip delivers about twice the performance as a thin-and-light notebook with Intel’s integrated graphics. That means you should expect smooth video playback and enough oomph for photo and video editing, as well as light gaming. The speakers were surprisingly loud in our tests, despite their small size. Fast Boot Time (Yes, with Vista) The impatient will appreciate the relatively fast boot time on the X460. We had complete control of the desktop after about 45 seconds, 15 seconds faster than average. Part of the credit goes to the lack of bloatware on this system. Samsung includes some of its own utilities for things like recovery and regular maintenance, but keeps third-party programs to a minimum (like trial versions of McAfee and Office). Easy Upgrading For those who like to upgrade their systems, Samsung makes it simple by clearly marking panels on the back of the X460 for the memory and hard drive. You’ll also find a battery indicator button on the back that when pressed tells you what percentage of juice you have left. Battery and Docking The rated battery life is 6 hours, but we’ll have to see how much endurance you’ll get in the real world. Samsung offers a 9-cell battery that will provide even more runtime, but it costs a whopping $229. One upgrade business users will likely want to splurge for is the P Dock, which fits the docking connector on the bottom of the X460. In addition to five extra USB ports, this dock adds connectivity for eSATA devices and a DVI port, as well as old-school ports like serial and PS/2. What’s Missing Although the X405 isn’t really lacking in the features department, it is missing some things that other premium notebooks have. For example, many business portables have integrated mobile broadband (at least as an option). However, it’s easy to add a plug-in modem to the ExpressCard slot. The lack of Firewire may irk some but we could care less, since most camcorders now have USB connectivity. A Blu-ray drive option is also off the table, which would be a nice-to-have feature to complement the HDMI output. Outlook If you like the idea of an ultraportable but you want an optical drive and larger display than the typical 13-incher without adding much weight, the X460 looks like a winner. Stay tuned for our full review.