Rating Samsung's first notebooks for the U.S.

Rating Samsung's first notebooks for the U.S.

Summary: If your holiday list includes a laptop, there's a new choice from an well-known name: Samsung. In October, Samsung announced that it was entering the U.


Samsung X360If your holiday list includes a laptop, there's a new choice from an well-known name: Samsung. In October, Samsung announced that it was entering the U.S. market with six new notebooks, as well as a netbook. The timing wasn't great. After several quarters of double-digit growth, the PC market cooled off in late September, but Samsung seems undeterred. So should you consider a Samsung system? Here's what the reviews sites have to say.

Laptop Magazine has been all over Samsung's U.S. launch, and the site just posted a review of the Samsung R610-64G, a desktop replacement with a 16-inch widescreen display. Their verdict: The R610-64G has a great design, and it is one of the lightest (6 pounds), thinnest and most inexpensive models in its class. But if you're looking for a laptop with a 16-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, you probably expect a great multimedia experience too, and with its relatively low resolution display (1,366x768), poor audio quality, weak gaming performance, and lack of either Blu-ray or dedicated media controls, the R610-64G makes too many sacrifices to get the price below $1,000. Other choices in this category include the Acer Aspire 6930G, HP HDX 16 and Sony VAIO FW series. The Aspire 6930G-6723, which Laptop Magazine also just reviewed makes for an interesting comparison because it is also priced at $999, but includes Blu-ray and better graphics.

The Samsung X series, which includes both 13.3-inch and 14.1-inch thin-and-light notebooks for business users, looks more promising. Both PC Magazine and Laptop Magazine have reviewed the 14.1-inch X460 (the other model is the X360 series). PC Magazine says the $1,700 X460-44P is a "worthy ambassador for the Samsung brand" with its "extravagant" design, light weight (4.2 pounds), integrated DVD burner, and solid performance and battery life (4 hours, 27 minutes onMobileMark 2007). The only major strike against it is the lack of any built-in mobile broadband options, though you can always use an ExpressCard or USB modem. Laptop Magazine likes it even better giving the X460-44P an Editors' Choice for its "very, very bright" LED-backlit display, thin chassis and solid performance and battery life, though they noted that the 1,280x800 display "isn't terribly sharp" and the Express Card slot is so shallow that modem cards stick out. Other models with 14.1-inch displays include the Dell Latitude E6400; HP Compaq 6500 and 6900 series; HP Pavilion dv4; Lenovo SL, R, and T series; and Sony VAIO VGN-Z590. As far as I can tell, no major site has reviewed the X360, which weighs 2.8 pounds and has an optional solid-state disk (SSD), putting it in direct competition with heavyweights such as the Apple MacBook Air and Lenovo ThinkPad X300.

The Samsung Q310 also has a 13.3-inch display, but it is more of a mainstream notebook with prices starting at $1,150. Laptop Magazine reviewed the $1,300 Q310-34P with a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400, 3GB of memory, Intel integrated graphics, a 320GB hard drive and a DVD burner. They concluded it was a "strong contender" with solid performance and battery life, thin profile and good looks, but other mainstream notebooks such as the Lenovo ThinkPad SL300 series and HP Pavilion dv3510nr offer similar or better specs at lower prices. I'd add the Lenovo IdeaPad U330 13.3-inch model, which starts at $1,200, to the list of direct competitors here.

The other new Samsung models, the P460 and P560, are both semi-ruggedized notebooks that start at $1,150. I have yet to see hands-on reviews of these models from any major site. Finally, the Samsung NC10 is a nicely-equipped netbook with 10.2-inch display, 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of memory, a 120GB hard drive and Windows XP for $500. Laptop Magazine gave the NC10 an Editors' Choice and you'll find numerous hands-on reviews on smaller reviews sites and gadget blogs.

Topics: Samsung, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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  • Wow, increadably mediocre!

    Samsung has some of the best hardware in the
    electronics biz. What were they thinking with this
    laptop? First, 16:9? And low rez? Give me a break.
    Screen real-estate on a laptop is a must. 16:10 and
    high res or forget it. Then 16" without the side
    keypad is bad too.

    They gotta do a LOT more to impress me and most other
    tech buyers.
  • RE: Rating Samsung's first notebooks for the U.S.

    I wish you could review the X360 which appears the most promising model of the lot: lighter than the MacBook Air and great autonomy!
  • RE: Rating Samsung's first notebooks for the U.S.

    Samsung's first notebooks? No. When I started my current job back in '96, the company had a whole fleet of Samsung notebooks that were less than a year old. The quality was awful, and there were no workable drivers available for Windows 95 or NT for the integrated modem or the trackball. We wasted a lot of money on RAM upgrades for notebooks that had a lot of problems (failing screens, keyboards and HDDs.) Warranty service was absolutely terrible.

    In 2002 I bought a 33" CRT Samsung TV. The CRT was replaced 3 times during the 3-year warranty period and once more for free just a few weeks after the warranty ended, which was considerate of them. That TV failed again before that year was out.

    In my opinion, Samsung is my nemesis. I'll never EVER buy anything from them again in my life, and I will do my best to steer any company purchases away from them whenever I can. Forever.
  • RE: Rating Samsung's first notebooks for the U.S.

    Samsung makes some decent stuff these days. They took the Japanese approach to TQM, and now they make top-notch stuff. They are the number one producer of several electronic components, as well as several electronic devices.

    Chances are, no matter what brand you buy, it has one, or more, Samsung manufactured component in it. Some Sony LCD TVs have Samsung LCD panels in them, some memory stick Pro Duo cards have Samsung flash memory chips in them, and open up an iPhone - you'll see "Samsung" stamped on some of the semiconducters.

    They are the number 1 manufacturer of cell phones sold in the U.S. and Canada (and several other countries), and are #2 in the world, behind Nokia.

    They are the number one electronics company, for brand recognition, globally (kicked Sony out of the top 20 a few years ago).

    They also own some universities, hospitals, ship building yards, and were contractors involved in the construction of the Petronas Towers, Taipai 101, and Burg Dubai. They are also financially involved in fashion brands like Fubu, Nine West, etc. They own an amusement park, ranked 4th in the world by Forbes magazine. They are freaking huge...
  • RE: Rating Samsung's first notebooks for the U.S.

    I think netminder works for Samsung!