Samsung X05 XTC 1500

Samsung X05 XTC 1500

Summary: This is an excellent notebook. If anything, the cheaper XTC 1400 model offers even better value, but in either case you get plenty for your money.

SHARE:
14
  • Editors' rating:
    7.7
  • User rating:
    8.5
  • RRP:
    £1,399.00

Pros

  • Slim and lightweight
  • good battery life
  • usable keyboard
  • good specification
  • good price.

Cons

  • Screen illumination is a bit dim
  • poor 3D graphics performance
  • no floppy drive included.

These days Samsung has enough notebooks in its range for things to get confusing, but if you think of the X05 series as being the slightly more affordable alternative to the full-spec X10 systems, you won’t be far off the mark. This isn’t to say that the X05 has been cut down mercilessly to fit a budget. Our review sample came with a 1.5GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of PC2100 DDR memory, a 40GB hard disk, a DVD/CD-RW combo drive and a Centrino motherboard with built-in 802.11b wireless networking, which covers most of the bases.

In fact you don’t even have to settle for that if you don’t really want to: the XTC 1400 model has a 1.4GHz processor, 256MB of DDR SDRAM and a 30GB hard disk, and comes in at £1,099 rather than £1,399 (ex. VAT). Either way, Samsung is clearly after the middle market here -- meaning anyone with an ordinary range of requirements (Word, Excel, IE and their brethren), and a realistic amount of money to spend.

Design & features
It’s obvious from the outset that this is a Centrino notebook. The case is very slim and light, since the cool-running Pentium-M doesn’t need as much in the way of fans and heat-sinks as previous notebook CPUs. It’s also less power hungry, which seems to have prompted Samsung to offer two battery options with the X05. Ours came with the larger 6-cell, 4,400mAh Li-ion battery, but you can have a lighter and smaller 3-cell pack if you prefer. The bigger battery should deliver about 3.5 hours of continuous light use, so we’d expect something like 2 hours or a little under from the smaller battery. The 6-cell pack projects about 2cm from the back of the unit, and although it’s fairly firmly mounted in the case there’s no getting around the fact that anything that sticks out is a knock magnet and a potential weak spot, especially if the machine is ever dropped. The lid, we were pleased to see, is made of alloy, although the rest of the case is plastic. It’s so slim -- 2.7cm closed -- and lightweight that a certain insubstantiality is inevitable, but this is probably a price worth paying for the pleasantly portable 2kg carrying weight. You don’t get a notebook’s size and weight down this low without the odd sacrifice, and as usual, the floppy drive got the elbow. You don’t get one in the basic package, but Samsung sells an external USB unit for a modest enough £32 extra. Most of the standard array of ports has gone by the board too, leaving only two USB connectors, a VGA port, an S-video TV output and a FireWire port. You also get a Type II PC Card slot and an almost invisible 3-in-1 slot that can take Memory Stick, MMC and SD cards. Sensibly, Samsung makes a USB port replicator for the X05, which adds all the conventional ports to your repertoire, and which will set you back a further £89. As the X05 is a Centrino system, the internal 56Kbps modem and 10/100 Ethernet adapter are augmented by 802.11b wireless networking on a Mini-PCI card. This is an important part of the Centrino design, as it allows you to upgrade relatively painlessly to faster standards as they emerge. We got on reasonably well with the keyboard, which retains much of the key sizing conventions you’d find on a standard PC keyboard. The general layout is logical, and although the keypad is compact, it isn’t crowded, so typing speed does not suffer. The touchpad worked properly, and some thoughtful soul has seen fit to add a vertical scroll wheel which is always a welcome feature. The screen serves up a standard 1,024 by 768 resolution on a 14.1in. diagonal, and we certainly had no complaints about that. The image was a little on the dull side though, even with the brightness cranked right up, and if you are in a sunny corner, you may find the screen becomes difficult to read.

Performance & battery life
Unlike the more expensive X10 series, the X05 relies on Intel’s Extreme Graphics 2 accelerator, which forms a part of the 855GM chipset. EG2 uses a shared memory architecture, which helps keep the price down, but it isn’t in the same league performance-wise as the Nvidia GeForce 440 Go that you get in the X10. That said, it coped fine in 2D and it at least does 3D -- although judging from its 3DMark 2001 score of 1,858, the X05 is best considered a mainly 2D business platform. Centrino notebooks can be very fast, as the Pentium M with its 1MB of on-die cache is no slouch, and the X05 has 512MB of DDR memory and a reasonably fast hard disk into the bargain. The result was a commendable overall Business Winstone 2001 score of 55.2 and an equally impressive 36 in the Content Creation 2002 benchmark. As far as Windows and business applications are concerned, the X05 most definitely cuts the mustard. With the exception of Norton AntiVirus and a few utilities (including Nero Burning ROM 5.5, which is worth having despite the daft name), you have to buy your own software. Although a copy of Office XP would have been nice, we were still happy enough with the 1 year European-wide warranty (major cities, 72-hour turnaround target). In fact, we were happy with the whole X05 package: with a bit of help from Intel and Centrino, Samsung has come up with a very nice, well designed and fast business notebook that ought to fly off the shelves.

Specifications

General
Dimensions (W x H x D) 31.6x2.7x27.8 cm
Weight 2.05 kg
OS & software
Operating system Windows XP Professional
Software included Norton AntiVirus, Nero Burning Rom 5.5, Cyberlink PowerDVD, MGI VideoStudio/PhotoSuite
Chipset & memory
Chipset Intel 855GM
RAM installed 512 MB
Number of memory slots 2
RAM capacity 1 GB
Storage
Storage controller Ultra-ATA/100
Video
VGA (analogue) 1
Video out S-Video
GPU Intel Extreme Graphics 2
Graphics RAM 96 MB
GPU type Dynamic Video Memory Technology 2
Display
Display technology colour TFT
Display size 14.1 in
Native resolution 1024x768 pixels
Connections
USB 2
FireWire (IEEE 1394) 1
Docking station port no
PC Card 1 x Type II
Flash card SD/MMC, Memory Stick
Networking
Ethernet 10/100Base-TX
Modem 56Kbps
Wireless
Wi-Fi Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Mini-PCI card
Input
Pointing devices two-button touchpad with vertical scroll wheel
Keyboard 85 keys
Audio
Audio connectors microphone, headphone, optical SP/DIF 5.1 output
Speakers stereo
Audio processor SigmaTel C-Major AC'97
Microphone yes
Miscellaneous
Accessories 3-cell weight-saver battery (£49), 6-cell (£99), USB port replicator (£89), external USB floppy drive (£32)
Service & support
Standard warranty 1 year
Service & support details collect and return European cover
Battery
Battery technology Li-ion
Battery capacity 4400 mAh
Hard drive
Rotation speed 4200 rpm
Hard drive interface Ultra ATA/100
Hard drive capacity 40 GB
Optical storage
CD / DVD type CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo
Processor & memory
Clock speed 1.5 GHz
Processor manufacturer Intel
Processor model Pentium M
Expand

Prices

There are currently no prices available for this product.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Reviews

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

14 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • 6.5

    Everything is good except the battery life. The standard battery won't last more than 1 hour 40 minutes. The extended battery doubles the life, but it also means the battery pack will physically extend from the back of the notebook. You need to handle it with extra care and it looks weird as well.
    anonymous
  • 7.0

    anonymous
  • 8.5

    I got this laptop, and I'm very happy with it, although it hasn't got a floppy drive and there's no parallel port for printers etc.

    Apart from that. I LOVE THIS LAPTOP!
    anonymous
  • 9.0

    I have had this laptop for several months and have been very happy with it. It is very light, great looking, reliable and has good battery life.
    anonymous
  • 9.0

    Not had to deal with support yet. TFT screen picks up blemishes easily, but nothing that can't be wiped away with special wipes.
    anonymous
  • 9.5

    One of the most feature packed speedy laptops on sale, considering how incredibly thin and light it is. I own the X05 version and am more than happy! The only sour point is the standard battery lasting 2 hours, but it is after all a 3 cell to save weight - for 99 pound there is a 4 1/2 hour 6 cell available and 120 gets you the new 8 cell 7 hour battery!! I dont need these for another few months so 2 hours is fine for wireless internet at home..

    EVERYTHING is fast on this laptop, previously owning a thinkpad 600e for a few years i can say quality is on a par with that world leader and style is a million times better ITS GORGEOUS. Oh and even the intel extreme II graphics handle 3d intensive things with relative ease (e.g. simcity 4 etc)

    Overall a very high value laptop, VERY light, highly stylish and fast. only sour point is solved with a small investment in a larger battery later on, but the 3 cell it comes with is as thin as a ruler so you cant have everything!!
    anonymous
  • 10.0

    I was on the verge of buying Sony's V505CP VAIO Notebook, when I glanced over and saw this awesome, brushed aluminium, thin notebook. I immediately presumed it had no internal drives because it was too thin to ever hold anything other than a basic notebook. BOY, WAS I WRONG!!

    I decided not to purchase anything but instead came home and compared prices and specs. Long story short, it has everything you could ever want in a laptop including Sony's Memory Stick media (which was the reason I originally wanted a Sony machine). Someone on this site said it doesn't have a floppy drive!! Which good & modern laptops do? A USB floppy drive is cheap and convenient. The X05 is super fast, quiet, light, stylish, reliable and I say Samsung deserves more credit & exposure for this magnificent product.

    I got PC World to price match to Micro Anvika and got it for £1099.98 inc. VAT and it is THE VERY BEST LAPTOP I HAVE EVER USED!
    anonymous
  • 10.0

    I have been using Dell Inspiron and Latitude products for the past 6 years. When the inevitable loss of productivity due to processing speed crept in I started to look around. A friend had X10 which he had bought for £1,550. I really did not want to spend that much so did a little research and concluded the x05 had everything the X10 had except for 3D performance and finger print lock; a great spec, just as light etc. and would run all the office, photo and occasional video editing applications I need to use. I found a 3 month old unit with 768MB RAM for £600 and snapped it up. The unit is visibily indistinguishable from new, the performance cannot be faulted, quiet in operation, 4 hour battery 2 hour charge CD-RW...

    I could not find the MAC address of the Centrino wireless chip so made a call to Samsung Support. Enquiry was answered efficiently and politely and a few days afterward they called to check the issue had been resolved.

    If you are in the market for a light, high performance notebook with a usable size screen, great set of feature look no further.
    anonymous
  • 6.0

    The X05 is a great laptop, but what I didn't know when buying it is that if you buy from Dixons you lose the manufacturer's warranty (this might include PC World and Currys?).

    This I found out to my cost when I needed a new battery - I had to send the whole system back for 2 weeks. Be warned!

    2 hours MAX from the standard battery BTW.
    anonymous
  • 7.5

    After a lot of comparisions and debating what I should get, I settled upon the X05 ultra.

    Although comparable products from Compaq and Dell were cheaper, the size and weight of the X05 was the selling point for me.

    I don't need a desktop replacement. I don't need a floppy drive. I don't need the sore shoulder from carrying it around.

    I do need light weight and a decent size. Also, the Samsung came with the extra 6-cell pack bundled in the package along with a 3-year warranty. I would have had to pay for that extra 2 years with the Compaq or Dell.

    Been happy with the performance so far. There is one spot underneath that gets quite hot, but aside from that it runs pretty cool. Battery performance is good -- I have never felt the need to change from the 3-cell to the 6-cell one yet. 1.5 hrs from the 3 cell and 3.5 from the 6 cell ain't too bad at all.

    On the wishlist, however, would be an IrDA port at least, if not Bluetooth. It's a pain attaching a USB IrDA everytime. I'm not sure why they left this out, but it's really the only thing I miss.
    anonymous
  • 10.0

    i have this laptop and nothing has gone rong so far, it's quick and sufficient.
    anonymous
  • 9.0

    Ive had several laptops in the past and have paid much much more for much less.

    I got the system to use for work; I'm an IT Consultant, so I'm not bothered with blasting things and optimum 3D performance.

    Laptop came with a free Digimax202 camera which while only 2MB is fine for snaps.

    I really can't fault this little machine. If you need a workhorse notebook which has good battery life, is light and looks good to you can't go wrong with the X05.
    anonymous
  • 8.0

    I settled on this laptop a year or two ago because of its larger than average keyboard; which is great if you write a lot, as I do. Good performance for a good price.
    anonymous
  • 8.5

    anonymous