Samsung X50 HWM 760

  • Editors' rating
    7.7 Very good

Pros

  • Superb screen
  • good-sized hard drive
  • pre-boot OS gives access to multimedia features

Cons

  • Too large to carry very far
  • speaker output is below par

We've already examined one of Samsung’s X series of 'thin and light' notebooks, in the shape of the mid-range £1,020 (ex. VAT) X20 HVM 740, back in June. The X50 HWM 760 sits at the top of the X series range, and is consequently a more expensive machine costing £1,361 (ex. VAT).

Design

The X50 HWM 760 is the largest model in the range, although it's still relatively thin at 2.8-3.1cm and weighs a moderate 2.41kg. The X50's 35.7cm by 26.7cm footprint will take up a fair amount of desk space, but the build quality is sturdy.

The good news is that there's plenty of room for ports and slots, a good-sized keyboard, and an absolutely superb widescreen-format display. The screen, which uses Samsung’s SuperBright TFT technology, measures 15.4in. across the diagonal, and has a native resolution of 1,680 by 1,050 pixels (WSXGA+). There is certainly no problem having more than one document open at once.

The keyboard is large and the keys feel very responsive, giving the kind of springy return that makes typing feel effortless. Touch typing at speed was no problem at all. The touchpad sits in a shallow recess, making it easy to find by touch alone, while its right side incorporates a vertical scroll control that's handy for use when reading large documents or scrolling long Web pages. The left and right mouse buttons are large and responsive, but the high resolution of the screen means you have to work rather hard to move the cursor from one side to the other.

Between the two mouse buttons sits a scanner for the integrated fingerprint recognition system. You can use fingerprint scans as surrogates for passwords -- gain access to secure email systems and Web sites, for example.

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When it comes to connectivity, the options are scattered around all four edges of the X50. On the front are headphone and microphone connectors, along with a slot that accepts SD cards and Memory Sticks. The right edge houses a DVD/CD-RW drive and a pair of USB 2.0 connectors. On the left edge sit the Ethernet (RJ-45) and modem (RJ-11) connectors, PC Card slot, VGA connector and a single IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port. Finally, at the back there's a third USB connector, a TV-out port and an S/PDIF digital audio jack.

The overall finish of the X50 HWM 760 is very tidy: it has a mostly silver livery with a black flash on the front of the lid, and shouldn’t look out of place in either home or office.

Features

The Samsung X50 HWM 760 is powered by Intel’s 2GHz Pentium M 760 processor supported by 512MB of RAM, expandable to 2GB. Wireless networking comes courtesy of Intel's PRO/Wireless 2951, which supports dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11a/b/g connectivity. Bluetooth is also built in, while wired connectivity is handled by a Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet module. As befits a top-of-the-range model, the X50 has discrete rather than integrated graphics, in the shape of ATI’s Mobility Radeon X600 with 128MB of memory. The hard drive is a 5,400rpm 80GB unit.

This notebook, like the X20, can function as a multimedia centre without the main PC being switched on. When the system is turned off, you can tap a button on the bank of four that sits above the keyboard and the X50 boots into its AVStation mode, which allows you to access music, movies and images stored on optical drives -- or, indeed, the X50’s hard drive. It did not want to show pictures stored on the SD card that we inserted in the card reader, though.

Video output was clear and sharp, but the twin stereo speakers on the front left and right of the system delivered somewhat tinny output that lacked both volume and depth. Also, the standard of English used by the AVStation Now software was not particularly high.

Performance & battery life

You should expect to pay handsomely for a well-designed top-of-the range notebook with built-in biometrics, a large hard drive and a widescreen 15.4in display -- and if you choose the X50 HWM 760, you will. However, you do get a very competent notebook for your £1,361 (ex. VAT).

Unfortunately the X50 HWM 760 refused to run our MobileMark 2002 benchmarks, so we can’t report any performance and battery life scores for this notebook. For the record, Samsung claims up to 4.5 hours' life with the standard battery and 6 hours with the optional extended-life battery fitted.

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Platform Technology Intel Centrino
System Type Notebook
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Pentium M 760 / 2 GHz
Cache L2 - 2 MB
Chipset Type Mobile Intel 915PM Express
Features power-optimized processor system bus
Cache Memory
Type L2 cache
Memory
Technology DDR2 SDRAM
Speed 400 MHz / PC2-3200
Storage
Optical Drive DVD-RW / DVD-RAM
Type none
Read Speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD)
Write Speed 16x (CD) / 2x (DVD-R)
Rewrite Speed 8x (CD) / 2x (DVD-RW) / 2x (DVD-RAM)
Type portable
RAM
Memory Specification Compliance PC2-3200
Technology DDR2 SDRAM
Display
Widescreen Display Yes
Display Resolution Abbreviation WSXGA+
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor PCI Express - ATI Mobility Radeon X600 - 128 MB
Sound Stereo speakers
Hard Drive
Type HDD
Input
Type touchpad
Communications
Wireless Protocol Bluetooth
Wireless Controller Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG
Wired Protocol Gigabit Ethernet
Processor
CPU Type Pentium M
Processor Number 760
Manufacturer Intel
Optical Storage
Drive Type DVD-Writer
Type DVD-RW / DVD-RAM
Floppy Drive
Type none
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory Memory Stick PRO
Battery
Technology lithium ion
Connections & Expansion
Slots Memory
Interfaces 3 x USB 2.0 - 4 PIN USB Type A
1 x headphones - output - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
1 x microphone - input - mini-phone 3.5mm
1 x audio - SPDIF output
1 x display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15)
1 x display / video - S-video output
1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) - 6 PIN FireWire
1 x modem - phone line - RJ-11
1 x network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-TX - RJ-45
1 x docking / port replicator
Memory Card Reader Yes ( SD Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO )
Header
Brand Samsung
Product Line Samsung X50
Model HWM 760
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Networking
Data Link Protocol IEEE 802.11b
Wireless LAN Supported Yes
Wireless NIC Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG
System
Platform Technology Intel Centrino
Notebook Type notebook
Security Devices fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous
Security Fingerprint reader
Graphics Controller
Interface Type PCI Express
Audio Output
Compliant Standards AC '97
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 1 year warranty
Mainboard
Chipset Type Mobile Intel 915PM Express
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Type Norton AntiVirus
Video Output
Graphics Processor ATI Mobility Radeon X600
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Location pick-up and return
Full Contract Period 1 year

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