X10 Centrino 9/10.
Date Posted 29/05/2003.
Samsung has been making notebooks for a while now, but it still
is not as well known in this area as Toshiba and Sony. This notebook
attempts to change the balance. Styled slightly like Sony's new
Z1SP Centrino notebook, it looks quite impressive, (but maybe not
quite as cool as the Sony!). Built around the new Pentium-M processor,
models come in 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 GHz. I tested out the 1.5 GHz processor.
Although 1.5 GHz might sound "slow", the idea of the Pentium-M
is that to save power it has a lower clock speed, but in each cycle
it does more. As a result the 1.5 GHz is comparable to an ordinary
Pentium 4 2.5 GHz. The screen is 14.1 inchs and is reasonably good,
but not quite as good as some of Samsung's desktop LCDs. At only
1.8 Kg, I could lift the machine with one hand. In terms of size,
the 14.1 inch screen ensures the footprint is not very small. However
in terms of thickness, it is probably the thinnest notebook I have
ever seen (it even has a DVD/CD-RW). It is in fact lighter than
NEC's Versa Centrino subnotebook with 12.1 inch screen and without
The Samsung sports an Intel mini PCI 802.11b wireless network adapter,
designed to preserve battery life. As such it can claim to be a
"Centrino" machine. It has all the other standard features,
like 10/100 wired ethernet, 56K modem, S-Video out, a mini Firewire
port and also USB2 ports. It has a touchpad as well. Something very
unusual is the addition of a fingerprint sensor. In my experience
it proved quite reliable (only sometimes requiring a rescan of a
finger). Software included allows you to encrypt files (and only
decrypt them with a correct fingerprint). I'm not sure how useful
most users will find the fingerprint sensor, but it does remove
the need to learn long passwords.
terms of battery life, I found I could squeeze 1.5 - 2 hours out
of the machine (and that is with the wireless network on). The wireless
network can be turned on and off by a button just below the screen.
If you use the extended life battery, Samsung claim you can get
4 hours battery life (however I did not have this battery to verify
notebook is fast, light, thin and a great choice. At around 1700
pounds though, it isn't the cheapest notebook (although it does
undercut Sony's Z1SP Centrino notebook) so those on a budget might
want to look elsewhere. I have used the notebook for around a month,
so I cannot comment on long-term reliability compared to Toshiba
or Sony notebooks. That factor is of course very important for corporate