The Samsung X460 is a 14.1in thin-and-light all-purpose notebook that's perfectly road-ready.

The Samsung X460 is basically a Samsung X360 with upgraded parts (a slightly larger screen and a discrete GPU). It's even smartly priced considering what's on the table.

Just under a grand buys you solid performance in the form of a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 CPU, 3GB of RAM, and a discrete GPU. Although the Samsung X460's GPU is no powerhouse - it's a 256MB nVidia GeForce 9200M GS - it certainly gives you better graphics performance than many thin-and-light machines.

In games, the Samsung X460 could handle only 49 frames per second in Doom 3 (at 1024 by 768 resolution) and 70fps in Far Cry. Numbers like those make me wish Samsung had followed the route of the new MacBooks, which sport the GeForce 9400M GS chips. At least that way you could play a game that came out in the past two years.

The Samsung X460's processing power and battery life shine a bit more brightly; in our WorldBench 6 speed tests, it hit a very respectable 93, while its battery ran for a nice, long 4.5-hour stretch.

As we've already said, the Samsung X460 is an all-purpose machine - but it comes close to qualifying as an ultraportable, measuring 330x245.7x21.2/32.2mm and weighing just 1.9kg with the battery. The case is expertly built and ready to travel. It even houses an optical drive.

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The Samsung X460 also squeezes in a lot of ports. On the video front, it fits VGA and HDMI. For connectivity, you have an ethernet jack, a modem, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Around the sides: three USB ports, a five-in-one flash card reader, a PC Express card slot, and headphone/mic jacks. Throw in the 1.3Mp webcam and a fingerprint reader, and you're getting a pretty robust package.

The 14.1-inch-diagonal backlit LED screen on the Samsung X460 is amazingly bright. Good and colourful, without blasting out saturation, the screen is extremely easy on the eyes. In fact, you can see the display in just about any lighting condition, outdoors or in.

Even intentionally aiming the panel at direct sunlight doesn't beam the brightness back into your face. As for the 1280-by-800-pixel resolution, we could wish that it was capable of going higher, but the truth is, you won't go counting numbers here, since the Samsung X460's image quality is so good.

Taking a note from Apple - and Sony before it - Samsung opts for a cutout keyboard. That is, the Samsung X460's keys pop out through holes in the case. This design makes for a more solid feel and creates a nice amount of spacing between the keys. But the real question is, does typing on this keyboard feel good? Yes. With its solid, tactile feedback, you can register every key press. The keys don't offer much of a textured touch, but they don't feel flimsy.

You won't find any superfluous multimedia shortcut keys. Extra tasks are handled by pressing the Function button and one of the F-row keys. (That's the only way you can toggle the number and caps lock.) The sole dedicated buttons are a shortcut to the Samsung MagicDoctor utility (basically a quick-fix finder for problems on the PC) and a speed-boost shortcut key (really a quick toggle between basic power-saving settings and full speed). As for the Samsung X460's mousepad, it's pleasantly sensitive, and the two buttons are both well-spaced and solid to the touch.

The sound is surprisingly big considering its miniscule source. Not that you'll go using this machine as some nerdy boombox, but sitting in an outdoor area with a lot of ambient noise, we were still able to clearly hear the stylings of Beardyman without missing a beat(box). Of course, it's a little hollow because it lacks a proper subwoofer, but the mids and highs do an ample job. The Samsung X460's volume can be turned up enough that you won't always need headphones.

People who loathe preinstalled bloatware will love the scarcity of software here. But it's not completely barren. Our Samsung X460 came with Samsung's one-step diagnostic and system recovery application, which can help fix things that could go wrong with installs and get you back to a factory-fresh state. You can also perform a quick reinstall of important Windows files, while keeping your data intact. (Wait a sec - a fast restore that takes only 2 to 3 minutes to work? Sign me up!) The other program on board is the OmniPass security software, made to work in tandem with the built-in biometrics.

Samsung X460: Specs

  • Intel Centrino 2 P8400 2.26GHz
  • 3GB DDR3 RAM
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 250GB SATA hard drive
  • 14.1in WXGA (1280 x 800) SuperBright Gloss LED Display
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9200M GS, 256MB DDR3
  • 3W Stereo Speakers
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • DVD Super Multi Dual Layer / 5x DVD-RAM, 8x DVD±R 2.4x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD±RW, 24x CD-R, 16x CD-RW, 8x DVD, 24x CD
  • 802.11a/b/g/n, ethernet, Bluetooth, VGA, HDMI, audio in/out, USB x3, 7 in 1 Card Reader (MS, MS Pro, SD, SDHC, MMC, MMC plus, xD)
  • 330x245.7x21.2/32.2mm
  • 1.9kg
  • 1-year warranty
  • Intel Centrino 2 P8400 2.26GHz
  • 3GB DDR3 RAM
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 250GB SATA hard drive
  • 14.1in WXGA (1280 x 800) SuperBright Gloss LED Display
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9200M GS, 256MB DDR3
  • 3W Stereo Speakers
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • DVD Super Multi Dual Layer / 5x DVD-RAM, 8x DVD±R 2.4x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD±RW, 24x CD-R, 16x CD-RW, 8x DVD, 24x CD
  • 802.11a/b/g/n, ethernet, Bluetooth, VGA, HDMI, audio in/out, USB x3, 7 in 1 Card Reader (MS, MS Pro, SD, SDHC, MMC, MMC plus, xD)
  • 330x245.7x21.2/32.2mm
  • 1.9kg
  • 1-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

We're pretty impressed with the Samsung X460. Oh, sure, we have a couple of quibbles about choices such as the discrete but low-end GPU (obviously a cost-cutting measure), but that doesn't stop us from recommending this machine. It's a little outside the range of our definition of an ultraportable laptop (which includes a screen smaller than 13.3in diagonally), but this is a great thin-and-light choice, regardless.

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