CeBIT 2007: Review Samsung M60 Notebook
17 inch Flounder. Samsung is proud of building the smallest, flattest, and lightest notebooks - and rightly so. But even the challenge of designing a 17 inch notebook with adequate performance, does not means for Samsung to put the parts into a 5 cm case. On the contrary, the M60 by Samsung teaches us that also big DTR notebooks might have an elegant appearance.
This review is a summary of tests done on-site. We ask for some understanding that some of the measurements could, therefore, not be done.
As already mentioned in the intro, the Samsung M60 is dominated by an absolutely flat and geometric design. All attempts to detect curves, or arched lines are in vain.
The notebook is colored silver and black, and appears thus very elegant. The display frame, which appears to be very thin, pleases the eyes, also, because it lets the 17 inch panel appear even bigger.
It seems that the used materials are mainly plastics, which, nevertheless, have high-quality haptics. The pressure resistance of the base unit is at the top side as well as at the bottom side rather moderate. Partly, you can detect clear deflections under pressure.
The flexural rigidity could also be better. Clear creaking noises and deformations of the case can be observed, especially if you lift the notebook at its front edge. In this regard a slim case is a clear disadvantage.
The sufficient big display hinges appear to be alright. However, you can observe a slight see-saw, if you adapt the display position. Considering the dimensions of the display, especially its height, the pressure resistance of the display cover can be looked upon favorably. It seems that it is out of magnesium, and that is capable to absorb applied stresses and forces astonishing well.
However, we were somewhat disappointed by the huge number of smaller problems in the fields of joints, gaps and color changes. E.g, we detected uneven plastic seams and sloppily coated surfaces. We hope that these smaller, but yet unaesthetic details are going to be correct until product launch.
The interfaces are mainly at both sides near the back, as well as at the back side of the notebook. The M60 also provides you with a HDMI port. The audio ports are at the front, which is somewhat unusual considering it is a 17 inch notebook.
The also geometrically designed keyboard of the M60, is tightly attached to the case and is characterized by a comfortable keystroke. Unfortunately, it seems dense and its enter key only extends over one row. Considering the size of the notebook, this is rather astonishing. Furthermore, we noticed a FN key which is totally at the left edge. So, some users might need some time to get used to it.
The design of the touch pad goes well with the design of the M60, and provides a surface which is rather comfortable in use. Regarding response and precisions we did not notice any anomalies.
The 17 inch display pleases by a high resolution of 1920x1200 pixel. However, it has a reflecting surface and is only moderately bright.
Horizontally, the stability to the vantage point of the display is limited by reflections at very acute angles. However, the area of operation is horizontally and vertically adequate. Vertically, you can observe color changes at acute angles.
Obviously the manufacturer avoided to make a clear statement about the M60's equipment. The specification plate mentions a Core 2 Duo processor, which currently could provide a clock rate of up to 2.3 GHz (T7600).
The video chip is specified to be a Geforce 8000M with 512MB turbo cache by NVIDIA. This should be one of the upcoming video card series with DirectX 10 support.
We could also run a 3DMark 2006 benchmark test with this notebook, which only showed a poor result of 1455 points. It termed the video chip NVIDIA NB8P-SE.
It's not clear, whether this is going to be the video card the notebook will be sold with, or whether this video card was merely used for demonstration purpose. We at least hope that the performance of the M60 is improved until product launch.
The notebook gets only slightly warmer at the top side and the temperature should reach only a little more than 30°C. At the bottom side the highest temperature was reached at the left back side, however, a temperature of estimated below 40°C is yet alright.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to determine the capacity of the battery. In general, a 17 inch desktop replacement notebook with powerful hardware usually provides only a small battery runtime, even if the battery capacity is big. As a rule of thumb you can expect the maximum runtime to be between 2 to 3 hours.
Regarding design the M60 is for sure a class of its own amongst a huge number of considerably heavier and bigger 17 inch notebooks. Should the workmanship be improved and therewith some smaller weaknesses mended, the M60 would also be alright regarding this matter.
Because of the small height, it is presumably difficult to improve the pressure resistance and the flexural rigidity. Considering this notebook is more or less a desktop replacement, which is likely to be determined to be used at a desk, this should not cause any problems.
The display is alright and pleases by a high resolution. However, it would be of advantage, if an alternative to the 1920x1200 display would be offered, because such a high resolutions result in small fonts and desktop symbols, which might be too small for some users. Furthermore, we want to criticize the display's moderate brightness.
We are curious about the performance of the final versions of the M60. We hope that the new generation video cards with DirectX 10 support are capable of improving the performance. The emissions and the battery runtime will surely depend on the actual equipment.