Samsung M40 Plus review

£1387
Price when reviewed

If we’d required only stylish laptops this month, the Samsung would win hands down. What’s more, it packs a hefty punch where 2D application performance is concerned and is even relatively portable.

Samsung M40 Plus review

The silver casing is made from rugged plastic and brushed metal, but both are so sturdy and light that it’s difficult to tell which is which. Opening the M40 up, you’re greeted with yet more classy design. The minimalist theme oozes chic and there were plenty of approving noises from all of the Labs team.

The keyboard is comfortable to use and there are no gripes with the touchpad. A directional button offers hotkey functions, such as turning the 802.11g radio on and off and launching your email client. Connectivity options are never going to match the chunkier competitors, as the chassis is only 35mm thick, but there are still three USB 2 ports, VGA and S-Video outputs, plus a PC Card slot.

The optical drive offers 8x DVD writing, but not dual-layer burning. We’re bigger fans of the 17in TFT, which is bright and evenly lit. The 1,440 x 900 resolution is lower than some, but still enough, and viewing angles are adequate.

With a light-use battery life of over three hours, an intensive-use life of 87 minutes and a weight of 3kg, the M40 even gives the IBM a run for its money in the portability stakes while still offering enough Desktop real- estate to be a genuine desktop replacement.

In our sound tests, the M40 Plus registered just 30dBA, which makes it the second-quietest notebook on test – a factor that could sway your decision towards the Samsung. Only the Sony was noticeably quieter.

Powering the machine is a 1.8GHz Pentium M processor, which is flanked by 512MB of RAM – unfortunately spread over both SODIMM sockets, limiting upgrade potential. The hard disk is one of Samsung’s own 5,400rpm 80GB units, and it all combined to give an impressive 2D score of 1.80.

But, as with MV’s Sirius, the notebook won’t fully replace your desktop PC. The ATi Radeon Mobility 9700 chip only managed 8fps in Half-Life 2 and 9fps in Far Cry. If gaming is important, look elsewhere.

That said, the Samsung remains one of the more desirable notebooks on test. At this price, though, it has to play second fiddle to the cheaper, more powerful Dell. But, if the Inspiron’s extra weight is going to cause problems, the M40 is a fine buy. Just bear in mind the short return-to-base warranty.

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