In a world where it's often difficult to differentiate between new laptops, the Samsung M70 stands proud as the first to use a 19-inch display. Moreover, the screen is completely detachable, and is purportedly the first to support 16.7 million colour 24bit True Colour graphics. It's hard to ignore the fact that the laptop is fairly ordinary elsewhere, thanks to its moderately old components, so we were eager to see whether its innovation in one area was enough to compensate for its inadequacies in others.
The Samsung M70 is one of the largest laptops on the market, and understandably so -- it's the first to use a 19-inch screen. The entire unit is 435mm wide, which is roughly the equivalent of two phonebooks placed side by side. In other words, you'll have trouble fitting it into an ordinary-size laptop bag, and the accompanying leather carry case is conspicuous, to say the least. Ultimately, this isn't the sort of laptop you'll want to use on the train, unless you take special pleasure in making sure your fellow commuters have no room to use their own portable PCs.
To its credit, the M70 is rather stylish. Its silver and black design isn't particularly adventurous, but it exudes the high level of aesthetic elegance we've come to expect from modern Samsung products. The top of the lid is plain silver with a Samsung logo in the middle, and is most striking with the screen open.
Samsung has chosen not to give the M70's keyboard a contrasting colour, so the majority of the laptop is a sea of silver. It's hard not to notice that the sheer girth of the laptop has allowed Samsung to incorporate full size keys and a separate numerical keypad -- a feature that will be appreciated by gamers and anyone with the need to enter a large amount of numerical data.
To the left of the keyboard there are eight shortcut keys. Two are used to adjust the brightness of the screen, and two are for controlling the volume of the four integrated speakers and the bottom-facing (and ultimately laughable) subwoofer. Above these buttons there are separate keys for launching movie playback software, a picture viewer and an audio player. On top of these, there's a key for launching the 'AV Station Now' mode -- a media playback mode that operates outside of Windows XP.
It's impossible to talk about the M70 without mentioning its audacious 19-inch screen. Not only is it absolutely enormous, but it can also be detached from the body of the laptop and used as a standalone monitor for the M70, or indeed any other PC. The screen is connected to the keyboard section via a proprietary video port and held in place by clips on either side. To release the screen, you simply unfasten the clips (which double up as a keyboard stand) and slide it out of the keyboard section and into its 'M-Cradle'. At this point, the display looks no different to an ordinary 19-inch TFT screen. The whole process is fairly simple and can be done in about 20 seconds, with some practice.