Samsung N510 review

The Atom and Ion netbook combination is a success, and this is a solid, though dear, first attempt

5
Price when reviewed 
382

Page 1 of 2 Samsung N510 review

Netbooks might have been the big, or rather the endearingly tiny, new thing on the laptop scene for a time, but the initial excitement has all but evaporated. Now, with the Samsung N510, the company is seeking to reignite the passions of consumers by pairing Intel's Atom with Nvidia's much-touted Ion chipset.

The N510 doesn't impress right away, however, with a physique that's inoffensive rather than drop-dead gorgeous. But, resembling as it does the offspring of Samsung's NC10 and N110 netbooks, the N510 is certainly no ugly duckling. Blending a curvy, slimline physique with a silver strip that arcs around the edges, it's only once you set it against the sharply-tailored likes of the Asus Eee PC 1101HA that it begins to look ordinary.

Samsung N510 rear

But, underneath that Clark Kent exterior lays a superpower in the world of netbooks. We're not talking about the same old 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280 processor, the gigabyte of memory, nor the 160GB hard disk, but rather the presence of Nvidia's Ion LE graphics chipset.

Before you get too excited, be aware that Nvidia's Ion LE is no miracle worker. It does, however, add gaming capabilities where there were previously next to none. It won't turn an Atom-powered netbook into a gaming behemoth capable of taking on the likes of Crysis - but, nevertheless, the Samsung manfully struggled to an average of 17fps at 1,024 x 768 and the lowest detail settings in Crysis.

Fire up the likes of Trackmania Nations Forever and the N510 is in its element. Even at the 11.6in display's native resolution of 1,366 x 768, the Ion LE helped the Samsung along to a smooth 27.1fps.

And, more importantly, there's even enough poke to decode 1080p video. Install a media player that supports hardware acceleration - such as the free Media Player Classic Home Cinema - and in addition to enjoying high-definition files on the 11.6in display, you can also hook the N510 up to a large-screen HDTV or projector courtesy of the HDMI port on its left-hand edge.

The one stumbling block at the moment is the lack of acceleration for high definition YouTube and iPlayer video, although we hope that will be rectified soon.

Page 1 of 2 Samsung N510 review

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions289 x 200 x 31mm (WDH)
Weight1.410kg
Travelling weight1.7kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N280
Motherboard chipsetNvidia nForce 730i
RAM capacity1.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size11.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetNvidia ION LE
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity160GB
Hard disk usable capacity149GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/150
Hard diskSamsung HM160HI
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A
Battery capacity5,900mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseyes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 30min
Battery life, heavy use3hr 44min
Overall application benchmark score0.42
Office application benchmark score0.54
2D graphics application benchmark score0.35
Encoding application benchmark score0.38
Multitasking application benchmark score0.42
3D performance (crysis) low settings17fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows XP Home
OS familyWindows XP
Recovery methodRecovery partition

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