Samsung SF310 review

Great design and good performance, but the SF310 is let down by a poor touchpad and an average display

4
Price when reviewed 
794

Page 1 of 2 Samsung SF310 review

Initially seen at IFA in Berlin, the first of Samsung's new laptop ranges has arrived in the PC Pro labs. The 13.3in Samsung SF310 blends Nvidia's Optimus graphics-switching technology with a slinky, new design.

Samsung has gone right back to the drawing board: gloss off-white is liberally splashed all over the lid and base, while the interior is a more sober mix of dark greys and glossy black. It's an acquired taste - reactions on PC Pro weren't universally positive - but it's good to see an attempt at a bit of pizzazz.

Grab the SF310 in both hands, though, and there's something amiss. Samsung's marketing describes it as "thin and light", but at 2.04kg and 33mm thick, it won't keep the MacBook Air awake at night. Admittedly, "reasonably thin and relatively light" doesn't quite have the same ring to it. And despite those two kilograms of heft, it just doesn't feel especially solid or well built. For this price, we'd expect a little more quality and reassurance.

Samsung SF310

Of course, there's solace to be found in the Samsung's specification. A 2.53GHz Core i5-460M processor takes pride of place alongside 4GB of DDR3 and a 320GB hard disk. The resulting score of 1.56 in our benchmarks shows the SF310 is sprightly enough.

Nvidia's Optimus technology switches the Samsung seamlessly between its discrete GeForce 310M chipset and Intel's integrated HD Graphics counterpart. Despite being far from cutting edge, the GeForce chip managed an average of 37fps in our Low detail Crisis test. It's powerful enough to take on modern games, albeit at modest detail settings, as well as smoothly play 1080p videos.

Another benefit of the Nvidia Optimus technology is extended battery life. With the power-hungry GeForce chipset stepping in only when needed, we eked out 7hrs 26mins of light usage before a trip to the mains socket was required. Heavy usage saw that figure dwindle to 1hr 29mins, but the Samsung's stamina is impressive, especially when you consider that it holds its own against Sony's expensive VAIO Z13. It's a shame that battery isn't user replaceable, though.

Page 1 of 2 Samsung SF310 review

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions331 x 236 x 33mm (WDH)
Weight2.040kg
Travelling weight2.5kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-460M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce 310M/Intel HD graphics
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity320GB
Hard disk usable capacity298GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveTSSTcorp TS-U633J
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports0
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 locationAbove keyboard/Front edge
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use7hr 26min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 29min
Overall application benchmark score1.56
Office application benchmark score1.28
2D graphics application benchmark score1.65
Encoding application benchmark score1.51
Multitasking application benchmark score1.81
3D performance (crysis) low settings37fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedN/A

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