Samsung N210 review

Price when reviewed

Rather than build on the excellence of both the original NC10 and its successor, the N110, Samsung’s latest netbook wipes the slate clean and starts afresh. Rather than another identikit netbook, the Samsung N210 dares to be different.

The transformation sees it put on a few grams to tip the scales at a chunky 1.33kg, but it emerges from the redesign looking more sharply tailored and businesslike than before. The lid gleams with a glossy grey pinstripe and, while it’s no slimline waif, its classy, finely-honed figure is framed by a pretty chrome strip skirting its edge. For just £253 exc VAT, the N210 is a fine-looking netbook.

As with all the netbooks currently being refreshed, the N210 adopts Intel’s latest Pine Trail platform. The specification is almost identical to its competitors: there’s 1GB of memory, 250GB of storage, and the sparkly chrome trim houses three USB ports, a 10/100 Ethernet socket and an SD/MMC card reader. Wireless networking stretches up to 802.11n speeds, and there’s Bluetooth thrown into the mix, but nothing really lifts the N210 above the crowd.

Performance is also in line with its rivals, as you’d expect given the identikit hardware. A score of 0.3 in our benchmarks is no faster than the original NC10, which is a little disappointing given the newer components and the length of time that’s passed.

Samsung N210

Thanks to the large 5,900mAh battery, though, the Samsung has enough stamina on tap to comfortably best much of the competition. It finally expired after more than nine hours of light use. Push it to its modest limits and Pine Trail’s efficiency really shines through: even toiling away at full pelt with the display brightness set to maximum, the N210 kept going for just short of six hours.

Samsung’s decision to replace the excellent keyboards of previous models with a new-fangled Scrabble-tile effort pays off. There’s a positive action at the end of every keystroke, and the broad spacing between keys reduces the risk of typos. In fact, the only thing we hankered after was a slightly bigger right Shift key; we frequently found ourselves hitting Backslash by mistake.

The Samsung’s appeal slips a little when it comes to the 10.1in screen, however. Its matte finish reduces reflectivity, but it adds a grainy quality to images. Combined with muted colour reproduction, it’s enough to leave the N210 lagging a little behind the best.

The inclusion of an instant-on OS, HyperSpace, also seems entirely pointless given the inclusion of Windows 7 Starter. With Windows 7 rousing from slumber within seconds, it begs the question why anyone would bother using, let alone need, an instant-on environment at all.

Despite its minor shortcomings, though, Samsung’s latest has what it takes to make a more than worthy successor to the superb N110. Deciding between this and Toshiba’s NB305 is now almost purely a matter of taste, but the N210’s combination of gargantuan battery life, slick new looks and good ergonomics make it one of the best netbooks around.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions265 x 189 x 29mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.6kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N450
Motherboard chipsetIntel NM10
RAM capacity1.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,024
Resolution screen vertical600
Resolution1024 x 600
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 3150
Graphics card RAM64MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity233GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSamsung HM250HI
Optical disc technologyNone
Optical driveNone
Battery capacity5,900mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed100Mbits/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 switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
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
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use9hr 9min
Battery life, heavy use5hr 50min
Overall application benchmark score0.30

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Starter
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software suppliedNone

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