Samsung N310 review
Netbooks might have started off life as the ugly ducklings of the notebook world, but with prices soaring ever higher, fine design is becoming an increasingly crucial part of their makeup.
Samsung certainly agrees, and its latest lays claim to “class-leading design”. The problem is that while the N310 might be striking, it’s not especially pretty. An embossed logo writ large across the N310’s lid and rounded edges make it look more like a giant Samsung bar of soap than a netbook boasting cutting-edge design.
Build quality is none too impressive either. Grapple with the lid and the N310 creaks unpleasantly, with clicking noises suggesting that the screen bezel is clicking in and out of place. Combine this with weak screen hinges that allow the screen to flop back and forth too easily, and the Samsung doesn’t get off to a great start.
We were hoping that the slightly inflated asking price would reward with improved specifications, but it’s no better equipped than cheaper models, with an Atom N270 processor, 1GB of memory, 160GB hard disk and no sign of draft-n wireless. Battery life isn’t stunning either, the N310 managing just over five hours of light use.
The keyboard does mark a departure from the Samsung norm, but different isn’t necessarily better. While there’s little wrong with its layout or indeed it’s scrabble-tile design, it’s not as comfortable as the traditional keyboards found on Samsung’s other netbooks.
The whole package is finished nicely with a high-quality 10.2in display and a decent pair of speakers, but in the final reckoning it can’t really justify such an inflated price.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||262 x 185 x 29mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Atom N270|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||1|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,024|
|Resolution screen vertical||600|
|Resolution||1024 x 600|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA 950|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||149GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA|
|Optical disc technology||N/A|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||no|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||5hr 3min|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.43|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows XP Home|
|OS family||Windows XP|
|Software supplied||Samsung Recovery Solution III|