Samsung N310 review

£377
Price when reviewed

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 N310 review

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

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 262 x 185 x 29mm (WDH)
Weight 1.220kg
Travelling weight 1.6kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Atom N270
RAM capacity 1.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 1

Screen and video

Screen size 10.2in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,024
Resolution screen vertical 600
Resolution 1024 x 600
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 950
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 160GB
Hard disk usable capacity 149GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Battery capacity 4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support no
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

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

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