Samsung SF310 review

Reviews 1 Nov, 2010

Samsung's latest ultra-portable laptop looks gorgeous and has good battery life, yet we're still not totally taken with it. Read our review to find out why.

4
Price: 
£636
ex VAT
Verdict: 
It's tempting to buy the Samsung SF310 based purely on how it looks. There's a lot to like about the SF310 besides its appearance, including its fast performance, auto-switching dual graphics, good battery life and reasonably comfy keyboard. It's not quite as cheap as it seems if you need to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional however, while its frustratingly-designed touchpad counts against it. Nonetheless, if you can live with this it's a very competitively-priced ultra-portable laptop.

Most laptops tend to look rather staid and boxy but Samsung's latest laptop, the SF310 has a very distinctive and appealing appearance. The lid and the underside have an attractive cream white colour with a curvy, swooping chrome trim, while the wrist rest is covered in metal-effect plastic and a glossy black bezel surrounds the 13.3in screen. It looks like a slightly larger version of Samsung's latest netbook, the NF210, but this is no bad thing as we were quite taken with the appearance of that computer too.

The SF310 isn't just for show though – it can be used for serious work while out and about. It weighs just over 2kg. It's not quite as light as other ultra-portable laptops we've seen, due in part to its built-in DVD writer, but it's still light enough to carry around all day. Its battery lasted a lengthy six hours and 20 minutes in our light usage web browsing test and just under two hours in our more demanding, image editing heavy usage test.

These battery life scores are all the more impressive since the SF310 has two graphics chips instead of just one. In addition to the power-saving integrated Intel graphics chip, there's a more powerful, dedicated Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics chip which can be used to speed up programs that support it.

The SF310 uses Nvidia' Optimus technology to automatically switch between the two based on what applications you're using, so you should get the benefits of both chips. It works well, although we'd still prefer the option to manually choose which graphics chip to use when we want to be sure of maximum battery life or performance.

Specifications: 

Processor: Intel Core i5 460 M, 2.53GHz

Memory: 4GB 533MHz DDR3 RAM

Graphics: 512MB Nvidia GeForce 310M; Intel HD Graphics

Hard disk: 320GB hard disk

Display: 13.3in 1,366 x 768 pixels, LED-backlit screen

Features: 1.3 megapixel camera, microphone, stereo speakers

Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 3.0

Ports: 3 x USB2, HDMI and VGA output, 3.5mm headphone and microphone audio sockets

Dimensions: 332x235x32mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 2.05kg

Warranty: 1yr C&R warranty

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Part code: NP-SF310-S02UK

BENCHMARK SCORES

Video 113

Image 99

Multiple apps 73

Overall 93

Battery, heavy usage 6h20m

Battery, light usage 1h59m