Samsung N230 review

We review Samsung's latest netbook which has a staggering 10 hour battery life.

The 10.1in display isn't quite as bright as we'd hoped, especially when brightness is reduced to help conserve battery life. It's still bright enough to be legible though. It has a matte finish, so it doesn't reflect lots of light from overhead lighting strips. These reflections can cause glare, which looks very distracting, on netbooks with glossy instead of matte screens. However, due to the matte finish on-screen images look a little grainy but this isn't likely to be a problem for the basic tasks a netbook is likely to be used for.

We liked the firm and responsive feel of the keyboard. Although we wish the keys were a little bigger and gave a touch more feedback when pressed, it's still comfortable to type on unless you have especially large fingers. Only the cursor, page navigation and some punctuation keys are smaller than the others, although this does include the frequently-used @ key which is a little annoying. The touchpad is small, but accurate. The touchpad buttons aren't as big as we'd like, but they feel reasonably responsive when pressed.

The N230 is the first computer we've seen equipped with Bluetooth 3.0. This is supposed to be much faster at transferring data than previous versions of the close-range wireless technology, but it's currently of little practical use since there aren't any Bluetooth 3.0-capable peripherals that we know of. More useful are the three USB2 ports, which can also be set to charge devices such as smartphones, even when the N230 is sleeping.

Verdict

The Samsung N230 isn't without its flaws and there's little to tempt existing netbook owners if you're happy with your current model. For new netbook owners though, the N230's slender and sturdy build, long battery life, comfortable keyboard and reasonable price make it a great buy. Although we expect new netbooks equipped with faster dual-core Atom processors to be released in the coming weeks and months, they're likely to be more expensive than the N230.

SPECIFICATIONS

Processor: Intel Atom N450, 1.66GHz

Memory: 1GB 400MHz DDR3 RAM

Graphics: Intel GMA 3150

Hard disk: 250GB hard disk

Display: 10.1in 1,024 x 600 pixels, LED-backlit screen

Features: 0.3 megapixel camera, microphone, stereo speakers

Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet, Bluetooth 3.0

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

Dimensions: 264x188x34mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 1.2kg

Warranty: 1yr C&R warranty

OS: Windows 7 Starter 32-bit

Part code: NP-N230-JA02UK

BENCHMARK SCORES

Video 18

Image 20

Multiple apps 7

Overall 14

Battery, heavy usage 7h17m

Battery, light usage 9h55m

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