Samsung's N210, a small but mighty netbook with impressive battery life

Samsung's N210, a small but mighty netbook with impressive battery life

Samsung is still a relatively small player in the Australian laptop marketplace, even though it dominates in many areas of consumer electronics. Since relaunching its laptop range in Australia last year, we've seen some excellent models in our labs, including our A-List N110.

The N210 is a departure, however, from the previous Samsung netbooks we've seen. This could be seen as a risky move for such a new player.

After all, Samsung is taking a formula that works and wiping the slate clean. That hasn't always paid off for the likes of Asus or HP - but in the N210 most of the changes are welcome.

Take, for example, the newly designed chassis. A grey-striped lid and gently curved exterior exude a subdued elegance. There's now also a chrome strip around the edge to add some colour. The N210 may not be the slimmest netbook, and at 1.3kg, it's not the lightest, but it's definitely one of the best looking.

The interior, too, has a new feature: a scrabble-tile keyboard that has reasonable travel for this style of laptop, and its broadly-spaced keys are a relative joy to type on.

Also changed is the processor. As with the Asus 1005P, Samsung has switched out the older N270 Atom for the new, more energy efficient Pine Trail Atom N450 processor. That's pretty much the only change in specifications, however.

The remainder fit the standard netbook mould, with 250GB hard disk drive, 1GB RAM, Bluetooth and a card reader. There are no features that really do anything to distinguish the N210 from the rest of the pack.

We've not been entirely impressed with Pine Trail performance, and the N210 is no different, posting a benchmark score in our Real world applications test of just 0.32.

But if performance from Pine Trail isn't everything we hoped, the battery life that results from Pine Trail processor's lower TDP (7W, compared to 11W for the N270) is more than enough to make up for it.

With a 6-cell battery standard, the Samsung managed an outstanding 6hr 15min on our intensive use battery life benchmark.

On light use, Samsung's battery technology does even more to show its class. When the Wi-Fi is switched off and the laptop left to idle at half-brightness, the N210 was able to breeze past the 10hr mark easily.

As with the Asus 1005P, The 10.1in screen is the only sour note in an otherwise sweet package. While text is crisp, the display is grainy and produces washed out colours. Given the importance of quality screens in such a small form factor, this reduces the overall desirability significantly.

Even so, it's streets ahead of the current Pine Trail-based competition, and its fantastic battery life and solid ergonomics make it worth the money. It doesn't hurt that it'll look good on the go, either.

Samsung N210
5 6
With the N210, Samsung takes its excellent netbook range, and improves the looks and usability
Features & Design
Value for money
• Samsung:
• Price: 513 • CPU model/brand: Intel Atom • CPU speed: 1.66Ghz • Memory capacity: 1GB • Hard drive capacity: 250GB • Screen resolution: 1024 x 600 • Weight: 1.3kg • Dimensions WDH: 265 x 189 x 29mm • Battery type (cells): 5900mAh • Manufacturer: Samsung • Supplier: Samsung
This review appeared in the May, 2010 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine

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