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Samsung N510 review

Barry de la Rosa
18 Nov 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
380
inc VAT

Its 720p-capable screen and Ion chipset are welcome, but its battery life is poor compared to the N120.

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Specifications

11.6 in 1,366x768 display, 1.4kg, 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280, 1.00GB RAM, 160GB disk, Windows XP Home Edition

Samsung's N510 looks like a slightly larger version of the company's N120, which is our pick of the current crop of netbooks.

It has the same basic design, with a glossy lid and a sturdy casing with chrome detailing. The screen is larger, though - 11.6in to the N120's 10.1in - with an increase in resolution from 1,024x600 to 1,366x768. This is a 70 per cent increase in desktop space, which removes the cramped feeling common when working on many netbooks.

It's a high resolution considering the physical dimensions of the screen, so while you'll see much finer detail in photos and movies, in Windows you may need to increase the size of text to make it comfortable to read. The LED-backlit display is bright and colours are accurate, although not quite as vivid as some other LED-backlit screens we've seen. The finish is a strange mixture of glossy and matt. It makes colours appear a little more saturated, but doesn't entirely diffuse reflections on the screen. We found vertical viewing angles a bit limited as well.

This is Samsung's first use of Nvidia's Ion chipset, which means the N510 can smoothly play back 1080p HD video, something most netbooks can't manage. However, it will have to downscale such content to show it on its 720p-capable screen. Alternatively, you can connect a Full-HD display via the HDMI port to get the best possible picture.

You'll need to use headphones or external speakers, as the internal speakers on the N510 are pathetically underpowered. Despite its video-playback prowess, Ion isn't powerful enough to play 3D games, scoring a paltry 5.1fps in our Call of Duty 4 benchmark.

The N510's battery life is disappointing, being almost half that of the N120, but we can't be sure whether the blame lies with the larger screen or the Ion chipset. For a full-sized laptop it would be considered more than respectable, but Samsung has set the bar for netbooks very high.

We generally like Samsung's keyboards. Here, the keys are large enough, but the key action is light, and we felt there wasn't as much feedback as there is on Samsung's other netbooks.

With a disappointing battery life and a slightly mushy keyboard, the N510 doesn't stand up well to the competition from its own stablemates, especially for those who want to work on the go. The larger display and HD video playback will appeal to some, but most will be happier with the cheaper N120.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Atom N280
Processor clock speed1.66GHz
Memory1.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
Size30x289x200mm
Weight1.4kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle14W
Power consumption active23W

Display

Viewable size11.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce 9400M
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity160GB
Optical drive modelN/A
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore optionrestore disc
Software includednone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£380
Detailswww.samsung.com/uk
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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