Samsung N230 review

Barry de la Rosa
9 Sep 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

A smart, thin netbook with an outstanding battery life, but the dull screen lets the side down, and there are other, better netbooks that cost less.



10.1 in 1,024x600 display, 1.2kg, 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450, 1.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows 7 Starter 32-bit

As netbooks go, the new Samsung N230 doesn't look like anything special. It follows the template laid down by Microsoft for a netbook running Windows 7 Starter Edition, with only 1GB of RAM and, like other netbooks, it doesn't have an optical drive or fancy new technologies such as eSATA, FireWire or USB 3.0. What it does have though is a stunning battery life of almost 11 hours.

To achieve this, Samsung has fitted a 6-cell battery that bulges from the underside of the case, adding 10mm to what would otherwise be a svelte 23mm case – there’s unfortunately no option for a 3-cell battery that’ll sit flush with the base. This has the advantage of propping the case up at an angle, making it easier to type on the chiclet keyboard.

Samsung N230

The keys are small, but have a springy action and enough feedback to make touch-typing comfortable. The layout is pleasingly standard, with a large left Shift key, a double-height Enter key and the Control key correctly placed in the bottom-left corner. Below the keyboard is a small but wide touchpad which we found responsive. It supports multi-touch gestures, but its buttons are set flush with the case, so your thumb often hits the edge of the case instead.

We didn't expect much from its benchmark results, and its score of 16 overall is fairly representative of netbooks. The Intel Atom N450 is a single-core processor, but supports Intel's Hyper-Threading technology which creates a virtual second core. Even so, the N230 is only suitable for light work such as web browsing, email and word processing. Even basic photo editing will be frustratingly slow, and video encoding is out of the question.

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