The Samsung N210 is one of the latest 10.1-inch netbooks announced by Samsung at the start of this year. Like the majority of the new netbooks this year it uses the new Intel Atom N450 processor, which while it doesn’t offer any performance boosts, it has a lower power consumption, offering longer battery life.
The N210 model comes above the N150 / NB30 models, and features a longer 11.2 hours of run time. It is identical to the slightly more expensive N220 models, with the N220 models having a colored lid (Red / Black, or Green / Black), as opposed to a black / white only.
Samsung N210 Specifications
- 10.1-Inch 1024 x 600 Display (Non Glossy / matte)
- Intel Atom N450 / 1.66 GHz CPU
- 250 GB SATA Hard Drive
- Intel GMA 3150 Graphics
- 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM – 800 MHz (Upgradeable to 2GB)
- 3 in 1 Card Reader
- 0.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
- 802.11b/g/n/ WiFi, Ethernet
- Multitouch Touchpad
- 3x USB 2.0
- 11.2 Hour Battery Life
- 26.5 cm x 18.9 cm x 2.9 cm, 1.34 kg
- Windows 7 Starter Edition (32-Bit)
Design / Build Quality
Unlike a number of manufacturers who have just updated their previous netbooks with the latest Pine Trail processors, Samsung have a completely new design for the N210, and I love it. I thought it looked great from the press photos, and when I first got my hands on it, I was even more impressed.
I feel that the N210 has a more professional, stylish look than most netbooks on the market. The inside of the netbook is all matte, including the display which is great to see. A small chrome trim runs around the outside of the netbook and can be seen when the netbooks is closed and open.
While the inside of the netbook is all matte, the lid isn’t, and has a glossy finish. But rather than a plain black gloss finish, it has a smooth gloss finish over a subtle textured pattern which looks great, but unfortunately attracts fingerprints, but not as much as a simple plain gloss finish.
As far as build quality goes, I have to say the Samsung N210 has nailed it. It feels very sturdy, and strong, with no give or weakness anywhere, even the keyboard, which I will speak more about later. This combined with the great styling makes the N210 my favorite netbook design.
Ports / Layout
The front of the N210 has a 3-in-1 multicard reader (SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, SDHC Memory Card), and two speakers. You can also see the LED status lights.
On the sides you can see a nice chrome finish. The left side has the power, Ethernet, air vent, 1x USB 2.0 port, microphone and headphone connections.
On the right side it has 2x USB 2.0 ports (bringing the total to three), VGA connection and a Kensington lock.
There is nothing at the back, just the battery. Under the battery there is a SIM card slot, but we expect this is just a dummy port.
At the bottom you will find just a single access port for the RAM. This allows very easy assess to the RAM for upgrading via one screw, but this means you won’t be able to assess the other components very easily, although this is a common feature of the latest netbooks.
The keyboard on Samsung N210 is a real winner. It’s of a chiclet type which makes for easier typing. It runs the full width of the netbook maximizing the over all size of the keyboard. The chiclet keys are well sized but also have a wide space between them meaning you’re less likely to hit the wrong key while typing.
The N210’s keyboard is quiet, offers great feedback and is rock solid. There is seriously no sign of keyboard flex what so ever! I also have the Asus Eee PC 1005PE here which as some keyboard flex, and smaller spaces between the keys.
The only small negative is the smallish backspace and right shift key, which takes a little getting used to.
The Samsung N210’s trackpad is very well sized, and supports multi touch gestures. This allows you to pinch zoom with two fingers, swipe with three to go forward and back while browsing, and scroll vertically and horizontally with two fingers. I have found it to work well and be sensitive enough. The trackpad is very slightly indented, which I like as you can tell if your finger has moved right up to the border of the pad, which allows for easy scrolling using the edge of the pad.
The touchpad uses a single rocker type button, while it’s a little slim it works very well, and to be honest, at first I didn’t realize it was of a rocker type (which is a good thing).
Although the N210 features the latest generation Atom N450 1.66GHz processor, it doesn’t significantly (if at all) boost performance over the previous generation N270 / N280 models, but instead lowers power consumption and provides longer run time.
You can expect the Samsung N210 to perform very similar to other Atom N450 netbook as they will have almost identical hardware, but each model does vary somewhat slightly.
I have run the CrystalMark 2004R3 benchmarking software on the Samsung N210, and have compared it to the Asus Eee PC 1005PE, which also has the N450 CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive.
The Samsung N210 achieved a CrystalMark score of 28400, where as the Asus 1005PE scored 27775.
- CrystalMark : 28400
- ALU: 6458
- FPU: 3920
- MEM: 6368 | (Read: 1975.82 MB/s (1975), Write: 1481.85 MB/s (1481))
- HDD: 8209 | (Read: 67.72 MB/s (2708), Write: 59.90 MB/s (2396))
- GDI: 1895
- D2D: 1092
- OGL: 458
Tests were run on High performance / Speed modes. I noticed the Samsung N210 scored higher in the RAM test, I believe this might be because it features 800 MHz RAM, where as many use the 666MHz speed.
The N210 can handle 720p video downloads without a problem, but it’s not powerful enough to playback 1080p HD videos.
The N210 has a 6-cell 5900 mAh battery which has a claimed battery life of 11.2 hours. While I haven’t run a “Battery eater” type test, as these give unrealistic results, I have been using the Samsung N210 for quite some time now and the battery sure doesn’t like to die.
I feel that the quoted 11 hour battery life is a fair estimation, and hasn’t been over exaggerated, as Windows seems to following and reporting the same results. Battery life decreased when the screen brightness is increased, and you will probably only get the full 11 hours with the brightness at about 40-50%.
The 10.1-inch LCD has a standard 1024 x 600 pixel (WSVGA) resolution, but unlike many netbook, it features a non-gloss, matte finish! Matte finishes are usually preferred on a netbook, as it’s a mobile device and taken around, you don’t have to worry about annoying reflections.
The clarity also remains very high. Screen brightness is easily selectable on eight different levels. To extend battery life, the brightness can be set at about 50% and easily used in normal lighting conditions.
Samsung have also included a tool called “Easy Resolution Manager” which allows you easily select a higher 1024 x 700 resolution. In Windows you can set it to 1152 x 864 for extra screen space, but you will loose detail and clarity as it’s not the LCD’s native resolution.
Noise / Heat
The N210 runs very quietly (piratically silent), with very little noise from the hard drive or fan. The fan seems to be off for the most part, and only turning on whisper quietly very occasionally. Even during the benchmarking the fan never ramped up to a high speed. This is no doubt helped by the ultra efficient Pine Trail CPU.
The top of the netbook, including the trackpad keeps very cool, while the bottom only get very slightly warm after hours of usage, but it’s nothing to worry about.
While it looks like a speaker grill might be located at the back of the keyboard by the LCD, they are in fact at the front edge of the netbook. The volume / quality is quite good for small speakers, and easily loud enough to fill a room. As with all small speakers the bass is somewhat lacking, but you can enable the SRS TruSurround XT technology which improves the quality by making it sound less “tinny” and adding more bass. You can configure a number of SRS settings and a “TruBass” setting.
The Samsung N210 runs Windows 7 Starter Edition (32-bit) and comes with a number of Samsung utilities. When you first start the system you can choose how to partition the 250GB hard drive in two drives, or a single drive. The second partition can be used with a Samsung backup utility.
The Easy Resolution Manager allows you to easily change the resolution, as described above.
Samsung Update Plus finds the latest hardware drivers and BIOS, keeping your system up to date. A speed profile changing utility allows you to easily select from a silent mode, normal and a speed mode.
Two other useful bits of software are the Chargeable USB function, which allows you to select whether or not to power a specific USB port to charge a device through it while the netbook is in sleep mode or even off.
Finally the Battery life extender options allows you to set the netbook to charge the battery to only 80%. This should extend the life of the battery by reducing it’s wear. It’s an all too common problem when a battery that one lasted many hours can only hold less than half of it’s charge a year or so later.
The Samsung N210 has very quickly become my favorite netbook. I very much like its stylish design and very high build quality. This paired with the best netbook keyboard I have seen, a large multi touch trackpad, and matte display make it very hard to beat.
When you also throw in the long battery life to the equation it’s very easy to see why the N210 is quickly becoming a best seller. I can very highly recommend the Samsung N210.
Update: It looks like the N210 has been replaced by the new Samsung N210 Plus. This new model is exactly the same, but now comes with Bluetooth 3.0, rather than 2.1, and features a new fast boot feature. The good news is, it is priced £20 cheaper at just £299!
In the US it’s a little harder to find, but the white model is available from BestBuy.com for $379.99!