Best selling netbook

Samsung N230 Review

Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 10:03 am

Reviews, Samsung

Samsung N230The Samsung N230 is the latest 10.1-inch netbook offering from Samsung.

It builds on the success of their popular N210 / N220 netbooks, and has only been available for a very short while. My Samsung N210 review was very popular with over 65,000 views and 100 comments, and is currently my netbook of choice, so I have very high hopes for Samsung’s latest ultra sleek model.

When the Samsung N230 was first announced, on paper it didn’t sound anything too special, with most of its specifications remaining the same as in the previous N210 / N220 model, with the Same Intel Atom N450 processor. But when we first clapped eyes on the photos of the N230 it became clear that the N230 was indeed a special netbook.

Samsung N230

Samsung N230

Samsung has done more than just adding a brushed metal finish to the palm rest and changed the lid, the N230 has a whole new ultra slim chassis, which looks great, and feels very strong.

Where to buy the Samsung N230: $399 $349 from Amazon

Samsung N230 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 128MB
  • 1 GB DDR2 RAM – (Upgradeable to 2GB)
  • 3 in 1 Card Reader (SD, SDHC,MMC)
  • 0.3 Megapixel Webcam (High Sensitivity)
  • Bluetooth v3.0 + HS
  • 2.1 Speakers + Subwoofer (SRS 3D)
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Ethernet
  • Multitouch Touchpad
  • 3x USB 2.0
  • 13.8 Hour Battery Life (6-cell) or 7 hours (3-cell)
  • 0.85 x 10.4 x 7.2 inches, < 1 kg
  • Windows 7 Starter Edition (32-Bit)

The Samsung N230 has similar specifications to the N210, but also adds Bluetooth V3.0 + HS support for 8x faster connectivity than Bluetooth 2.0, and a dedicated subwoofer, and longer battery life.

Please note that specifications can vary upon region.  I an reviewing the UK version of the Samsung N230, which comes with the 14 hour 6-cell battery as standard, in the U.S it comes with either the 3-cell or the 6-cell, but I have yet to see it selling with the larger 6-cell battery.

Design & Build Quality

Samsung have always had a very good reputation for their netbooks design and build quality, and it was one of the most impressive aspects of the N210.  From the first photos I saw of the N230 I was impressed by its sleek and professional design, and I must say, it looks even better in person.

Samsung N230 Closed

Samsung N230 Closed

For those of you who think most netbooks typically look cheap and plasticly, the Samsung N230 most certainly isn’t one of them.  It looks and feels just like a mini notebook, without any hint of cheapness or tacky feel.  It is also very light at less than 1kg and feels noticeable lighter to hold in one hand than the N210.

I’m a very big fan of its design, and feel it has a true professional look to it.  Right from the brushed metal palm rest and chrome hinges to its matte interior, slim LCD bezel and borderless chiclet keyboard.

N230 Front

N230 Front

I feel like I want to talk a lot about the design, and this just goes to show how much I am impressed by its design.  It is not just that the N230 is very slim, light and tough, but also its various finishes are equally as impressive.  On the inside it has an all matte finish to the body, which matches the matte LCD.  On the external lid it has a black glossy finish with a chrome “Samsung” logo, this also looks stylish, but does pick up a few finger print marks.

Ports / Layout

The front of the Samsung N230 has five status LEDs (showing power, WiFi, hard drive activity, etc), these small blue lights look good and are angled in a way so that they can be viewed when the netbook is in use, or with the display closed.

There is also a small microphone built into the front of the palm rest to the left of the trackpad. Next along is the 3 in 1 Card Reader (SD, SDHC, MMC), this has been improved over the N210, as the cards are now mostly flush, rather than half sticking out, this is ideal if you wish to keep a card in for constant usage.

Finally there is the power slider, which you simply slide to the right to turn the system on or off.

From side, you can see just how slim the netbook is, along with the chrome hinge feature. The left has the power input, Ethernet, air exhaust vent, 1x USB 2.0, and mic and headphone ports.

Samsung N230 Side

Samsung N230 Side

On the right side there are two more USB 2.0 ports, VGA output, and a Kensington lock.

Samsung N230 Right

Samsung N230 Right

The base of the netbook features a small port which can be accessed by one screw to upgrade the RAM. To upgrade the hard drive or other component,s you will have to further dismantle the netbook, but this is common.

Samsung N230 Bottom

Samsung N230 Bottom

Near to the front of the netbook you will see two small slits, these are two speakers. There is also a larger grill, this is either for ventilation or it is where the sub-woofer is located.

Keyboard

Simply put, the Samsung N230’s keyboard is excellent.

It is of a chiclet / island style which is easier to type on than a standard keyboard, and spans the full width of the netbook, giving you more room to type. It also has a great look with its boarderless design.

Samsung N230 Keyboard

Samsung N230 Keyboard

The keys are of a good size with decent spacing between them, which should mean less typing errors. The keys are also very quiet to use, and provide good solid feedback.

The excellent build quality is also shown here, as there is no sign of keyboard flex at all, even around the center keys. This is a common problem on many netbooks, so it’s great to see that the Samsung N230 does not suffer from this issue.

N230 Keyboard

N230 Keyboard

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11 Responses to “Samsung N230 Review”

  1. Sue Morgan Says:

    Hi

    Thank you for this review. I have just bought the N230 and, with 1GB RAM I’m finding it a bit on the slow side. I was told by a MEMORY expert that the memory is not upgradeable so I am very heartened by your review which says to the contrary.

    It was actually your positive and informative reviews of earlier Samsung models which prompted me to buy the latest N230. As a non-expert computer user I find your review of the N230 to be thorough and fair.

    I have only had the machine a few days and, as it is my first netbook everything seems rather small amd strange at the moment. I hope that I will find the N230 every bit as good as your review suggests. Watch this space….

    Sue

    Reply

    • Matt Says:

      Hey Sue, no problem.

      The Samsung N230’s RAM is definitely upgradeable, I just doubled checked to make sure the RAM wasn’t soldered or anything silly. I’m glad this was good news to you.

      I have added a note to the performance section of the review, which writes about the power profiles, and how by default the CPU is limited to 50% (800MHz) when running on battery, and how to change this. This should hopefully help your speed issue.

      Extra RAM can also help, but it’s most helpful when running a number of applications at the same time.

      It can take a little while to get used to the smaller netbook sized screen etc, but I hope you very much enjoy the N230.

      Reply

  2. Jez - SammyNetbook Says:

    Sue, the Sammy Netbook range is RAM upgradeable, it’s fairly cheap and easy to do – there are instructions in your manual. Given the price it is worth doing, but don’t expect a massive boost in performance!

    Reply

  3. Nev Says:

    Hi there, I currently have a samsung 220 with the Broadcom Crystal HD PCIE card installed to take HD Video Playback of the CPU. Can you tell me if the 230 has the same Broadcom Crystal HD Support.

    Thx
    Nev

    Reply

  4. jeffery king Says:

    i once have a samsung N210 but it was stolen i want to buy the latest n230 did it have more advance feautures as the N210 also how can i PURCHASE THIS ONE am from sierra leone

    Reply

  5. Priyanka Says:

    This netbook looks cool. 13.8 hours of battery back up is just awesome. I am using an Intel Atom processor based netbook since last year and it is still giving 6 hours of battery back up.

    I would say that netbooks certainly have some advantages over notebooks like the light weight and compact design.

    Reply


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