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Samsung N510 review

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.


11.6 in 1,366×768 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 1,024×600 to 1,366×768. 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 ***
Processor Intel Atom N280
Processor clock speed 1.66GHz
Memory 1.00GB
Memory slots 1
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 2GB
Size 30x289x200mm
Weight 1.4kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 14W
Power consumption active 23W


Viewable size 11.6 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce 9400M
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 512MB


Total storage capacity 160GB
Optical drive model N/A
Optical drive type N/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Modem No
Supported memory cards SD, MMC
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore option restore disc
Software included none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £380

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