Samsung NS310 Review

What We Think

The NS310 would have been a great netbook 5 years ago, unfortunately, it’s not 2007 and it’s not a great netbook now. It’s an average netbook, but albeit quite expensive for what it is.

Introduction

When we were young lads of twenty-two, or twenty- three in 2007, netbooks were cool, small, ultra portable devices you were proud to pull out of a rucksack and boast about on a train, or in a coffee shop. However, times have changed and the dowdy netbook has been replaced by the tablet computer for those looking for cheap portable thrills.

The NS310 is one of Samsung’s little portable computers and perhaps an attempt at jazzing up the whole market – from its colour range it seems so. The little device is available at around the £220 mark, and is obviously aimed at those looking for a portable device that offers some processor limited computer use.

Design

Samsung’s attempts at injecting the netbook market with some life are clear from the colours available, our sample was a reasonably attractive deep purple colour, though there is also the option of a ‘quirky’ electric blue like tone. The curved clam shell lid is emblazoned with an almost edge-to-edge Samsung title, which wasn’t exactly to our tastes and the device is a little loud for our demeanour. We’re more prone to its brother, the Samsung NC110, which has more of a classic feel to it and less of the bling.

The little Samsung weighs in at around 1.1kg – ensuring that it’s still much lighter than the Intel ultrabook sizing. It’s quite well built and you can imagine throwing it into a rucksack for some gap year activities. This obviously means it’s quite portable, but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s enjoyable to use. The Samsung’s inside is a matte black plastic, which incorporates a isolated style keyboard, which though a little small is nice enough to use. It’s a backlit offering, with some nicely weighted keys, though some of which (the left shift) are a little small for our shovel like fingers.  The touchpad is a pretty uncomplicated affair, and nothing can be said for, or against it to be honest. Though you will require it for scrolling, a lot as the screen’s 1024 x 600 resolution is far from spacious.

Screen

It’s a 10.1 inch display, as per netbook style and when using it, you’re always aware that the netbook thing has passed. Though, not necessarily a poor screen spec wise, you find yourself squinting, having to constantly scroll up and down pages. Personally, if we had paid the £200 or so for the NS310, we’d constantly ask ourselves why we just didn’t buy a tablet.

The screen is typical of a netbook,1024x600p and a little grainy. It’s quite bright, and you’ll probably find it pretty okay for browsing and word processing, however it doesn’t offer spectacular viewing angles and of course it doesn’t have the power to play HD video, so there’s no such worries about that. It does have a 0.3mp camera, which its more than capable of powering.

Performance

The little Samsung comes with Intel’s 1.5GHz dual core Atom processor and 1GB of RAM, all of which seems a little lacklustre by mid 2012 standards and shows these devices place in another age. You’ll have the power for some simple word processing and perhaps a SD YouTube video, but anything in the HD realm is almost certain to cause tears. Gaming is off the radar, unless you enjoy a little Minesweeper – meaning the device is for light use only.

There’s a admirable 250GB HDD, but lest you put 250GB of Word Docs on it, we can’t see it getting too full. Samsung have added three USBs, a VGA, SD slot and a Ethernet Port, as well as an internal mic and Bluetooth 3.0.

Battery is something a great netbook needs, unfortunately the NS310 is neither great, nor even good as netbooks go and is distinctively average in this area among others. Battery life was far from immense and our Battery Eater test saw it conk out after 2hrs and 07 minutes. This lacklustre power is down to the small battery Samsung has placed in the device for weight saving measures and we’d have taken an extra tenth of a kilogramme for a few more hours power. Expect to see around 4.5 hours in everyday use which is not so spectacular when you compare it to the Samsung NC110, which manages around 7 hours and costs a little less.

Our Verdict

The Samsung NS310 is a typical netbook and netbooks are a thing of days long gone it seems. Three years ago, Samsung would have certainly been on to a good thing with this NS310, but nowadays it’s a little less desirable.

Even for a netbook it has its problems in the battery and style stakes, meaning it’s not even our favourite of the old guard. When compared to the Samsung NC110, it’s in fact shown up, even though the aforementioned costs less. If you want a netbook it’s not a bad device, but unfortunately, the whole netbook concept is one that’s been passed by and tablets offer a smoother, more responsive experience.

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