Samsung NF210-A01AU netbook

Samsung NF210-A01AU review: A 10in Samsung netbook with excellent battery life and an interesting design

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Samsung NF210-A01AU
  • Samsung NF210-A01AU
  • Samsung NF210-A01AU
  • Samsung NF210-A01AU

Pros

  • Excellent battery life, very good keyboard, comfortable to use, matte screen, interesting design

Cons

  • Sometimes sluggish performance, lots of preinstalled software, balance could be better

Bottom Line

The Samsung NF210-A01AU is a great netbook. It feels comfortable to use, it's light and it looks good. Best of all, its battery life is tremendous! It lasted over six hours when playing videos with its screen at full brightness, and over 10 hours when performing basic tasks. We recommend it to anyone who wants a netbook with excellent battery life.

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The Samsung NF210-A01AU is a 10.1in netbook that possesses a unique style and a very long battery life. It's perfect for anyone who wants to type documents or watch videos for hours on end while travelling. Even though it's a small, 1.37kg netbook, it doesn't feel uncomfortable to use. The downside is that it's still a netbook, so it will perform sluggishly in certain situations.

Samsung NF210: Specifications and performance

The Samsung NF210-A01AU isn't new — it's already been around for a few months — so it doesn't feature a dual-core Intel Atom CPU like the Acer Aspire One Happy, for example. Instead, it features a single-core Intel Atom N455 1.66GHz CPU with Hyper-Threading. The rest of its configuration is standard, too: you get 1GB of DDR3 SDRAM, Intel GMA 3150 graphics, and a 250GB hard drive. It recorded times of 7min 12sec and 8min 3sec in our Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tests, respectively, which is approximately what we expected of a netbook with these specifications. To put its performance in perspective, the HP Mini 5103, which runs a faster Atom N475 CPU (1.83GHz) and 2GB of RAM, finished the Blender 3D test in 6min 21sec, while the afore-mentioned Aspire One Happy finished Blender in 4min flat.

While using the NF210-A10AU, it didn't feel annoyingly slow. We were able to browse the Web, watch standard-definition videos and create documents without wanting to tear our hair out (what's left of it). The only time the netbook became sluggish was when we had lots of active Web pages open in Firefox. Sites with lots of JavaScript and Adobe Flash elements (lots of ads, for example, or live scores from a sports site) consumed lots of CPU cycles and made the netbook unresponsive at times. Samsung has installed Norton Internet Security for Netbooks, which actually issues a pop-up to let you know when an application is using too much memory or hogging the CPU so that you can do something about it — i.e. kill that application. For the most part, though, the Samsung NF210-A01AU felt great to use, and we used it a lot.

Samsung NF210: Battery life

The large 6-cell battery allowed us to use the netbook away from an outlet for a very long time. Of course, how long it lasts for you will depend on the type of tasks being undertaken and the level of the screen brightness; if you just use the netbook for basic Web browsing, reading ebooks or writing documents, and if you use the lowest screen brightness setting, it will last longer than 10 hours. In our standard battery rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, use maximum screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded standard-definition video, the battery still lasted for an exhausting 6hr 10min. This is one of the best results we've seen in a netbook to date, and it means you don't have to worry too much about charging it often.

Samsung NF210: User comfort and other features

The Samsung NF210's battery life is definitely the standout feature, but its looks are also a selling point. It has an interesting style that we think is very nice (although some people in our office disagreed); a few curves and funky little mouldings either side of the keyboard give the netbook a profile that a 1950s car designer would be proud of. The touchpad is very smooth and has almost the same texture as the 60mm deep palmrest; it was responsive and accurate in our tests. We love the keyboard, which has isolated keys that offer good bounce-back and feel crisp when you hit them. While it's a 10.1in netbook, the keyboard doesn't feel cramped and is very comfortable to type on. You can type with the netbook on your lap for prolonged periods of time and it won't get overly warm and uncomfortable. We'd go as far as saying that the NF210 is a pleasure to use.

The balance of the netbook is a little questionable as it feels a little top-heavy; it never tipped over backwards while resting on our laps, but it's something you should be weary of when you use it, as it will tend to rock back when your hands lift off it. The battery protrudes under the netbook's chassis and it sits one centimetre in from the spine of the netbook (rather than actually on the spine), which helps to give the netbook a better centre of gravity. Its height also gives the NF210 a bit of a forward slant.

We like the matte 10.1in screen (1024x600 resolution), which won't reflect lights and it has good brightness and contrast for viewing photos and videos. We wish it didn't have such a wide bezel around it, but if it didn't then that would also make the unit smaller overall, which would diminish the netbook's overall ease of use. It has a built-in webcam, and the lid feels very smooth to open and close.

Around the edges of the NF210, you will find VGA, USB (three ports), 10/100 Ethernet, microphone and headphone ports, as well as an SD card slot, and you also get built-in Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi. These are all standard features for a netbook.

Samsung Conclusion

Overall, long battery life and an interesting design separate this netbook from others on the market and, despite it using older Intel Atom technology, we think it's a #winner. We'd recommend it to anyone who wants a light and long-lasting ultraportable for basic Web and document tasks.

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