Samsung SF310 review
Great design and good performance, but the SF310 is let down by a poor touchpad and an average display
Review Date: 29 Oct 2010
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £676 (£794 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Initially seen at IFA in Berlin, the first of Samsung's new laptop ranges has arrived in the PC Pro labs. The 13.3in Samsung SF310 blends Nvidia's Optimus graphics-switching technology with a slinky, new design.
Samsung has gone right back to the drawing board: gloss off-white is liberally splashed all over the lid and base, while the interior is a more sober mix of dark greys and glossy black. It's an acquired taste - reactions on PC Pro weren't universally positive - but it's good to see an attempt at a bit of pizzazz.
Grab the SF310 in both hands, though, and there's something amiss. Samsung's marketing describes it as "thin and light", but at 2.04kg and 33mm thick, it won't keep the MacBook Air awake at night. Admittedly, "reasonably thin and relatively light" doesn't quite have the same ring to it. And despite those two kilograms of heft, it just doesn't feel especially solid or well built. For this price, we'd expect a little more quality and reassurance.
Of course, there's solace to be found in the Samsung's specification. A 2.53GHz Core i5-460M processor takes pride of place alongside 4GB of DDR3 and a 320GB hard disk. The resulting score of 1.56 in our benchmarks shows the SF310 is sprightly enough.
Nvidia's Optimus technology switches the Samsung seamlessly between its discrete GeForce 310M chipset and Intel's integrated HD Graphics counterpart. Despite being far from cutting edge, the GeForce chip managed an average of 37fps in our Low detail Crisis test. It's powerful enough to take on modern games, albeit at modest detail settings, as well as smoothly play 1080p videos.
Another benefit of the Nvidia Optimus technology is extended battery life. With the power-hungry GeForce chipset stepping in only when needed, we eked out 7hrs 26mins of light usage before a trip to the mains socket was required. Heavy usage saw that figure dwindle to 1hr 29mins, but the Samsung's stamina is impressive, especially when you consider that it holds its own against Sony's expensive VAIO Z13. It's a shame that battery isn't user replaceable, though.
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