Samsung N210 Plus review
A rehash of a six-month-old netbook, with little additional appeal
From the superb NC10 to the recent N210, Samsung has been one of the biggest successes in PC Pro when it comes to netbooks. Whether it’s their attention to detail or their fine build quality, Samsung’s little beauties have been regulars on the A List.
The N210 Plus, however, is little more than a cash-in. It’s a rehash dreamt up to keep the netbook sales flowing at a time when the available parts make innovation difficult. Samsung’s ploy is to take the existing N210 and add a Plus to the name; there really isn’t any significant difference between the two models.
It has the same 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, with its GMA 3150 graphics built-in. That’s paired with 1GB of DDR2 memory, for a core specification that makes the Acer Aspire One 533’s minor upgrade look like news worth flying over London from the back of a stunt plane. Finish that off with a 250GB hard disk and it’s hard to tell we’re not back in March.
To be fair to Samsung, it’s a package that worked perfectly well back then, with a 0.32 benchmark score little worse than netbooks with newer processors. The 10.1in 1,024 x 600 screen, however, has a grainy matte finish and it’s not the most vibrant in use, even at full brightness. Viewing angles are also poor, which proves irritating when using it on a commute.
The N210 Plus feels chunkier than the Acer and that does allow for a thicker lid offering better protection, but the same can’t be said of the base. The whole things bends far too easily and there’s a thin vent on the underside that we could see cracking in a bag. The base has room for a decent sized Scrabble-tile keyboard, but its small right-Shift key soon got on our nerves.
The one component that has changed is the battery, and it’s a downward step from 5,900mAh to 4,400mAh. We wouldn’t normally criticise a netbook for lasting more than eight hours in our light-use test, but the original went one hour better. There is a tiny tangible benefit though: its weight has dropped from 1.33kg down to 1.28kg.
That’s not enough to excite us, so the only reason you might have for considering the Samsung N210 Plus is that, as is usual with an upgrade, the original will disappear from shelves. Ignore the Plus moniker, what you have here is a mediocre netbook that we’d expect to see at a lower price than £245.