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 Samsung N150 Netbook - A Review

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PostSubject: Samsung N150 Netbook - A Review   Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:22 pm




Asus may have kick-started the netbook revolution with its Eee PC, but Samsung has emerged as one of the dominant players in the market thanks to a broad range of devices that offer style, comfort and superb build quality. The N150 netbook, then, has a lot to live up to.

The keyboard marks a departure from the usual Samsung offering - instead of shiny, flat keys, the N150抯 buttons have rounded edges and a matte finish - but the quality is still high. The keys feel responsive and welcoming and, even though there抯 not quite as much travel as we抎 like, we抎 be comfortable using the N150 for long typing sessions.



We were able to get up to speed quickly, too, in part due to the sensible layout: the double-height return key and normal-sized space bar, shift and control buttons are also in their usual locations, and the standard keys are also of a good size. Our only qualm is the delete key, which is smaller than we抎 like.

Not much, really. The N150's innards are interesting and original, but its chassis isn't particularly ground-breaking. The glossy black lid and its off-centre Samsung logo are pleasant enough -- provided you don't mind having to clean fingerprint smudges off regularly -- and the anodised red stripe around the sides adds charm.

Samsung N150 performance

Additionally, the pre-installed software can slow down the system抯 performance, which can become frustrating. As it only has a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 CPU and 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, multitasking isn抰 one of the netbook抯 strong points; it performs at its best when performing only one task. In our performance tests, the N150抯 results were solid.

The N150 is exclusive to PC World. It's well priced, but compared to earlier Samsung netbooks and our current Best Buy, the Toshiba NB305, the battery life is poor. The screen is also disappointing, and despite a good keyboard, the touchpad is too small. The Toshiba NB305 has over 10 hours' battery life and a much clearer screen, making it a better buy.

Connections include three well-spaced USB sockets (one on the left, two on the right), Ethernet, VGA socket for use with a bigger monitor, and headphones and mic jacks. There is also a 3-in-1 memory card reader.

The graphics performance of the N150 is dependant upon the integrated graphics controller in the Intel Atom N450 CPU and it抯 not fast. You won抰 be able to play anything but the simplest of games on the Samsung N150 (games that don抰 use complex graphics for example), and even Flash-based games may run sluggishly on it.

Either way, the 1024x600 resolution of the screen isn抰 high enough to display most games anyway. There is a Samsung utility called Easy Resolution that can be used to bump up the resolution to 1024x768 (you can do the same thing from the Intel Display Driver properties), but it makes the screen look squished. Standard definition Xvid-encoded videos will play smoothly, but anything higher than standard definition will put too much stress on the system.

Below that is a rather large (considering the size of the netbook) trackpad with a button bar directly below it. The trackpad itself is easy to use, sensitive enough to allow fluid motion across the screen and even multi-touch support for scrolling, zooming and rotating your way through commands.

While the performance of the Samsung N150 is typical for a netbook, its design aspires to be a little more than run-of-the-mill. For the most part, the design is well executed, but it still looks a little tacky in places. In particular, the screen could look better. It has a matte finish, which we love as it means lights won抰 be reflected off it, but at the same time there is a glossy strip that frames the screen and becomes distracting when the light reflects off it. Another quibble relates to the unnecessary label that reads 慏igital Livecam?next to the webcam.

Get past the pros and cons of the design, which is fairly typical, and you get to start using the computer for what it was intended.



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