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Samsung N510 Nvidia Ion-based netbook

Decent HD performance in a mini-laptop at last?

A traditional strength of Samsung netbooks has always been the capacity of the standard batteries and the six-cell, 5900mAh unit stuffed up the N510's derrière proved to be no exception.

Samsung N510

The fact the screen is matte with please many buyers

Subject to the traditional Register Hardware pummelling - running a standard definition video at full screen using VLC media player with the brightness and volume turned up to 11 and the Wi-Fi radio switched on - the N510 managed 212 minutes.

That's a fair bit less than you will get from an NC10 with a 5200mAh battery, and a lot less than from an N120, which has the same battery as the N510. But both those machines don't have the Nvidia chippery to drive.

During more realistic day-to-day use, we found it easy enough to get five hours of runtime from a charge. Switch the Wi-Fi radio off, turn the screen brightness down a bit and use the Samsung control panel to snick the CPU into power-saving mode and you can push that number over the six-hour mark without any excessive compromises in performance.

While the N510 ran silent and cool even when the chip was working its socks off, the same cannot be said for the 2.1A charger brick which while small and light takes a fair old while to recharge the battery and gets very hot indeed during the process.

Verdict

Samsung's netbooks have never been what you would call cheap, but for £380 we think the N510 is significantly better value than the firm's previous netbook efforts. The price isn't noticeably higher than the likes of the N120, but for your money you get a far more capable GPU; a larger, higher resolution screen; 802.11n; and an HDMI port, and those are not features to be sniffed at. ®

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Samsung N510

Samsung N510 Nvidia Ion-based netbook

An excellent large-screen netbook and arguably the first Samsung netbook worth the price tag. Could be worth waiting a few weeks for the Windows 7 version, though.
Price: £380 RRP