Samsung has also done a good job of integrating the substantial six-cell battery pack into the design. Dell could learn a thing or two from Samsung in this respect.
The six-cell battery doesn't bloat this netbook...
In a reversion to its origin-of-species NC10, Samsung has fitted the N510 with a matte finish backlit display. As always, opinion will de divided on this issue - glossy screens are better for watching video while matte screens are less reflective. It's a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other.
Surface effect aside, the screen is fine bit of engineering looking every bit as bright, crisp and colourful as you could hope for. And it sure beats a 1024 x 600 display for room to manoeuvre.
...whichever way you look at it
Samsung hasn't re-written any rulebooks with the 510's keyboard and touchpad, both of which look and feel the same as those fitted to the N120. That's absolutely not a problem as we liked the N120's keyboard a lot. In fact, it's one of the best you will find on a netbook of any size or shape. One thing
Samsung does seem to have refined is the action of the one-piece touchpad button, which now has a superbly smooth and perfectly damped action. The touchpad doesn't do multi-touch, though.
Now to something more important: that integrated Nvidia graphics core has quite an impact on the N510's ability to render HD video. To get the full benefit of high definition video, you need a media player that can take advantage of GPU-accelerated video playback. Samsung includes just such a thing in the form of Cyberlink's Power DVD 8, but if you don't fancy that then Media Player Classic Home Cinema is another option with rather broader codec support.
Why should I watch a 1080p movie on a screen that natively supports only 720p?
Glossy screens FTW
OK, under some circumstances, reflections on glossy screens can be annoying*. However the colour saturation on the glossy screens I have used tends to be much better and that matters to me, particularly for viewing photographs.
I opted for the glossy screen on my MacBook Pro and I'm glad I did. It's the best laptop screen I have ever used.
The ideal situation would be for manufacturers to offer a choice as Apple does. Neither is better, it just depends what you use them for.
* I live in Yorkshire and the sun only shines for a few days each year so it is rarely a problem up here.
Solid performer, no surprises
I bought a N510 to replace my "ageing" but useful little NC10. I wanted ThinkPad build quality, matte screen, solid keyboard and - yes - XP. You can tell I'm over 25. The N510 does not disappoint. The LED screen is bright and pin sharp with significantly more real estate than its predecessor, plus a long haul battery with minimal weight penalty.
Business apps performance is fine and it's nice to be able to plug it into a big telly via HDMI and stream iPlayer.
The only downside was having to spend the first hour removing bloatware. Blimey, I'd hoped those days were over. Other than that, well done Samsung. 9/10.
"It's worth noting that the Ion LE chip only supports DirectX 9, so if you decide to upgrade from XP to Windows 7, you aren't going to see any improvement in graphics performance."
Why would DX11 support improve performance ? DX11 gives you extra effects in games and I doubt the 9400m & Atom are going to be running many DX11 effect in full res games.
Sim card slot?
When are they going to bring out a netbook with a decent screen, decent gfx, decent battery and a build in sim card slot? I'm sure if i put a dongle into one of these it'll snap off within days...