Using either media player, the N510 managed perfect full-screen playback of 1080p MKV H.264 files, though only the Cyberlink player managed truly fluid playback of a 1080p QuickTime file at full screen. You really can't ask for more than that from a machine driven by an Atom processor.
Easy-access panels make DIY upgrades straightforward
The Nvidia chippage doesn't make a demon games machine out of this netbook, but the 3DMark06 score of 1303 is certainly an improvement over anything a little laptop fitted with Intel's standard Atom chipset can achieve.
Turning to our usual PCMark05 benchtests, the N510 gave a solid if not spectacular account of itself. It's run-of-the-mill CPU, Memory and HDD figures show this is a standard netbook in all aspects other than the screen and graphics.
The N510 currently ships with Windows XP, 1GB of DDR 2 memory and a 160GB HDD. As the machine only has a single memory slot, upgrading is restricted to yanking out the 1GB module and replacing it with one of twice the capacity. The HDD and memory slot are covered by a single easy-to-remove panel, so DIY upgrades should be painless.
When or indeed if Samsung plans to upgrade its netbooks to Windows 7 is a grey area at the moment, but a couple of retailers have told us they hope to see Windows 7 equipped N510s arrive in the UK in early December. It's also rumoured that the Windows 7 versions will have 250GB hard drives.
The design is restrained, if not to say conservative
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. Though you could always type the words 'ion', 'LE' and 'hack' into Google and see what comes up...
Next page: Test Results
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...