Ticks all the right boxes, almost
Review The new N130 and N140 netbooks will probably be the last such machines we see from Samsung running the Silverthorne Atom processors as come January it is promising to announce a raft of new machines using the next generation Atom Pine Trail chips.
Samsung's Windows 7 netbook entrant, the N140
Of course we don't know when exactly the new machines will be available to buy or how much they will cost, but its fair to assume they will replace most of the current range, specifically the NC10, NC20, N110, N120 and N310 machines leaving the N130 and N140 as the entry level of Samsung's netbook range.
Though the N130 and N140 look very similar there are some significant internal differences including the battery capacity - 4,000mAh in the N130, 5,900mAh in the N140, the HDD capacity - 160GB for the N130 and 250GB for the N140 and the operating system. The N130 makes do with good old XP while the N140 gets the shiny new Windows 7 Starter.
Well, that's the current state of play in the UK market - don't blame us if 250GB Windows 7 N130s turn up the day after you read this. Even so, you will always get the smaller battery with the N130. After all, it's the N140 that gets the new OS and the man sized power pack and that's the machine we're reviewing here.
The design of Samsung's netbooks has been a case of cautious evolution, rather than revolution. The end result is that the N140 is both the smartest and smallest Samsung netbook yet. With a footprint of 262 x 185.5mm its 1mm wider, but 1mm shallower than the NC10 while at 28.55mm tall its also a touch thinner. The 6-cell battery, despite being more capacious than that fitted to the NC10 protrudes less, giving the N140 a noticeably more slender profile. At 1.27kg the N140 is also lighter to the tune of 60g.
A discreet, yet more powerful battery than previous models
Its a nice looking machine too. Samsung's netbooks have been shedding the bling and design fripperies for a while and the N140 makes do with a polished silver key line around the chassis and a narrow sliver strip around the touch pad but nothing more. In black, the N140 a nicely understated bit of kit that you can whip out of its bundled padded carry case in the best of company. As you would expect with a Samsung, it's also very well made with the lid hinge having a particularly pleasant and well weighted action.
But is it worth an upgrade?
I own an NC10 and adore it but it does struggle with playing movies at times and the sound from that mono speaker is pretty weedy, but that aside it does everything I could ask it to do and everything I would realistically expect from a netbook.
All these Samsung models, is it actually worth upgrading to any of them if you already have a perfect good NC10?
My point was more on the lines of "if they can't produce something better almost a year later, why isn't the price falling"... It seems to be the opposite, actually?
... with the positive comments about the NC10 and what you can make it capable of with the right software codecs. I've even used it to crunch through a couple of hundred thousand records in a complex Access query and to be honest, it surprised me that it didn't fall on it's ass right away let alone actually complete the job. Slowly, but it did it.
Really made me evaluate exactly what I'm paying for with high end PC's/laptops and what I'm convincing myself i'm using them for. Christ it survived two drops onto a hard surface off of a dinning table with a scratch!
I do agree that Samsung missed a trick not levering more resolution and a 3G slot into this update. Especially as they aren't spec'ing under the XP restrictions and clearly profits have come first with this machine.
But, when my (well, my wife's now, who am I kidding?!), NC10 goes pop the latest Samsung equivalent will be the first thing I'll go for. Be it this or something in five years.
Love my NC10...
...which by the way runs Win7 with similar performance to XP, even with all the Aero bells and whistles turned on, so not sure why the N140 seems to struggle.
Tempted by the better battery life, but baffled as to the webcam downgrade, and it's a shame the nice blue power button on the hinge end is gone. Think I'll be waiting for Samsung to produce a true NC10 replacement...
Its a fair cop guv. The NC10 does indeed have two 1w stereo speakers rather than one, though the extra power and larger, forward facing speaker grilles of the N140 do still give it an edge in the sound stakes. The N130 definitely only has the the one speaker.
@ J3 - that is why the Eee 1000HE got 90% and an Editor's Choice award.