When it comes to the NF210's performance, the benchmarks show that the N550 does make a difference, but not the big leap ahead you might have expected it to make. I had to use the old PCMark 05 test because the more modern PCMark Vantage won't run on a device with a 1024 x 600 screen - 1024 x 768 is the minimum.
Compared to other netbooks Reg Hardware has looked at of late, the NF210's CPU score is better, but only 13 per cent up on the average. And I can't say that, during the time I was using the Samsung netbook, it felt any faster than any other I've looked at.
Curves in all the wrong places?
The exception is Asus' aforementioned Eee PC 1215N, but that has a 1.8GHz Atom CPU and Nvidia's Ion 2 graphics, and you can see the benefit that makes in the PCMark 05 results.
One problem with the NF210 is that Samsung has crippled it by installing just 1GB of DDR 3 memory - in the machine's one and only DIMM slot. It certainly yielded a relatively poor PCMark 05 Memory score. A dual-core CPU is all very well, but if you can't keep it fed, it'll leave you staring at Windows' rotating hoop icon.
The Samsung scored a mere 144 points in 3DMark 06, up on older netbooks, but still poor. In practical terms, the NF210 would happily play Reg Hardware's sample 720p video in VLC, but 1080p footage left it stuttering.
The NF210's battery life was good - just under five hours in the video playback test - but while it was above average, it wasn't up there with the class leaders.
Whether the NF210 works for you will depend on whether you love or hate its curvaceous casing - and the chunkiness it adds to the netbook's waist. Get past the looks and you'll find the Samsung delivers a small performance boost over the previous generation of netbooks, but you'll need to replace the Ram if you really want to see it fly. ®
More Netbook Reviews
Asus Eee PC
Netbook makers, are you listening....
This is the spec that will sell.
A minimum of 1024x768 screen, 10.1". (Hopefully 1366x768). No bigger than 11" or might as well buy a full blown laptop.
A GPU that will allow hardware acceleration for 1080p playback, ION good enough.
HDMI and VGA outputs.
Dual core atom, or ARM for Linux fans. In the case of Linux it MUST play higher quality flash video without stuttering. (Flash on windows can use GPU acceleration, this is NOT coming to Linux, DIE FLASH DIE!)
3 USB ports is plenty, and if USB3.0 is so much more expensive than 2.0, then 2.0 is fine.
Bluetooth, again 3.0 is not needed unless it is not much more expensive than 2.x
SD card slot
Wireless N (G if it keeps cost down, but since my EEPC901 has N then it can not be much more)
Gigabit Ethernet. (100Mb OK if much cheaper)
How hard can it be?
Personally, not sure that getting rid of the trackpad would help. I use my netbook mostly when travelling, and its a bit of a b*****d trying to use a mouse with the thing balanced on your knees in a departures lounge, or on the tray table on the back of a Virgin train's seat! Plus, you have to carry it around with you, and i suspect a lot of people for whom the 'pick up and go' appeal of a netbook is key would not go for this.
@ Stuart Archer
I agree completely. Part of my netbook usage is in bed (I like to watch cartoons before going to sleep) and a mouse on linen? No ta.