Samsung NF210 dual-core netbook
Quirky design, state-of-the-art Atom CPU
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. ®
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