Samsung N350 dual-core netbook
Slimmer, faster and - ahem - pricier...
Review The debate as to whether netbooks are evolving fast enough rages on. Some say manufacturers are guilty of laziness by continuing to churn out similar models, while others argue that there’s simply no need for netbooks to evolve like standard laptops and that more attention should be put into making them cheaper.
Samsung’s N350: not totally dissimilar to the N230
One thing’s for sure: this new N350 from Samsung is desperately similar to the N230 the company released towards the tail end of last year. But this is no bad thing. It means you get the same excellent keyboard, with well-spaced keys and minimal flexing, as well as stylish looks and a robust chassis.
However, although it might look like the N230, what struck me when picking up the N350 for the first time was how darn thin and light it is – at just 23mm thick and weighing a mere 1.03kg, it’s super portable. Problem is, when you take a look at the specs the reason for its petite nature is immediately obvious: a super-thin battery with a paltry capacity of just 33Wh. In our video-loop test, this meant the N350 could only chug away for 183 minutes before entering a deep slumber.
A slender battery isn’t the only change from the N230. As with Asus’ recently-reviewed 1015PEM, the N350 employs Intel’s latest dual-core Atom N550 processor, which ticks along at 1.5GHz. A single 1GB stick of DDR2 memory backs this up, and although accessible via a dedicated hatch on the underside of the netbook, there’s only one slot so an upgrade will require ditching the current module and purchasing a 2GB version.
A slimline design, but it comes at a considerable cost
The big question is whether the dual-core N550 CPU is actually worth having. Take a glance at the benchmark scores and you’ll see it clearly has an effect, beating all the single-core netbooks in PCMark05’s CPU test. However, it’s a very small gain, and in general day-to-day use I found it extremely hard to notice any improvement. Taking the relatively high price of the N350 into account, I’d much rather have a single-core version and save some cash (or get a bigger battery as standard).
Next page: Performance indicator
Any chance of firing it up with a bootable USB of the latest Ubuntu to see if it is fully functional out of the box, or whether we'd need to go and find any drivers for it?
Why have the netbook manufacturers deserted SSDs?
I would love something like this (better battery though) and would prefer just 20GB SSD than 250GB disk.
I don't want to carry around all that info/data/entertainment on a netbook - I have no need for it (it's just more to manage/lose)
I appreciate others might want more capacity, that's OK I've no problem with that :-)
Why are there no new(ish) netbooks which come without Windows and with an SSD?
Not enough demand for such?
Think i'll wait for an android tablet instead :-(
Make 'em cheaper
The Netbook was meant to represent the gateway to sub £200 computing (or at least net access) so to my mind any offering which can't come close to that price point is not a netbook, just an underpowered Laptop.
Seconded on battery life, the biggest problem with my Acer Aspire A110 is that battery life is a poor.
Having used an EeePC 1000 for a couple of years now I am certain that the most important feature in machines of this class is battery life. Processing power, memory etc. are more than adequate for typical netbook purposes. So the N350 is a mistake : for £350 I would expect significantly higher battery life, a higher res screen and a DVD drive. I wouldn't pay more than £200 for it as it stands.
Dual core good
Battery life - bad but not terrible
Hard drive instead of solid-state storage - lame.
Apart from the new processor, things really haven't progressed much since the eee901, nor have the prices dropped.
I don't care if you're in the "make 'em cheaper" or the "make 'em faster" camp, some real progress on either of those fronts would be good!