Samsung NS310 £270

2nd Dec 2011 | 10:00

Samsung NS310

Unimpressive battery life tarnishes a real looker of a netbook

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

Like:

Stylish design; Good screen; Portability

Dislike:

Battery life; Performance;

Although the Samsung NS310 is better looking than its sibling, the NC110, the build quality and usability aren't quite as good.

When looking at netbooks we rate battery life as one of the most important features and, unfortunately, the NS310 isn't up to scratch here, either. These niggles are a shame because the machine itself looks fantastic.

However we'd have to recommend giving this handsome devil a swerve in favour of the plainer NC110. From the outside, the clamshell-like design is a real head-turner. The bright colour scheme also looks fantastic. Our review unit was a rich azure blue, but if that's not to your taste the NS310 is also available in other striking colours.

Opening up the netbook reveals a completely black interior with a thick bezel around the screen. Because of the curving design, there's less room for the isolation-style keyboard to stretch out. Typing feels a bit constricted, and this isn't helped by a lack of space for your wrists, perched between the chassis and thin air.

The keys themselves are nicely-sized and weighted although there's very little travel when typing. The touchpad is large, responsive and occupies a central position, but there's no textured surface to differentiate it from the palm rest.

Wide viewing angle

The 10-inch screen is bright and offers you a wide viewing angle – although the large bezel is very noticeable. However, while the screen on the NS310 is perfectly acceptable for watching movies or browsing the web, you'll be hard pushed to do so on the move, thanks to the puny battery life.

We managed to get only 120 minutes from this netbook, while the NC110 managed 259 minutes from the same test. You could make the battery last longer by adjusting some of the settings, but it's still a feeble result for a netbook – a device that's meant to be portable.

It's not as if the NS310 is asking much from the battery in terms of performance, either. The 1GB memory and Intel Atom N550 processor is identical to what we've seen on other netbooks and ran Windows 7 Starter without a hitch.

As with all netbooks, graphics aren't in the equation and running complex programs like Premier Pro or Dreamweaver won't be possible.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 120 minutes
Cinebench: 1460
3DMark 2006: 131

As a netbook, the NS310 doesn't have an optical drive. If you want to install programs, you'll have to rely on the internet, a USB key or buying an external DVD drive. However, you will find three USB ports for peripherals as well as a VGA port for connecting to an external monitor and an SD card slot for expanding on the 120GB of internal storage.

Even though the NS310 is a decent looking netbook, it can't compete against the NC110 in terms of performance. The lower battery life is a deal-breaker and we would recommend avoiding this netbook in favour of its brother.

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