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Battery life is always an important factor where netbooks are concerned and one in which Samsung generally excels. This is still true of the N510, although to a slightly lesser extent. Samsung quotes a very realistic 'up to seven hours' and this marries pretty well with our testing.
Utilising a six-cell, 5,900mAh battery, the N510 managed 5.71 hours of standard definition video playback at 50 per cent brightness. This isn't outstanding by netbook standards, but is more than adequate by any other metric and should be enough for anyone but the most demanding user. Typical usage will vary between four to five hours for web browsing and close to seven hours if you maximise every power saving measure - something Samsung makes easier with its excellent power management tool.
All of which ought to leave the N510 in excellent shape, but unfortunately we feel it's priced a little on the high side right now. At £399 it's not quite extortionate given its benefits and compares favourably with some of the more expensive netbooks of recent months, but as ever things have moved on quite quickly, rendering such comparisons somewhat moot.
More pertinently the HP Compaq Mini 311c, another 11.6in, Ion LE touting netbook, goes for £319 and matches the Samsung in most important aspects. As such, though the N510 is a good step in the right direction, we'd hold fire until we get a better look at HP's effort - our initial impression of which was very favourable. There's also the Acer Ferrari One to consider. It doesn't offer the battery life of the N510, but its dual-core processor is far nippier and it can also handle HD video and
If a netbook with HD video credentials is what you've been craving, the Samsung N510 is an excellent example. It's a little on the expensive side, though, so it's worth checking competing offerings before settling.
Scores In Detail
- Battery Life