- Eye-catching curvaceous internal design
- Excellent battery life
- Spongy keyboard
- Slightly uneven backlight
- It's a dust and fingerprint magnet
Review Price £638.84
Samsung's latest 13.3in ultraportable sports the same curvy design we rather liked on the NF210. In fact, if you ignore the SF310's 'buttonless' touchpad and its extra connectivity, these two could have been separated at birth. However, the SF310 isn't just a pretty face; you also get Nvidia's Optimus graphics backed by a very competent spec, and claimed battery life of over seven hours, making this one very enticing package.
For anyone who hasn't read through our NF210 review, Samsung has used a process it calls In Mold Rolling (IMR) to achieve the unique, organic curves that set this laptop apart from the competition. To either side of the keyboard, rising 'waves' push the screen's bezel into a sympathetically concave shape. Though all the bits that matter (the lid's top and the keyboard area) are perfectly flat, when viewed from the side the illusion that the entire machine is curved is difficult to dismiss. The effect is enhanced by the contrast between the SF310's white outer shell and black innards, which are separated by chrome trim.
Practically the design is less successful, in that this laptop still suffers from fingerprints and dust, but at least the white outer finish does its best to hide these, and the faux brushed metal palm rest and machined touchpad only show them off at specific angles. Though by no means flimsy, in terms of build quality there's also a little more creak than we would like, but overall it's still an attractive, ergonomic and well-built machine.
Of course, fancy designs mean little without the specifications to back them up, and the SF310 delivers in this regard. The cast is headed by a 2.53GHz Core i5 Intel 460M processor, which with dual cores and Hyperthreading support is plenty of power even for more demanding tasks. This is backed by a healthy 4GB of DDR3 RAM (the maximum this laptop's single SODIMM slot supports) and a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Premium, while for storage there's a 320GB, 5,400rpm hard drive.
The highlight of this machine though is its graphics, for in addition to the inevitable integrated Intel effort you'll also find a discrete Nvidia GeForce 310M card with 512MB of RAM. What's more, thanks to Optimus graphics switching technology, it can switch between these chips dynamically as needed - thus ensuring excellent battery life for productivity on the move and some proper graphics grunt when you play a game or use graphics card accelerated programs like Photoshop CS5.