Samsung N310 - 10.2in Netbook - Samsung N310

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Despite its somewhat playful exterior, however, inside the N310 looks a mite more professional. Indeed, it oozes more class than 90 per cent of the netbooks that cross our paths - Eee PC 1008HA included. This is thanks to the combination of two increasingly popular elements: an edge-to-edge 'frameless' display and an isolation keyboard. These, coupled with the smooth matte black plastic, makes for a smart and very consistent appearance.

Best of all, though, is that keyboard. It has a near flawless layout - only the slightly small right-Shift key could be criticised - while the keys themselves have a very pleasant depth and response to them. It's definitely up there with the best netbook keyboards available, only really bested by the HP Compaq Mini 700.

Glossy and inevitably reflective finish apart, the display is also a good one. It's bright and sharp and the horizontal viewing angles are decent. Clearly it'll never win any awards for colour fidelity, no netbook would, but there's very little to complain about here.

Less positive things can be said of the speakers, though. Admittedly few netbooks can boast any prowess here either, but the N310 definitely ranks lower than most. They're just about passable for the occasional video clip, but their output is too tinny and lacking in volume for anything else.

However, what really lets the N310 down is its battery life. Its four-cell, 4,000mAh battery managed around 2 hours and 40 minutes of video playback at 50 per cent brightness, with Internet browsing bringing this figure down to around two hours and 30 minutes. These aren't terrible results and should be good enough for the average commute, but neither are they any better than the majority of netbooks costing £300 or less.

Indeed, if you're less concerned with battery life and features, but more with usability and affordability, the HP Compaq Mini 700 can now be had for as little as £250. It offers similar performance, albeit with a smaller hard drive, and while it lacks the funkiness of the N310, it isn't lacking in the style department. On the other side of the coin, the Asus Eee PC 1008HA has begun to sneak below the £370 level. Given it's arguably as stylish, exceedingly slim and offers far superior battery life, the N310 begins to look like an expensive luxury.


While the unusual design of the N310 will win it friends, in most other respects it's a decidedly average netbook with a relatively high price. If you fall in the love the look and don't mind spending a few extra pennies then it's still a nice machine, but there are plenty of cheaper or better alternatives.


June 11, 2009, 6:17 am

I think calling it exceeding durable might have been going a bit far, with a normal hard drive instead of an SSD and a glossy screen and plastic inside it's obviously more pretentious than practical in that respect and if you actually do start throwing it around it might not stand up much better than a normal netbook.

Still, I suppose it's a consolation prize for all those iBook users Apple has now rejected with the launch of Snow Leopard.


June 11, 2009, 9:48 am

Interesting price creep

NC10 = £299.99 ( all inc VAT BTW)

N110 = £349.99

N120 = £356.97

N310 = £376.17

Now there's added value! (25%+ increase in price) for how much real benefit. Seems more design over substance here, I'm sticking with the NC10


June 11, 2009, 1:21 pm

good going. now, make a 13 inch laptop version, with hdmi and a geforce 9400m. that might just be the laptop of the year :)


June 11, 2009, 2:57 pm

With Microsoft limiting the spec of what can be allowed in a netbook I guess manufacturers have to resort to tarting up the same old stuff in order to attempt to add value.

The main attraction of the original netbooks was that they were small and CHEAP. Whilst they are aimed at different segments of the market when you can get a normal laptop with a Core2 duo, 2GB memory, 160GB hdd, DVDRW, Vista (alas) Home Premium etc for less its hard to see the value in a netbook costing £376.


June 11, 2009, 3:25 pm

In fairness, this is a REALLY nice device in the flesh. It doesn't excuse the price per se (especially as the battery life is so poor) but it is definitely a cut above the rest.


June 11, 2009, 3:45 pm

£200 is the sweet spot; less than that is a bonus. Paying north of £350 is just ridiculous. Don't they know there's a recession?


June 11, 2009, 4:01 pm

Shame about the battery life, and the odd inclusion of the N270 rather than the N280 (although I imagine this makes a marginal difference to performance, if anything). I'd rather have the Asus 1008 I think.

Andy Vandervell

June 11, 2009, 4:08 pm

I'd say sub-£300 is the sweetspot for me. For that you should be able to get something with decent battery life. As the N270 vs the N280, subjectively there's sod all difference in performance.


June 11, 2009, 7:56 pm

True, although it's always nicer to have the newer one when possible! I too would like to find a nicely designed sub-£300 netbook with good battery life. I don't even particularly want one with Windows, I quite like playing with the various Linux distributions (and Moblin-based versions look very promising) and they all come with HDDs whereas I'd prefer a small-but-quick SSD. Doesn't seem to actually be one that caters for that though; the closest thing is the Dell Mini 10v but the screen resolution is less than the norm, which is disappointing.

Seems like the netbook manufacturers are focusing so much on the higher-end models that they've lost site of the lower end of the market. Shame really.


June 12, 2009, 3:08 am

I bought the NC10 because of how highly you guys rated it and I love the thing, but I'm confused by what Samsung has done since then. They got it right the first time and since have screwed it up. Switching to glossy screens is a huge mistake in my opinion. I HATE glossy screens with a passion, I want a screen I can look at in various levels of lighting. And the battery life on this model seems awfully low for a netbook. I mean my NC10 gets 6-8 hours easily with the brightness turned down a little (still highly usable). Until I see a dual core netbook with an anti-glare screen and good battery life I'll just stick with my NC10.


June 12, 2009, 2:32 pm

The N310 only has a 4cell battery which is why the battery life is not a long as the NC10 which has a 6 cell.

The N310 was designed by a famous designer in Korea: Nato Fukasawa.. so it's a good for him that TR gave the design a 9 out of 10 ;)

Jose E. Tan

August 20, 2009, 7:34 pm

Got an orange (more red actually) "refreshed" version of the N310 today here in Hong Kong for approx £370...refreshed features include a 6 cell battery (8+ hours usage), wireless b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 and an Atom N280 1.66Ghz processor...included in the price was an upgrade to 2G RAM.

BTW, the designer Naoto Fukasawa is Japanese, not Korean.

Halarpo Hala

October 27, 2009, 12:51 pm

confusing mish mash of model numbers


October 29, 2009, 11:56 pm

What is a 'refreshed' version, Jose? Is it available in the UK? I like the look of this, but its short battery life is a little offputting. Does anyone know how much a spare battery costs, or is it possible to buy a 6-cell battery separately? Thanks.

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