So the instant-on OS is only a limited success, but Samsung comes up trumps again with the N210’s keyboard. It has opted for an isolation keyboard here, which not only looks good but is fantastic to type on. Keys are a shade smaller than the likes of the Acer Aspire One 532h, but they’re large enough to be comfortable and offer up faultless precision and feedback. Allied to an excellent layout, it’s a recipe for success. Our only gripe is that the front edge of machine feels a tad sharp, which can be a problem depending on where your wrists fall.
In comparison, the touchpad is merely okay. It’s not the smallest or largest we’ve seen on a netbook, but it’s about large enough to be comfortable and its buttons perfectly usable. It also sports multi-touch support, although it’s not that useful on a netbook.
To our great surprise the speakers on the N210 aren’t too bad, either. While bass is barely noticeable, the two speakers – which are housed just below the front edge – reach impressive volumes and with decent clarity, particularly for dialogue.
All of which is nice, but battery life is the one thing we’re really after and Samsung duly obliges with a generous six-cell, 5,900mAh (66 Watt-hour) battery. We managed over eight hours of video playback with wireless disabled, putting the N210 near the top of the new crop of netbooks in the market.
As we’ve mentioned in our other recent netbook reviews, though, the N210 still has to contend with previous generation netbooks – including the NC10 – that are still on sale for around £50 less. Models like the excellent Toshiba NB200 still offer near identical performance and features for less, which makes it difficult to recommend these new machines outright. However, of the ones we’ve looked at so far, the N210 is definitely the best.
Samsung continues to make all the right moves with its netbooks. While previous generation models still trump the N210 for value, among the new models it’s one of the most polished and complete.
Score in detail
Battery Life 9