Product Type: Samsung Netbook
Newest Review: ... though, as some people won't possess the technical knowledge to do this and so will always have an under-performing machine. The N2... more
A great buy - at the right price
Samsung N210 Plus
Member Name: jennikitten
Samsung N210 Plus
Advantages: See review
Disadvantages: See review
After reading a lot of reviews, I decided that the N210 Plus was my netbook of choice. Samsung can always be relied upon to produce attractive, high-quality products without the price tags of Apple, and I've never been let down by them. I have various other Samsung products including a notebook, TV and phone, so I'm confident it's a brand that provides value for money and longevity.
I was slightly concerned that this netbook appeared to have a few average/poor reviews, but a closer examination revealed that these reviews were comparing it to the previous model, the N210, and saying that it didn't prove to be much of an update. Since I didn't have the N210, this was a moot point because the N210 is now quite a bit more expensive than the N210 Plus due to being harder to get hold of.
- Appearance -
This netbook is available in black or white, and I went for the white option. The lid is slightly odd in that it's not plain white; close up it's got a strange brick-like pattern on it. I'm not sure why, and to be honest I'm not crazy about it but it's not massively noticeable so that's ok. It also says 'SAMSUNG' in silver across one side. It does feel of good quality; better than most netbooks I've seen. It's pretty durable, because it's handled being thrown around in my mine and my boyfriend's bags.
The keyboard has raised keys; the letter and number keys all seem to be standard size, and the space bar and backspace keys are a little shorter than average. I haven't found this a problem, and the keys are easy to clean between as well which is a bonus.
The look and feel of the N210 Plus is a particularly good one overall; it's smart and modern, the keys are tactile, the lid is pretty flexible and the only thing which looks slightly on the cheap side is the (matte) screen, although it does seem to be pretty durable and it's not noticeable unless the computer is off.
- Features & Set Up -
After I'd finished admiring it, I went about switching on the computer for the first time. The on/off switch is a slide one on the front right, and I initially mistook it for a slide switch to open the lid! Once I realised it was the on/off switch, I was a bit concerned that I would switch it off and on accidentally whilst lying in bed, but I've not had that problem.
The netbook took a surprisingly long time to perform its initial set up process; although I didn't really have to do much, I got very impatient as it took around 45 mins or so. After that I had to spend time getting rid of tons of pre-installed junk including trials of both Norton and McAfee, a game pack and various other useless things.
In normal use the netbook is pretty fast at booting up, shutting down and going in and out of sleep mode. Sleep mode is literally about 3-4 seconds, and starting up and shutting down probably takes about 45. Having said that I'm not storing much on it and purposely trying to avoid working it hard.
This netbook doesn't come with a CD/DVD drive, which may be an issue for some - however it does have Bluetooth, a multi-card reader and two USB ports so you can transfer anything you need across from another computer (although this is admittedly sometimes more of a hassle and occasionally requires some preparation). You can also buy a separate CD/DVD drive to plug in if needed.
Included in the box is an instruction manual and a small, lightweight charger which has a light to show whether it's plugged in or not and a good length of cord.
- Typical Use -
Netbooks aren't really designed to be your main computer, so if you're expecting to replace a regular laptop or desktop then you aren't going to be too impressed. Anything other than simple games provides a bit of a struggle, so don't buy this if you're a heavy gamer. Video can sometimes be a bit laggy as well, though it is watchable. I would recommend putting video on your hard drive and watching it from there rather than streaming it. It's good to take on long journeys - simply download a film or TV episodes (or transfer from another computer via a USB stick), and you've got what is essentially a 'portable DVD player' with a great battery life and lots more functionality. Because the hard drive is so big, you could store at least 300 full-length films on there so it's not like you've got to mess around with (or carry around) lots of discs. Train lines are starting to offer wi-fi connections as well, so it's a great little portable device. For web browsing it's also good, and of course for working with things like Word documents and spreadsheets.
- Battery Life -
The battery life is advertised as being 'up to eleven hours', and I find that I can comfortably get eight or nine hours use' with light browsing, basic games such as Solitaire, and a couple of documents open.
- Weight -
This netbook isn't the lightest I've ever come across, but it is considerably lighter than my 11" Samsung notebook. The fact that it doesn't have a CD/DVD drive helps matters. I can easily fit it into a regular sized shoulder bag (a large handbag really) and carry it around for a while with no problems.
- Operating System -
The N210 Plus is installed with Windows 7 Starter. This does have some limitations, including the fact that there's no hibernate mode and you can't change the desktop background without faffing with a workaround (there are various options on Google). Lack of hibernate mode is annoying because the netbook does tend to lose quite a bit of battery life even in sleep mode. However, there's the option to upgrade to Windows 7 Premium, which is only about £20, if this is a concern. Windows 7 Starter is a pretty standard operating system for netbooks to be fair, and if you're upgrading to Premium then you'll probably want to upgrade the RAM from 1GB to 2GB as well, which again will cost you around £20 and is apparently a very easy process.
- Price -
I was lucky enough to pick this up for just under £240, as Amazon's price was lower then and they did a 10% off promotion. The price for both black and white models now on Amazon is around £285-290, and to be honest I'd be reluctant to recommend it at that price as there's very little difference between technical specs of netbooks. You could easily pick up an Acer or a Toshiba with the same specs for £240 or less.
- Extras -
This netbook doesn't come with a sleeve, so I'd recommend buying one to protect it. You can buy them from lots of places, including Amazon, eBay and Etsy, the latter two of which are particularly good if you don't want to opt for a dark, plain sleeve.
I'd also recommend downloading OpenOffice, which is a free alternative to Microsoft Office, and worth downloading if, like me, the N210 Plus isn't your main computer and you don't want to fork out for MS Office again.
- Final Thoughts -
If you're thinking about going for a netbook and you're worried the keys will be too small or the screen won't be big enough, then the Samsung N210 Plus would be a good choice. If, however, you're looking for something extremely tiny and lightweight then you probably want to look elsewhere; there are many smaller sized netbooks on the market, although you will have to accept a shorter battery life as the trade-off.
I would definitely recommend this laptop (if you can get it under £250 or particularly like Samsung products) for:
* Students wanting a lightweight solution to take to lectures or the library
* People who spend a lot of time commuting or travelling on trains generally
* Parents who want to keep kids occupied on long car journeys
* People who are considering buying a portable DVD player
- Tech Specs -
RAM Size: 1 GB
Processor Speed: 1.66 GHz
Hard Drive Size: 250 GB
Operating System: Windows 7 Starter
Screen Size: 10.1 inches
More tech specs can be found for this product on Amazon.
- Overall -
A good buy if it can be found at the right price.
Summary: 4 stars