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As a proud owner of a Samsung NC10, I decided to upgrade to the N510 as I just felt there was room for two netbooks in my life (and why not?!) and what could have been a better choice than the sleek and desirable design of the N510. What really snagged it for me, despite its design, was the introduction of a powerful nVIDIA GeForce Go 9400M graphics card (128mb). It was an easy decision to arrive at in the end, as I could take my NC10 out and about with me to deal with word processing and surfing the net and leave this graphical power house at home for when I feel like playing Football Manager 10. Admittedly my wide range of games isn't exactly inspiring, nor does it really test this machine to its full capability but I stick with what I like, and I like FM!
The first thing I noticed when I turned it on was the HD display, and the 11.6" screen was a welcome increase over the 10.1" on my NC10. Talking more specifically, the N510 can manage 1080P HD video with ease which is something the NC10 has never been in contention for.
The next notable difference was the battery life; I was searching for my N510 charger within no time, and this is not necessarily a negative attribute. I have been pushing the N510 on maximum battery settings to perform all sorts of things, and having a good level of graphics proved too much for what can be considered a 7 hour + battery life. This is in stark contrast to the NC10, purely because there is so much additional functionality on the N510, it isn't a fair comparison. On max battery saving, the N510 performs to an average standard of around 4 and a half hours whilst the NC10 manages the full 7 hour haul.
I am not a technical specialist so I can't go into the full details of specification comparison, although just through experience there is a notable speed difference while using the N510. It flows smoothly across all applications, and the transition between these is also fast and efficient. I have built databases, spreadsheet systems and updated my website with complete ease with the use of this lovely netbook, as well as made use of the graphical aspects with a new release game I mentioned earlier.
There is naturally going to be negatives with every product, and sadly the negative I have experienced after a month of owning this netbook is a flaw with the build quality. One day I opened the lid and mid opening I heard a cracking noise, it was the base coming apart at the back! I couldn't believe what I was seeing, with a full inch gap appearing between the build lines in the base. I didn't quite know what to do, so I closed the lid slowly and relieved the pressure on the base and this allowed me to remedy the situation, and close the gap until I heard a click. I had tried opening the lid again, but there was a definite slow creaking noise which indicated real problems. I contacted Amazon and attempted to have them collect and replace, however they pushed me towards Samsung who admittedly I have yet to contact. Hopefully they will repair the problem and I can continue enjoying my purchase, although I am concerned that after only a month of ownership, Amazon are passing the buck to the manufacturer already.
I won't end the review on a negative, as I feel that my build quality problem is most likely an isolated incident but nonetheless relevant to anyone thinking of buying this product. It should be noted that I have owned the Samsung NC10 for a couple of years now and it is in the same condition I received it on day one. Samsung are fast becoming known for their reliable products and great design, certainly taking a well deserved share in the netbook market. The most positive aspect of the N510, certainly for me, is the lightweight and slim line design. The netbook weighs in at 1.46kg and in comparison the NC10 is 1.33 kg; so despite the addition of the graphics card the weight difference is insignificant.
It may be an expensive price tag, especially if the graphical ability isn't what your heart is set on, but if you feel like being the envy of your colleagues, friends or even family, there isn't a better netbook on the market.