A large-screen netbook that can play HD video
Like a netbook, it is missing a CD or DVD drive, instead using the space saved to reduce its overall size. It’s a slimline device and easy to carry around, but it’s larger than most of its rivals as it has a 12in widescreen rather than 10in.
It’s similar in size to the Packard Bell Dot m/a computer but its graphics capabilities account for the price premium.
Most netbooks are designed for office work, mobility and to play basic video, but the Samsung N510 uses Nvidia’s new Ion graphics chipset so it can play video much better than other computers.
We tested it with a few standard high-definition movie clips in the 720p format, something that would be fine on many desktops and larger notebooks but without would usually tax a netbook to its limits, resulting in stuttering, juddery playback.
On the N510 our sample clips played back beautifully and looked superb on the reasonably large screen.
The computer comes with a HDMI connector to attach it to a flat-panel TV or a high-definition projector and has three USB sockets and a wired network port (it can also connect to wired networks and Bluetooth devices).
The design is nice and flat without the rounded curves of its brother, the N310, and there is a slight jut at the bottom of the body from the large battery, which gave four hours in our tests.
Despite the large screen, it’s still a slim laptop and easy to carry around.
The N510 comes with the Samsung power-management software to control the brightness, processor power and more to conserve the battery when the computer is not plugged in.
The keyboard size is reasonable, with keys big enough to type on and comfortable enough for long periods of typing. The trackpad also benefits from the larger size of the N510, as it’s a bit bigger than most.
For simple office and internet tasks the N510 is overkill. A smaller, cheaper device such as the Samsung N310 is more than adequate for this and even for playing standard video.
For those who want to do a bit more, though, or those who just want a mobile laptop with a bigger screen the N510 is an excellent choice.
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The large screen and good graphics are attractive, but the battery life is sparse Good points Large enough for comfortable typing; big screen; great video capability Bad points Limited battery life
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