Samsung N230 Review
Terrific design, Ultra Thin Chassis (1 inch), Great keyboard, Matte Screen
No dedicated graphics chipset
The Samsung N230 was first made available in July and it has an ultra thin chassis of just 1 inch, a strong 7 hr battery life, great keyboard and matte screen. The only complaint I can have is the lack of any type of hardware based video support and this is more of a want than a complaint. Hands down this is one of the best Samsung netbooks I've ever reviewed. The best part is that it's only $330.79.
Quick Product Specs:
Intel Atom N450 1.6 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 250 GB Hard Drive, Windows 7 Starter (See full specs)
The netbook is only 1 inch thick partly thanks to it's thin 3 cell battery but also due to it's slimmed down design. The netbook features a matte screen which makes it excellent for using outside and it also makes use of the newer chiclet style keyboard that looks great. The top lid does attract fingerprint smudges; however, that isn't enough of a deterrent for me to be too bothered over because the rest of the netbook looks so sleek and thin.
The Samsung N230's keyboard is outstanding. It is the newer chiclet style keyboard which provides more space between each key and is 93% full size. I don't know why every netbook manufacturer hasn't adopted this layout because it's superb and continues to impress me in every netbook I use. It's very easy to type and I was able to type at full speed in less than a couple minutes of adjusting from my desktop keyboard. The touchpad is very responsive and another great feature of this netbook - I personally use the touchpad over an external mouse on almost every netbook that I buy so this is usually a deal breaker for me and fortunately the Samsung N230 failed to disappoint. The touchpad is sizeable and the accompanying buttons are also very responsive as well.
The 1024 x 600 resolution we've grown accustomed to seeing in previous netbooks is back again in the N230. I personally would like to see the higher resolution of 1366 x 768; however, I believe this will be a slow transition as netbooks begin to feature better graphic capabilities. As mentioned before, the netbook does feature a matte screen which makes the N230 an ideal choice for users looking for an indoor and outdoor computing machine.
The Samsung N230 has a 3 cell battery; however, the small battery capacity packs a punch and provided an average battery life of about 7 hours. I think the battery life is more than sufficient because part of what I love so much about this netbook is it's sleek design. Without the smaller 3 cell battery we'd have a netbook that was much thicker instead of this stealthy 1 inch thick size instead. If you know you'll need a strong battery life than what the N230 provides than your decision is simple, but something with a 6 cell battery. I prefer to keep the Samsung the way it is with the smaller battery for the design's sake and reduction in weight.
Overall I think the Samsung N230 does several things right for only $330.79: the keyboard, design, matte screen, strong battery life (for a 3 cell) and solid build quality. There are just a couple things I would have liked to see changed with this netbook and that includes the 1024 x 600 resolution (give me 1366 x 768) and the lack of a dedicated graphics support option; however, these two "faults" could be considered more wants than necessity as no comparably priced netbook is offering them. The only thing you really need to decide is if you do need better graphic support or a stronger battery life. If you don't need these two than I recommend you buy the Samsung N230. If in the end you need more juice to get you through the day or stronger graphic support I suggest you look at some of the 10 inch options via our netbook comparison grid.