Samsung N150 Review: A Well Balanced Machine

I recently went through an outlined by favorite netbook out of Samsung’s lineup, the NF310. While it may be the most powerful of the bunch, the extra kick of a dual core processor and accelerated graphics card isn’t for everyone. And if you’re one of those people who just needs a computer to do “computer” things, as opposed to game and watch high definition content, then you may be interested in the Samsung N150.

The computer doesn’t stand out among the lineup of other netbooks in the same class as it, and that’s kind of the point. Samsung obviously build a flagship computer with the NF310, but built the N150 to continue their reputable product lines with a more affordable and (I hate to use the word) “average” model. Below you will find out what’s under the hood of the N150, as well as why I still think it’s a great contender for your next netbook even if it doesn’t blow any of the other options out of the water.

The Complaints

It may seem odd that I’m putting the “cons” section first instead of telling you about all of the positive things to begin with. The reason I’m starting out with the complaints is because while they apply to this Samsung in particular, they’re also directed towards almost all netbooks ever. I wanted to get the standard netbook issues out of the way to begin with so that we can weed through the rest of what makes this machine actually unique.

Netbooks aren’t known to be the fastest computers on the block, meaning you probably won’t be able to head to a PC gaming championship with this machine, nor will you be able to do things like watch high definition content. The reason for this is that almost all netbooks these days are built on Intel’s Atom processor which runs at right around 1.6GHz. Compared to ten years ago, it’s a beast, but considering the applications we have to run these days, it’s only ever going to be able to handle doing a few things at a time: not Photoshop.

Another downfall is of course the RAM. Even though another 1GB of RAM would cost the computer manufacturers an extra $5 to put in, they still leave it out. To have this Samsung, or any netbook for that matter, succeed at not bogging down from startup applications, you’re going to need to buy a second gigabyte of RAM. It’s a bit of an added cost on the front end, but you’ll thank me later that you put it in.

Having said all of that, let’s take a look at why this average machine is a bit better than just middle of the road.

The Pros

It may not seem like a big deal, but keyboards on netbooks are small. I mean really small. The chiclet keys on the N150 don’t quite fit that mold. Samsung went out of their way to fit an almost completely full sized keyboard onto the body of this thing and it really pays off. Instead of having your fingers cramped over the keyboard all afternoon as you bang out some work notes, you can relax your hands a little more so that your fingers aren’t all bunched together. There’s no more “getting used to the keyboard” time frame.

Another awesome feature that isn’t found in most other netbooks is the battery life. Competitors claim to get anywhere between 6-8 hours of battery life and usually clocking in at around 5 for real computer use. Samsung advertises 7…..and gets 7. They’re not trying to lie about their battery life and it pays off. 7 hours is a long time to be able to go without plugging your computer in, which makes it very convenient for bringing to work or somewhere that you may not be able to set it down to work for a while.

Specifications

  • 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 Processor
  • 1GB DDR2 Memory; 160GB Hard Drive
  • Longer battery-powered performance of up to 7 hours*. *Battery life based on independent MobileMark test scores
  • 10.1″ Non-glare Display; Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150
  • Genuine Microsoft Windows 7 Starter Edition

Conclusion

As you can see from the specs, there’s nothing on the inside of this that screams “pick me.” Instead, you have to consider other bonuses like a better feeling keyboard and longer battery life. When almost all of the netbooks with these innards cost about the same, going with the Samsung gets you a little bit more than you get with the other guys. Also, remember that if you pick up this Samsung, be sure to buy another 1GB of RAM to expand it to the maximum 2GB. Windows 7 eats up a lot of memory quickly, so having the extra memory in reserve will come in handy when you’re testing the limits of your new netbook.

If you own the N150 and would like to let us know what you think of it, please let us know in the comments below.

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