Samsung N230 – A Netbook that Slipped Under the Radar

For whatever reason, I had never heard of the Samsung N230 until just a few days ago. I knew that Samsung had made their way into the netbook market because of some of their other best selling computers, but the N230 jumped out at me by chance one afternoon and I was pretty excited I found it.

Now, before I dive into all of the nitty gritty of what’s beneath the plastic shell of the N230, I’d like to make it clear that you’re not going to be blown away. “Wow, that’s quite the blow to deliver early on in a review” you might say. Well, you’re right. It may be harsh of me to say that this netbook doesn’t have much going for it that other computers on the market do, but that’s its most redeeming feature. Because netbooks are now moving into dual-core realm and performance is increasing with each new day, older netbooks like this one are becoming a lot to cheaper to own. While I’m not the type to grab a computer that’s a little out of date, people like my grandparents would jump at the opportunity to save on a new tech gadget that they may only use for basic web browsing and document typing.

People often forget that computers today (and even those 5 years ago) are still amazing creations of human engineering and for many folks, they’re more than enough to perform the basic computing tasks they need to do. Web browsing and document creation haven’t changed all that much over the past few years, but computers have gotten a lot more expensive. If you’re not looking for a performance beast and would like to save a little money in the process, I recommend the N230 as a sturdy alternative to some of the newer computers that come with high powered processors and graphics cards that are unnecessary unless you’re gaming or enjoying high definition content.

The Basic Features and Review

The Samsung N230 comes stocked with a lot of the same innards as other netbooks on the market. You’ll get a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N450 processor and 1GB of DDR2 RAM. Also, the 10.1” screen is stunning to look at, not because of the quality of the screen itself, but because of the brightness punch it packs. I was barely able to turn the screen brightness all of the way up without finding myself wanting to turn it back down again. One complaint I had about the screen and video performance in general was no HDMI out was available. While I said in the beginning of the review that this machine was geared more towards casual business users and my grandparents, HDMI out is always nice to have if you want to try and watch a movie on the big screen at home as opposed to on your lap in an airport or on the couch.

There are 2 USB 2.0 ports on the right side of the machine right next to a 10/100 ethernet port, and on the left side of the computer is the additional USB port. The keyboard can feel a little cramped if you’re not used to the miniature chiclet keyboards found on netbooks these days, so you may have to practice a little bit before you’re back typing as fast as you could on your old laptop or desktop keyboard.

The weight of this little business machine is phenomenal. Coming in at just over 2 pounds, it feels like you’re carrying nothing when you have to put it into your briefcase or backpack for an afternoon.

The 250GB hard drive is plenty big for all of your movies, music, and photos. Unfortunately, like almost all netbooks, you’re not going to get a CD/DVD drive on the N230. An external optical drive isn’t expensive, but it’s kind of a pain to have to try and carry it around with you if you think you’ll be putting CDs and DVDs into your computer all day.

Most striking about this machine is the finish. There are chrome plates holding the keyboard to the main body of the PC that look stunning. And the black finish on the top cover and around the screen gives this netbook a very professional feel to it.

  • Intel N450 1.66GHz Processor
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 250GB Hard Drive
  • 7 Hours Battery Life
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • 10.1” Screen

Wrap-Up

What did I like about the N230? Well, quite frankly I liked it all. The portability of the computer makes it an easy choice for someone looking to bring their netbook to the office for the day, as well as for someone that moves around the house frequently. Also, there weren’t any outrageous design flaws that would make the computer lacking in any way. Usually you’ll find things like out of place keys or awkward USB ports that detract from the experience, but none of those were found here.

Best of all is the price. Because the machine doesn’t try and outdo any of the competition with overpriced webcams and extra features, you get a sturdy machine for a very nice price; a winner in my book.

In the cons department though, we have the performance issue to talk about. Although I said early on that you shouldn’t expect this to be a beast of a PC, it’s hard not to want a little extra push from it. We understand that the added performance will be a drain on the battery (which is currently at about 7 hours), but if we had to plug it in just to be able to watch HD content or utilize DDR3 RAM, we’d make the sacrifice.

All in all, this is a wonderful machine for those not looking to spend a lot and still get optimal basic performance out of their netbook. Don’t expect to edit HD video with it, but you’ll be able to browse the web fluidly and without hiccups.

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