Tag Archive | "n350"

Samsung N350 Dual-Core Netbook Mini-Review+Video. 10/10 for Fast Start. 3/6 for Battery Life!

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It’s time to say good bye to the Samsung N350 that I’ve been using for the last 2 weeks and to round-up my thoughts. Rarely does a device slot straight into my workflow as easily as the N350 did. I was able to switch from my XP-based Gigabyte Touchnote (with SSD and 2GB upgrade) to the N350 with no issues whatsoever. Even Windows 7 Starter Edition was flexible enough that it didn’t limit me in my normal work. Picking up the Touchnote today reminded me how heavy it is and as the N350 is my first ‘transparent’ Windows 7-on-a-netbook experience, I don’t want to go back to XP either.

For me, it’s the dual-core that finally makes Windows 7 transparent. Finally I can use Windows 7 on a netbook without having to optimise and without noticing hangs and delays as disks and CPUs race to keep up with the behind-scenes activities. As a bonus, the dual-core also boosts Web-based work nicely too. No, unfortunately, dual-core doesn’t mean its twice as fast but it’s noticeably faster and bringing no noticeable penalties in battery life. In fact, I would argue that you can get a lot more done on the dual-core in the same battery life. Why would you choose a single core Atom netbook now?

Build , keyboard, mouse, screen and disk seem to be high-quality and the weight really helps. The only problem here is that the weight is kept to 1KG by going back to the original 3-cell setup of early netbooks. Add the 6-cell option (a shocking 139 Euro) and you’re up to 1.2KG just like every other netbook out there. Battery life becomes the main concern and if you want more than 4hrs of worry-free working without plugging in, the N350 is probably not for you.

Samsung N350 Netbook (3) Samsung N350 Netbook (14)Samsung N350 Netbook (10)

More images in the Gallery

Having said that, the N350 is an efficient build with a good quality 3-cell battery (33Wh) and in my usage last week, a mix of web, writing and email at a 3-day conference, 5 days in a hotel, I was regulalry reaching 5 hours. I kept the screen fairly low, worked a lot in power saving mode and got myself into the habit of closing the lid when waling away from the device. This kicks-in the ‘fast start’ mode.

Fast-start is some form of hybrid standby and hibernate mode. You get minimal battery drain (I measured 16% drain in 48 hours) but a 5-second boot. You’re connected to the internet in well under 10 seconds from lifting the lid and imporantly, it works reliably. I haven’t seen any hiccups and although this isn’t the ‘always on’ I’d like to see on Intel platforms soon, it’s something else i’ll miss when I go back to my personal netbook.

Video playback from disk gets a good boost with the dual-core CPU. Probably one of the biggest measurable improvements in all. A 4Mbps Divx played out of the box on Windows Media Player without  the CPU at about  20%. H.264 should play up to about 5Mbps and WMV at 720p resolution and 7.5Mbps is no problem at all. While not quite 1080p capable, it’s a smooth and acceptable video experience. Expect about 3.5 hours from the battery in this mode. Unfortunately, YouTube at 720p is still not reliable enough to be said to be working. You’ll see a couple of examples in the video below. One works, the other, a dynamic video, doesn’t.

Samsung N350 Netbook (12) Samsung N350 Netbook (13)

More detailed ‘first impression’ notes are in the article: Samsung N350 First Impressions (Post Live Review. ) These notes were based ona 3hr live testing session. Unfortunately, the videos from that session failed due to technical problems.

In the video below you’ll hear me talk about two other interesting netbooks that fall into the same price bracket as the N350. The first is the single-core Samsung N230. It uses the same design and includes the fast-start feature but here’s the reason you might actually opt for a single-core over the dual-core – the N230 includes a 6-cell battery (check capacity – there are different qualities of 6-cell pack out there) which is likely to take it all the way up to 10 hours. The choice is a simple one between performance and battery life. Alternatively, there’s the new Asus EeePC 1015PN which is 1.2KG, has a 6-cell battery and the dual-core CPU. It also has the Nvidia ION2 graphics inside which means you get full HD performance, better gaming capability, some video editing capability and an HDMI out. If you don’t need the ION2, you can turn it off! For the same price as the N350 it’s a tough choice.

While the N350 is a premium netbook and a great starting point for a good performing, lightweight device, if you don’t want this ‘fast-start’ option and you need more battery life, you might want to be taking a closer look at the 1015PN. If that fast-start and 1KG starting point interests you though, the N350 is an excelent choice. Look out for offers and 6-cell variants. If you can find the high quality 6-cell variant (64Wh capacity) on offer for under 400 Euros, buy it!

Also expected – 3G version. There’s a SIM slot and 3G model space on the motherboard.

More information, specifications, links and videos in our Samsung N350 information page.

Apple Mac Book Air, Toshiba AC100 and Samsung N350 in Size Comparison

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One of them costs €299, one of them costs €360 and the other, €999. All of them weigh between 867gm and 1060gm. One runs on ARM/Android, one runs on Windows/Intel Atom and the other runs OSX/Intel Core 2 Duo. All are ‘instant’ on.

At the MeeGo conference last week I had the chance to check out the Apple Mac Book Air. I had the lightest Intel Netbook (Samsung N350) and lightest ‘smart’ book (Toshiba AC100) with me at the time. I knew the Apple Mac Book Air (11.6”) was small but I was quite shocked to feel exactly how light it was. Ultra Mobile for me starts at about 1KG and the MBA fits in nicely. Battery life for me starts at 4hrs and the MBA fits in nicely again. Computing power for me must include a full web browser, a desktop OS and some video editing capability. The MBA fits in nicely, again, again!

We need to talk more about the MBA on UMPCPortal and I’ll be looking for a test sample soon so that we can get down to the detail but in the meantime, have a think about portability and capability with these images I took and feel free to comment below. This isn’t your ‘mobile’ ultra mobile PC but it’s a fine competitor to the traditional netbook. Price is a huge factor but in return you get some amazing electronic and design engineering…


Click through for larger images.

Samsung N350 First Impressions (Post Live Review)

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Although the technology behind our live review on Friday evening wasn’t too stable, I’m happy to report that the N350 is. Apologies to all those that experienced the dropouts. With a free video streaming service I guess there’s not much we can complain about but we’ll do our best to improve it next time.

We’re testing the Samsung N350 because it’s one of, if not the lightest netbook on the market. Not only that but it’s a dual-core Atom netbook using the N550 processor at 1.5Ghz. For those who already have a netbook and are looking to upgrade without having to increase the weight, the N350 has to be at the top of the list. Not only is is running the N550 CPU but there’s easy access to the DDR3 RAM for an upgrade and a standard 2.5” SATA drive that can be replaced with an SSD if you want to improve ruggedness. (Disk upgrade will void the warranty though.) Unfortunately there’s no 3G in this version but there’s a covered SIM card slot and space on the motherboard so clearly there are plans to release a 3G-capable model. The only thing you have to think carefully about is the battery life. More about that below.

The matt  screen and good build quality – I’m typing stress-free and almost silently on my train journey to Duesseldorf this morning – add to the quality package and it looks like Samsung have once again done a great job. You’ll pay 20-50 Euro more for the N350 than for other, similar netbooks but for mobile use, it’s worth it.

Samsung N350 on Train 141120103247 141120103248

When Intel introduced the Dual-Core Atom this year they demonstrated high quality video playback. Sure, the performance is better but don’t get too excited about very high-end video. For one, you’ve only got a 1024×600 screen with VGA out. Secondly, that all-important benchmark of 720p YouTube is hit-and-miss. In our tests we didn’t see smooth playback at all. Offline videos do work well though with 720p at high bitrates possible. We saw a 4mbps DivX playing with just 25% CPU load, an H.264 at 2mbps playing at 40% load and a 7.5Mbps WMV at 40% load. All this is happening through the CPU and not through dedicated video hardware.

In our CrystalMark test we saw an impressive 36000 which the highest we’ve ever tested on a stock netbook. The CPU score and memory speed was impressive. An SSD could push that score up a lot higher though as we’re only seeing average disk performance. In practice the disk seems quite  good though with a boot taking just 40 seconds. We got from cold boot to Wifi-On in just 55 seconds. Return from standby is quick too with Wii available in 10s. There’s a ‘quick boot’ option which we worked our way through but despite the 10 minute set-up, it did’t bring any huge improvements in cold boot. Maybe we need to look further into that because it sounds like a good idea, at least.

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Easy access to RAM upgrade.

Battery life could be an issue on the N350. With 80% of the battery left we’re seeing an impressive 5hrs left but that’s the good side of the story. The range of battery drain on the N350 ranges from an impressive 3W, (again, the best we’ve ever seen on a netbook) up to well over 10W. 12W is probably the limit but with Wifi connected, screen level to 50% (brighter than most people will require) and a few Flash-enabled browser tabs open while you do some web work, you’ll see an average 10W drain. It’s no worse than any other netbook but it will drain the battery in about 3.5hrs. Fortunately the device idles down well. We’re typing away happily at 25% screen brightness, Wifi and BT off in power saving mode and 5hrs seems possible. For those just wanting to do some word processing, it’s a good result from a 33Wh battery.

So what is the Dual-core CPU bringing? We mentioned the better video performance above but one of the main things we’ve noticed is the smothness of the Win 7 experience. We’ve experienced a certain amount of lag in previous Windows 7 netbooks that we’ve tested but this build seems to match the requirements of Windows 7 very well. OK, were only running Windows 7 Starter edition here but that doesn’t deter from the fact that the N350 is a product that works smoothly. The other advantage we’ve noticed is the speed and smoothness of browsing. We’re using Firefox 3.6 with Flash enabled and there’s a definite improvement over previous generation and single core Pinetrail netbooks. Although we haven’t tested it, we suspect a 2GB RAM upgrade and an SSD would turn this into quite the performer for both speed and multitasking although don’t expect to render those videos in much less time than on a normal netbook.  As a reference point, we’re seeing about 20% improvement in the SunSpider result under Chrome. 1300ms isn’t too bad and that 20% figure is what you should expect as a general improvement over-all. Dual-core doesn’t directly translate to 2x performance!

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The N350 is delivering a smooth, quality and highly mobile netbook experience and one we’re very happy with. The battery life is definitely something to think about and most mobile workers are going to want to invest in at least a second three-cell battery.  Those wanting a high-end Flash video experience will want to evaluate requirements tightly too. At 1060gm and with RAM and SSD upgrade possibilities, the N350 is one to take a closer look at if you’re wanting a highly mobile full computing experience.

We’re using the N350 at the MeeGo Conference in Dublin this week so check back for more long-term thoughts soon. This review written on-the-go using the N350, the  Nokia N82 for photography and a Samsung Galaxy Tab as a 3G access point.

Samsung N350. The 1000gm Netbook arrives soon for Live Session.

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Heads up! If you’re interested in a mobile netbook with a touch more oomph! than your average Atom N450 based device you’ll want to tune in here over the next few days because the Samsung N350 dual-core Atom netbook is on its way.
The N350 is one I’ve had my eye on as a possible upgrade to my trusty Gigabyte Touchnote so it will be coming with me to Dublin and the Meego conference next week where it will get a good workout. Before that though, we need to do a live review with it and JKK and I are planning to get busy with it at 2100 CET (Berlin) on Friday. As always with the Friday sessions, bring a bottle of your favorite tipple!
I’ll  update here or on twitter @chippy with any changes to the plan.

Update: Session is over. I’ll be writing up the results of the testing for Sunday14th – Summary: It’s a high quality netbook but we only got 3.5hrs (estimated based on 2hrs of tests) of battery life. A six-cell battery is available for a rather shocking 130 Euros. The total weight with the 6-cell would be about 1200gm.

N350 Opened-Up. Easy Mem and Disk Upgrade

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I’m quite the fan of the Samsung N350. 1KG and 4 or 5 hours of dual-core productivity. That’s impressive, especially when you can double that with just 200gm or so of extended battery. What I’m waiting for though is a 3G version because as you’ll see in the video below, RAM and SSD upgrade will be easy but the PCI-Express Mini slot is just a placeholder. No connector or antenna. Looks like I’ll be waiting for a 3G version although with the Galaxy Tab giving me an estimated 8-10 hours as a 3G hotspot, maybe I’m covered! I’ll see if I can get hold of an N350 for deep testing soon.

The video below is via Ndevil TV who have a number of other reports (text in German but some videos also in English.)

Samsung N350 – 1KG, Dual-Core Netbook Now Available in UK, DE. Unboxed!

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This month has to be one of my favorite since I started blogging about mobile computing but the icing on the cake has to be the return of the 1KG netbook. I’ve had hands-on and I really like this Samsung N350. So much so that if it turns up in a 3G version, it will probably replace my ‘old’ Gigabyte Touchnote 3G. That extra core will smooth out the transition from XP to Vista and maybe, just maybe, allow me to switch to 720p video editing – a badly need upgrade from my current 480p YouTube format.

At 399 Euros, it’s 50 Euros more than we were expecting and it’s also only coming with 1GB and Windows Starter so I hope Samsung have plans for other versions soon. Note that it doesn’t have the 1024×768 Screen that Samsung told us about at IFA. I’d pay up to 500 Euro for a Home Premium 3G version of this. I’ll drop my 2GB RAM and Runcore SSD in from my Touchnote and it should fly!

Anyway, enough about me and my wishes, it’s over to Balazs of Ndevil.tv now as he’s kindly done an unboxing of the German model, in English.

More details about the N350 in our product database (videos, specs, newslinks, comparison)

Samsung N350 – More Analysis, Hands-on Video

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It’s so good to be able to finally bring you some mobile computing news over here at UMPCPortal. The lions share went to our consumer-focused site, Carrypad [see all our consumer tablet news from IFA here] and to be honest, I didn’t see a single UMPC-style product at IFA. It’s telling.

There are a lot of positive points to pull out of IFA though. 1 – Android products are getting better and all the major manufacturers are committed to getting some tablet and smart book products out there. Some will reach the market in the next month. 2 -  As we get nearer towards Android 3.0 the developers must be thinking about the opportunities and i’m 100% sure we’re going to see the productive end of the Android applicaton spectrum blossom during 2011. 3-  We also saw some progress from Moblin. The first Moblin-based product is about to launch [WeTab – Details] and the feedback from the product developers was very positive.  Again, we’re going to see some good developments in the AppUp market here so that’s good news for 2011.  [Sidenote: We’re participating in AppUp Elements next week so we’ll have the latest info for you then.] Finally, I was extremely happy to see the 1KG Samsung N350 at IFA. Having recently written a report on mobile netbooks, I’m confident in saying that the N350 is the best solution out there. Dual-core Atom is going to bring Windows 7 application fluidity and enable basic use of video and audio editing apps. It might also allow me to finally step up from VGA to 720p in my video process. I’ll be testing it as soon as I can.

Samsung N350 (22) Samsung N350 (2) Samsung N350 (5) Samsung N350 (7) Samsung N350 (11)

Full gallery here.

Previous article on the Samsung N350 here.

When the details have been added to our database, they will be here.

The N350 offers 1024×768 (So say Samsung. More real estate at the expense of vertically-squashed pixels?) with a non-glossy finish. No digital a/v out is offered but VGA is there. You’ve also got an easy RAM upgrade slot and the promise of 3G / 4G (which means there’s a swappable module in there somewhere.) Battery life is said to in the region of 13 hours for the 6-cell battery. The 1KG version will have the 3-cell battery and offer, in real-terms, about 4-5hrs. The screen / price / power / battery life ratio there is unbeatable. Expect about 100-150gm extra weight for the 6-cell battery – still an unbeatable combo in my opinion.

The N350 on the show-floor was only running an N450 so its not possible to tell you about the performance but even the N455 model I tested was smooth. There’s obviously a fast SATA drive in there which could easily be swapped out for an even faster / more rugged SSD if needed.

Base pricing (lets hope it’s not for the N450 model) is 400-450. If the pricing is for an entry-level single core version then you’re looking at 499 Euro for the dual-core version. Add about 80 Euro for the 3G version which might not be available immediately.

How about this: Samsung N350 with Dual-Core N55 and added 3G, SSD and Pixel-Qi screen for about 5-6 hours of 1KG of 10”  productivity. It sounds like a real possibility to me after IFA this week.