If you’re only going to watch one video of something being taken out of a box today, may I humbly suggest you make it this one? The folks at Samsung sent me the new NF310 laptop to review this week, and after the break you can check out my unboxing and first look video.

On paper, the Samsung NF310 is a pretty compelling machine. For $399 you get a 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 dual core processor and a 10 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel matte display. It has 1GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 3.0. Unfortunately while some early store listings suggested the netbook would have NVIDIA graphics, it actually ships with integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics.

But the specs only tell part of the story. The Samsung NF310 also has a distinct new design, which I suspect is going to be a love-it-or-hate-it factor for some folks.

When I first saw the new design last month, I was kind of underwhelmed. Sure, the wavy edges look interesting, but they serve no real purpose and just make the laptop a little wider than it would otherwise be. But I have to say, while the curvy design looks a bit silly on the Samsung NF210 (a similar mini-laptop with a single core processor and 1024 x 600 pixel screen), Samsung has really classed things up a bit for the NF310 by giving the laptop a more metallic paint job which actually gives the keyboard a bit of a MacBook-style patina.

The touchpad also has a very nice texture and feels great under your fingertip. While there’s only one touchpad button, there’s a clear marker in the center and it’s almost as easyto register right and left clicks as it would have been with two distinct buttons.

The speakers are nice and loud, and the high resolution display is nice and bright. I’ll be putting the netbook through the ringer over the next few days and I’ll have details about its performance to share soon. In the meantime, you can check out my first look video after the break.

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25 replies on “Samsung NF310 dual core netbook: Unboxing and first look”

  1. Anyone know the RAM limit you can upgrade too? Many are limited to 2GB, can this do more if I buy a 4GB SODIMM?

  2. i bought the samsung nf 310 , see my review for installing 64 bit windows 7 professional at amazon, this netbook runs great with 64bit
    streaming movies now it has excellent performance , great color great sound ,but you have tweak the audio to your liking but it has a great surround sound for listening to movies on bose headphones, 2 gigs memory it runs verry well on 64 bit , i give it 10 star instead of 5
    i am totally happy with this product all around

  3. Sure is distracting to hear “ummmmmm” between every sentence…..

  4. Does the NF310 have the Broadcom CrystalHD for hw-accelerated video decoding? The N220 I’m typing this on does, but I had to fetch and install the driver myself.

  5. When you opened the panel, did you twist it as far back as it goes?

    1. Nope, I forgot to do it on this video. It goes back a little further than you see in the picture above, but not quite as far as I would have expected given the battery placement.

  6. USB3, ION2 switching and 9 hours battery and I’d pay anything for this.

  7. Unlike many (most?) other people, I could care less about how a laptop looks, unless the looks interfere with its functionality,
    usability, and ergonomics.

    But as they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

    That said, I wonder why companies can’t seem to get the important things right, as in this case, the use of the single mouse button.

    Could it be that if they did come out with the “near perfect” laptop, everything else would be an impossible act to follow?

    Come to think of it, it would be good to have published a checklist of things that a laptop should have. I realize getting widespread
    agreement on what factors have which importance is a herculean
    job (maybe something like electing politicians) and may be an
    impossible dream.

    Still, didn’t Robert F. Kennedy once say, some people look at the world and ask why, he looked at the world and asked why not.

    1. I ask this. Who the hell out there uses the trackpad button? Seriously. Does it matter if it’s hard to click? One button or two? Tapping the mouse pad is for me, is all I use. It’s only the important clicks when I might use the trackpad bar button. I could probably function without a button there at all. Am I really that out of touch on this one? Seriously why take a finger off the trackpad to push the button when you can tap the trackpad. I don’t get it…

      aka gman

      1. Speed, dragging, easier switching between right and left click options… There are a few reasons.

        Though would help if more added a greater range of gesture control.

        1. I beg to differ on that. It’s a matter or learning how to use the trackpad. Drag and drop, hold and click, it’s all a matter or learning how the trackpad responds. You do not need the button for any of those. Right click? 3 finger tips on the trackpad. Again, you don’t have to move your fingers off a trackpad. Again, it makes no sense to me why people make a big deal in reviews about a lousy rocker bar. Simply said, who the hell cares about it? Simply said, on those who don’t know the full capabilities of modern trackpads.

          1. What works for you works for you.

            It’s not a reviewers job to tell their audience how they should be using their computers (like saying, “It has a rocker bar for buttons but you must be a fool if you’re using the button anyway”).

            Instead it’s their job to inform people who like to use the trackpad buttons that rocker bar buttons do not provide a good user experience.

            If you don’t care about the button then you don’t care, doesn’t hurt you to hear that the button is hard to use then.

          2. It’ the job of a reviewer to educate readers also. A rocker bar should be a last consideration. A tiny point to consider. At the same time as slamming a rocker bar, the reviewer should mention that all the functions can be done via touchpad and HOW. People aren’t educated on how to use a touchpad and how really insignificant a rocker bar is. Well, the bar/button is important if you are really old school or are in the ignorant category. It’s like saying a netbook gets a failing grade because it doesn’t have a Kensington lock. Remember, it should be the job or at least on the mind of an “expert” reviewing a netbook to remind people how unimportant a rocker bar is and WHY it’s unimportant.

          3. In the eye of the beholder is a valid point here. If you’ve ever had your laptop stolen then you would consider the lack of a Kensington lock a failing point, for example.

            Actual right/left buttons don’t have to be given with a rocker bar, there are a few ways those buttons could be included. But again you’re ignoring the usefulness of right and left clicking while doing something else with the touch pad at the same time.

            Really, you asked why and were given an answer. Just because it doesn’t apply to you doesn’t mean those reasons aren’t valid or that your way is necessarily better.

            It’s a feature and like any feature just because you don’t use it doesn’t mean other people don’t and it doesn’t mean they don’t know how, they can just have a different preference to you and it’s not limited to being just “old school”.

            The multi-touch features of a touch pad are just a way to emulate what you can easily do with a regular mouse. Just like comparing a real keyboard to a virtual, there are arguments either way to which is best. It’s just humans generally prefer dedicated controls and feedback from their controls but touch pads don’t yet have Haptec feedback.

          4. It’s not just a matter of learning to use the touchpad, especially when not all will provide you proper multi-touch features. So let’s not make it like everyone can just make the switch if they would only learn a few multi-touch gestures.

            In short there are still lousy touch pads out there and like I said it would help if more added more gesture controls to make the touch pads really useful to all. I didn’t say it was impossible but I was answering your question to show there are reasons why the buttons are still needed in many situations.

            Having the buttons do help for things like Click and dragging and other features without having to perform origami with your fingers to do something that should be simple otherwise for example.

            Speed and accuracy is another matter, best determined by the simplest of control ergonomics. Many times you have to load 3rd party touch pad drivers to get a better range of controls.

            Sure, for the way you use it you may be perfectly fine with limitations that you apparently don’t notice but it doesn’t mean there aren’t limitations and other people may simply still prefer buttons to multi-touch gesturing.

    2. The problem I see with a rocker? Can’t click both left and right at once.

      Some of you will immediately see why this is a disadvantage. Most of you won’t. The short explanation: L+R provides middle-click emulation on certain non-Windows-native apps.

      For me, it’s a deal-breaker. Too bad – the price and WXGA screen were both just right.

  8. This computer *is* advertised on Amazon and TigerDirect with “dedicated NVidia graphics”. That’s sort of a vague description, but implies better. I wonder if this will be like some of the other netbooks that claimed to have the Broadcom card where some did and some didn’t. Great review! It looks very compelling. I’d be interested to see if it can run ripped DVD video for use on airplanes, etc. Thanks.

  9. This laptop has a very beautiful design, one of the most beautiful of any clamshell. Unfortunately, the dark keys on a light chassis is forever ugly. Eventually, somebody will get tat look right (buttons should appear lighter or the same as the surrounding surface, that’s the general design principal), but no computer maker has been able to pull that look off yet.

    This is only one of a few Atom-based netbooks that I’ve ever considered purchasing, but I probably won’t (especially if I can’t get a chassis that’s darker than the keys). However, I’m convinced those wings are formed to facilitate holding/carrying and am tempted to buy it just to find out for myself (yup, that’s a dumb reason to buy a computer, but probably one of the least dumb one’s that I’m aware of).

  10. I have heard that vehicles that possess curves can take a crash and last longer than those that have flat surfaces. Perhaps that’s the reason for the wave design?

  11. put ION2 on it call it the NF320 up the price by $50 and we have a deal.

    1. Ion2 w/optimus like the Asus 1015n/pn 8 core or
      Ion2 w/optimus like the Asus 1215pn 16 core
      switches from Nvidia to Intel and back. USB3 and an HDMI would’nt hurt.

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