Samsung has released a large number of netbooks to critical acclaim and we're often impressed by the quality on offer, although some models have been hampered by a disappointing battery life. The N220 succeeds in addressing this issue and the result is a highly usable and portable machine.
The design is stylish and features very little Samsung branding – a massive reduction from the branding that covered some previous models. A thick layer of plastic covers the lid and helps to protect the netbook, although it does manage to quickly attract dirt and fingerprints.
Inside, the palm-rest flexes a little under pressure, but nothing significant. The isolated-key style keyboard stretches the width of the chassis and is perfect for touch-typing, although it's easy to accidentally hit the Page Up and Page Down buttons when using the arrow keys.
The touchpad is a little small, but this makes it hard to knock by accident when typing and the glide action is smooth. A narrow bar beneath the pad acts as the mouse buttons and this works well, although it isn't as firm as we'd have liked.
Portablility is this netbook's true strength. While the dimensions and weight are similar to the other machines, the 575-minute battery life beats just about every netbook around. With this kind of longevity, you can easily work all day on a single charge.
The screen is another highlight, with images appearing bright and vibrant, thanks to the inclusion of LED backlighting. The netbook can comfortably be used in bright conditions, due to the anti-glare TFT display, which minimises reflections and suits outdoor use.
Samsung has included HyperSpace 'instant-on' software. By pressing F6 as the machine boots up, the user can select to load the simplified HyperSpace interface instead of the Windows 7 operating system for fast access to the internet. However, netbooks usually boot to Windows in well under a minute, which greatly reduces the need for such an option.
Speedy 802.11n Wi-Fi and standard 10/100 Ethernet provide network connectivity, while Bluetooth is also included for sharing files with devices such as mobile phones. Three USB ports and a VGA port, as well as a 3-in-1 card reader, round off the features.
The Samsung N220 is a well built and stylish machine with a truly amazing battery life. Combined with the bright screen and strong usability, this is an all-round excellent netbook that we highly recommend.