Specification wise, the Samsung doesn't hold any surprises. An Intel Atom N450 provides the N230's processing power, alongside 1GB of DDR2 memory. Samsung elected not to choose the newer Atom N455 processor, presumably to keep costs down, which means that the N230 isn't compatible with DDR3 memory – the latest, fastest RAM technology.

As a result, if you're after the fastest performance possible it may be worth buying a netbook, such as the Asus Eee PC 1016p that supports this technology.

Performance here is very standard for a netbook. The N230 will happily run office applications and your web browser, but as soon as you start multitasking these programs you'll witness quite a bit of lag.

Unlike the nVidia Ion powered HP Compaq Mini 311, the N230 doesn't feature the graphical power to run even the most basic of games, but you'll be able to watch videos on YouTube and view your holiday pictures without too many problems.

The plus side to having such low-powered components is portability, and here the N230 shines. Samsung claim the netbook will run for just short of 14-hours before needing a charge.

During benchmarking we managed just over 10 hours (628 minutes), but this was under intensive use, and we imagine if you're simply editing a Word document, rather than running photo editing software, you're likely to get much closer to Samsung's quoted 14 hours.

Although not quite as impressive as the Asus UL30A, 628 minutes is a more than respectable score, and will mean you can often afford to leave the charger at home – enhancing portability further – and you won't spend your life running between power plugs.

To achieve this figure, a small concession to design has had to be made, and the large six cell battery does stick out of the base of the machine, which somewhat ruins the N230's lines. It's not as obvious as the system on the MSI U160, however, and does bring the added advantage of tilting the keyboard towards you at a comfortable angle.

Samsung n230 review

Adding to the N230's portability is the fact that it only weighs 1.2kg, so you'll have no issues carrying the netbook around for extended periods of time.

The 250GB hard drive is about the industry standard, and provides plenty of storage for all your work files and folders, along with any multimedia libraries you may want to carry around on your travels. As with all netbooks, however, there's no space for an optical drive. This means if you want to back up data, watch a DVD or listen to a CD you'll need to invest in an external drive.

Netbooks are usually feature light, as manufacturers aim to keep the weight and price of their machines down. The N230 does boast a webcam for video conferences across the web, and also USB 3.0, the latest and fastest wireless connectivity technology for tethering your smartphone to the machine, for example.