It's hard to see where the netbook market is going to head next. Currently performance is stuck in the low-end as high powered processors eat up too much battery life and can't be fitted into a netbook's small chassis, and it's difficult to see where greater battery life and portability will come from.

As a result the netbook market is stuck in a strange kind of limbo where manufacturers are content to refine and work on a formula that's been around for the last two years or so, and the N230 is the end result of that distillation process.

We liked

There's a lot to like about the Samsung N230. First and foremost it gets the basics done very well, and portability is excellent. The 1.2kg chassis is no trouble to carry around, while the netbook is well built enough to survive the rigours of life on the road. There's also the excellent 628-minute battery life keeping you productive for hours on end.

Usability is just as important, and fortunately this is an incredibly intuitive netbook to use. The screen is fantastic, as is the keyboard, and there are no design quirks at all to ruin the experience.

We disliked

In an ideal world we'd like more performance to play with. Experiencing lag when you're trying to open up a couple of spreadsheets while listening to music, for example, is irritating, but it's not something you can pin on the N230 specifically – all netbooks suffer the same.

The shiny black lid looks smart until you've touched it, at which point smudges and smears ruin the pristine effect, while the large six cell battery ruins the natural lines of the N230's chassis.

Verdict

All-in-all the N230 is a great little netbook. Samsung hasn't gone about reinventing the wheel here, but it gets the basics or portability and usability right, which is ultimately all you can really ask from a netbook.

The shiny lid and large battery aren't a big deal, and certainly shouldn't effect your decision when it comes to buying a netbook.

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