When it comes to the N130, Samsung isn't trying to dazzle you with fancy extras. Instead, it's looking to get the basic netbook ingredients right, while keeping the price down to an affordable level. Our model was supplied by Laptops Direct, where you can buy it for a shade under £230.
Just round the corner
The N130's design is quite reminiscent of Samsung's older N310 thanks to its very rounded corners and tapered edges. However, it lacks the N310's funky rubberised finish, making do with a pretty standard matte black paint job. Unfortunately, this makes it looks a tad plasticky and means the design falls flat. Nevertheless, the netbook feels quite solid, especially as there's very little flex in either the lid or the keyboard. Its petite dimensions and lightweight body make it ideal for computing on the move.
The 10.1-inch screen is obviously quite small, but its resolution of 1,024x600 pixels is fairly good for a display of this size. Samsung has decided against using a glossy finish, so instead you get a matte display that's much better at reducing glare. As a result, the screen is a great deal easier to read when you're using it outdoors under direct sunlight, or indoors with bright lights overhead. The LED backlighting helps the screen look bright and, although colours aren't quite as in-your-face as some glossy displays, they do look very natural. The viewing angles are rather wide, which comes in handy if you want to share a movie with a friend while travelling. As with most netbooks, the N130 has a webcam perched above the screen and a built-in microphone, so you can use it to make video calls with software such as Skype.
Key to a good netbook
Samsung was one of the first companies to create a decent netbook-sized keyboard, and it's obviously put its experience to good use here. Despite the small size of the chassis, the keyboard has reasonably large keys and the layout doesn't feel too cramped. The tapered keys have a fast and responsive action, so with some practice you can quickly reach a normal typing speed. The trackpad is a little on the small side, but it does support multi-touch. This means you can use multi-touch gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom and swivel, for zooming or rotating pictures in Windows Photo Gallery and other applications.
The N130's line-up of sockets is pretty run of the mill. It has three USB ports, none of which are enabled for sleep-and-charge. There's only a VGA port and no HDMI socket. Naturally, there is Ethernet on board as well as 801.11n Wi-Fi, but the netbook lacks Bluetooth. The only other sockets are the usual mini-jacks for a microphone and pair of headphones. Nevertheless, Samsung has provided a reasonably roomy 160GB hard drive that provides plenty of space for storing files, and there's a handy SD card slot on the front lip beneath the trackpad.
No surprises here
As with the vast majority of today's netbooks, the N130 runs Windows 7 Starter edition. Its internal hardware is in line with other netbooks in that it's based on a single-core Intel Atom N270 processor that runs at 1.6GHz. This is helped along by the netbook-standard 1GB of RAM. In the PCMark05 benchmark test, it returned a score of 1,285, which is no better or worse than the vast majority of netbooks out there. This means it's fine for day-to-day tasks like browsing the Web or working on Office documents, but it's sluggish when it comes to multitasking -- something most netbooks struggle with. As the N130 relies on integrated Intel 945 graphics, it's not much cop when it comes to 3D performance, either. It only managed to post a lowly score of 137 in 3DMark06. But again, this is no different to other netbooks in this price range.
Where the N130 really impresses is when it comes to battery life. In our intensive Battery Eater test, it managed to keep running for a marathon nine hours and 44 minutes before it ran out of juice. This makes it one of the best netbooks around for battery stamina.
The Samsung N130 certainly isn't a flash netbook, and its specification isn't much different to its rivals. What sets it apart from the competition, however, is its extremely long battery life and superb usability thanks to an excellent screen and keyboard.
Edited by Emma Bayly