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Samsung N140 Specs, Review, Unboxing

The Samsung N140 is a sharp mini notebook that offers great Windows 7 performance, great ergonomics and more than 6 hours of battery life. It has excellent keyboard, touchpad and matte colorful screen. However, it has a glossy lid that catches smudges easily. Read the full review to find out more about it.

Samsung N140 Review


Samsung N140 Specifications

This is the blue model, Samsung N140-14B. It’s available in Blue or Burgundy.

10.1” 1024 x 600 display (matte)
Intel Atom N280 (1.6GHz) processor
Intel GMA 950 graphics
1GB RAM
250GB HDD (5400rpm)
802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
10/100 LAN
0.3MP Webcam
HD Audio, SRS True Surround XT, SRS WOW XT, SRS CS Headphone
1.5W x 2 stereo speakers
VGA, 3x USB, Card Reader, microphone and headphone ports
6-Cell Battery (5,200mAh)
10.3” x 7.3” x 1.01” – 1.16” Size
2.82 lbs Weight
1 Year Warranty

Also note, I have Windows 7 Home Premium installed as shown in the pictures rather than Windows 7 Starter which comes out of the box.

Samsung N140 Unboxing

The package is surprisingly small and like most other netbooks there’s not much inside other than the bare essentials. Booklets, the Samsung N140 itself with the brick / AC adapter and a sleeve which seems adequate enough.

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Samsung N140 in the provided sleeve:

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Software

Disappointed with no real recovery media. I’ve listed it at the bottom of the software list below.

Some pretty useful software has been included with the Samsung N140 (listing ones I found useful):

Phoenix Fail Safe – Robust security app which can help disable access to your netbook in case someone steals it – and can even identify the thief who stole it. Read more.

Easy Resolution Manager – let’s you increase screen resolution to 1024 x 768, or go back down to 1024 x 600. Note that performance goes down and the screen quality degrades at the higher resolution mode, but it’s handy for getting programs to work that don’t run at the native resolution. This has saved me once.

Battery Life Extender – Use this to prolong the life of your battery. It does this by only allowing the battery to charge up to 80% instead of 100% when you have the battery in and are plugged in with AC power.

Chargeable USB – Apparently charging USB devices is not out of the box – you need to use this particular program if you require this feature

Recovery Solution – for backing up or restoring data. However, it does not seem to be a true recovery tool – you can’t do a factory restore (revert back to the time of purchase). The DVDs you create with the software are not bootable and there seems to be no way to run these DVDs if you have lost your recovery partition. Extremely disappointed here, and one of the very few times I have encountered a netbook / notebook with no real recovery option.

Build / Feel

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The interior of the Samsung N140 is all matte. That includes the keyboard, screen bezel, display, palm rests, and touchpad. Everything inside. It feels great and that fact that it won’t pick up fingerprints is very reassuring. The silver rim around the edge of the chassis and the touchpad is a nice touch and give the netbook a little more class.

The only thing that disappoints me is the glossy lid and it seems to pick up fingerprints more easily that over glossy netbook lids at that. I had to clean it numerous times during this photo shoot.

Keyboard

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The Samsung N140 sports one of the best keyboards I’ve used on a 10-inch netbook. It’s got one of those standard type keyboards – which feels great, very sturdy with zero flex and I can touch type with no problems.

According to Samsung’s N140 product page, the keyboard is 93% of a full sized keyboard. Doesn’t feel cramped at all and the keyboard takes up all the space on the chassis, so no wasted space. That said, it is not as good as the one found on Lenovo S10-3 mini notebook, which has chiclet style keys and excellent touchpad. That said, I have zero qualms with the keyboard, just praise.

Touchpad and Buttons

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No wasted space on the Samsung N140 as the touchpad takes up as much space as it can, so no problems in the size department. The silver rimming around the touchpad is a nice finishing touch. The surface of the touchpad is smooth and doesn’t pick up fingerprints at all. No matter how much pressure you apply, it’s always easy to glide your fingers across. Really love the feel of it.

The touchpad supports multi gestures: two fingered scrolling vertically and horizontally and zooming / pinching. All gestures are very responsive and are a joy to use. You can always resort to scrolling on the edges if you don’t like two-fingered scrolling.

As for the touchpad button, it’s a single bar type that’s easy to press, no stiffness, but it is a little noisy – but 95% of netbooks have the same noisy buttons. No problems with the button.

Display

Here’s a look at brightness levels between various netbook / notebooks.

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One of the few netbooks these days with a matte screen – and I’m loving it! It’s very bright as well reaching 231 nits of brightness at the highest level. One thing I noticed immediately after using glossy displays for so long, is that the display isn’t quite as sharp as the glossy ones, however it’s rather minor and you get used to it after a second.

Not noticing anything special with viewing angles or colors, however due to the matte display, horizontal viewing angles seem much better because there’s no glare or reflections getting in the way.

The only downside I can find is that the opening range of the lid is a tad limited. At most I can open the lid up to 133 degrees. This might impede you from getting an optimal viewing experience. The 1024 x 600 resolution could also be called a downside – some websites / videos / apps may be too large for the screen. Like with the MSI Wind U115 and Eee PCs, Samsung includes a resolution app to artificially increase the resolution to 1024 x 768 to give you a little extra vertical space. This has actually helped me run an app I couldn’t run at the standard resolution – so thanks for including that Samsung.

Glad to have used a matte display again. I’d take matt over gloss any day of the week.

Speakers / Audio

Very decent sound quality from the Samsung N140 stereo speakers boasting SRS True Surround XT, SRS WOW XT and SRS CS Headphone technology (the latter two aren’t mentioned on the chassis sticker though). Loud volume, though I wish there was a tad more bass though but otherwise above average for a netbook. I’m very satisfied with the Samsung N140’s sound quality.

I don’t know how well the SRS CS Headphone tech works – even if there was an improvement in sound quality – I can’t notice any difference compared to netbooks without this technology.

Webcam and Speakers

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I used Skype 4.1 and Cyberlink YouCam (included) to test both of these features. Built-in microphone works really well – not seeing any noise and my voice is pretty clear. No need to speak very loud or have my head right up to the keyboard.

Webcam quality is average for a 0.3MP webcam – picks up good images even in dim lighting but the images aren’t as sharp as you’d get on a 1.3MP webcam.

Noise
Incredibly quiet – pretty close to silent. In a really quiet room I have to put my ear right to the keyboard to hear a slight humming inside. I keep thinking if the N140 might be fanless, but it’s not.

There is a “silent mode” power setting option, however I am noticing zero difference in noise levels between all the three power settings. Additionally, there is a BIOS option “auto” or “low” with the default being “auto”. “low” will turn off the fan more often however I never tried this setting because it’s extremely quiet as is.

One of the quietest netbooks I’ve used in recent times. Overall, very pleasantly surprised.

Heat

I did my usual test to measure heat – leave the Samsung N140 running for a couple of hours doing HD YouTube and then measure the top and bottom chassis areas. Bolded temps are the hottest areas.

Top chassis
Left palm rest: 32 °C / 90 °F
Touchpad: 33 °C / 91 °F
Right palm rest: 28 °C / 82 °F

Bottom chassis:
Top-left: 35 °C / 95 °F
Bottom-left:37 °C / 99 °F
Top-right:30 °C / 86 °F
Bottom-right:32 °C / 90 °F

Even when stressed for a couple of hours, the Samsung N140 gets slightly warm, especially the bottom left area. I don’t see this causing any problems whilst on your lap. Top area stays coolish though I can feel the touchpad is a tad warmer than the palm rests.

Battery Life

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The Samsung N140 has a 6-cell battery rated at 5,200 mAh. Samsung’s official product page touts a 9.5 hour battery, but on merchant product pages, it’s a 7.5 hour battery. The actual battery life with real usage is about 2 – 2.5 hours less than that.

Here are some battery tests I’ve run on the Samsung N140 – the same tests I do with all my review notebooks / netbooks. All tests where done at 90 cd/m2 brightness, which on the Samsung N140 is the 5th out of 8 brightness notches (63% brightness).

4 hours, 24 mins    480p full screen video looped, Wi-Fi OFF, Silent mode
4 hours, 08 mins    720p full screen video looped, Wi-Fi OFF, Silent mode
4 hours, 15 mins    1080p full screen video looped, Wi-Fi OFF, Silent mode
Based on these figures, you can expect about 5 hours of battery life from the Samsung N140, web browsing with Wi-Fi on with some YouTube watching included at 63% brightness. You’ll be able to squeeze out a little more by lowering screen brightness.

Let’s compare the battery life from the Samsung N140 with a couple of other netbook / notebooks:

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These figures compare battery life using my 480p video test, with Wi-Fi OFF, power saving mode and 90 nits of brightness – you’ll get 0.5 – 1 hours more with real life usage.

For a netbook, battery life is a bit poor. At 5 hours, we’re looking at CULV notebook type battery life as you can see in the chart compared to the other 11.6-inch notebooks.

Performance
Don’t expect to much out of a netbook – Don’t expect to transcode video, work with high DPI photos, play the latest 3D games or even handle HD video. Netbooks aren’t designed for those sorts of things anyway.

Web browsing with several tabs open posed no problems, or having multiple apps open at the same time – Firefox, Google Chrome, OpenOffice and MPC-HC.

As for video playback, It’s not possible to play 1080p video of any sort with any sort of reasonable frame rates – Flash (HD YouTube videos, Quicktime movie trailers, downloaded movies MKV/H2.64) are all slide shows. Same goes for 720p video, however if you have purchased Core-AVC codecs, you can power through 720p H.264 videos very smoothly.

There are three power modes on the Samsung N140 (Silent, Normal and Speed). Silent keeps the CPU clocked down to 1GHz, Normal is either 1GHz or 1.6GHz when needed. Speed mode supposedly only speeds up the application you have active, rather than being a global setting – CPU scales in the same way as in normal mode – either 1GHz or 1.6GHz.

The Samsung N140 doesn’t perform as well as the 1005HR in battery power saving mode, but on the performance end the opposite is true – The Samsung N140 slightly beats out the 1005HR.

Size and Weight

As always, I’m always impressed when handling a netbook – they are very small and light. The Samsung N140 weighs 1.21 kg / 2.7 lbs. With the power cable / brick included the total weight is 1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs.

Here’s a weight comparison with other netbook / notebooks that I’ve recently reviewed:

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Now, on to size. The Samsung N140 measures 10.3” x 7.3” x 1.01” – 1.16” / 261mm x 185mm x 25 – 29mm in size. The keyboard measures 247mm x 97mm / 9.7” x 3.8” in size. The touch measures 64mm x 36mm / 2.5” x 1.4” in size. The 6-cell battery protrudes slightly as seen below:

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The power brick is very small – not the smallest I’ve seen though, it’s just slightly larger than the Eee PC power bricks:

Ubuntu (Linux)

I tested out Ubuntu 9.10 and Jolicloud pre-beta Linux OSes.

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Here’s what was working and not working with Ubuntu 9.10:

Feature    Works?
Sound Shortcut    Yes
Sound    Yes
Brightness Shortcut    No
Brightness    Yes
Resume from Standby    Yes
Wi-Fi    No
No Wi-Fi at all. Sometimes drivers appear in the system panel after an update but none was available here. Tried Jolicloud pre-beta as well but no Wi-Fi there as well. Apparently I have realtek Wi-Fi. I hear that some Samsung netbooks come with Atheros cards which are the ones that are Linux compatible.

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Samsung N140 Review

Pros
Bright, matte display
Matte chassis / screen bezel
Extremely quiet
Responsive two-fingered scrolling
Excellent keyboard
Good audio quality
Cons
Glossy, finger print lid
Battery life under 6 hours
Windows 7 Starter restrictions (no extended desktop, changing wallpaper etc)
Can’t upgrade HDD, Wi-Fi card
No recovery media, or option of creating some
No Wi-Fi with Linux (Ubuntu)

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