Samsung SF310 review: Samsung SF310

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The Good Fast processor;. Good 3D performance;. Great design.

The Bad Limited range of ports;. Horrible trackpad;. So-so battery life.

The Bottom Line The 13.3-inch Samsung SF310 has a unique design and offers decent performance, but we don't think it does quite enough to justify its relatively high asking price.

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7.5 Overall

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The Samung SF310 first hit the news back in September, when Lily Allen supposedly swapped her hacked MacBook for it. Slick PR opportunism aside, the £750 laptop certainly has its charms, not least of which is its interesting design.

Go with the flow

In terms of styling, the SF310 can be thought of as a grown-up version of Samsung's recent NF210 netbook. Both models make use of a manufacturing process called In Mold Rolling, which has allowed Samsung to give the chassis a much more sculpted shape. The edge of the chassis beside the keyboard curls upwards, while the lid has a corresponding curved cutaway so the two fit together perfectly when the lid is closed. What's more, when viewed from the side with the lid closed, the design seems to have a sweeping wave shape that rises towards the rear. It's all very clever stuff and this, combined with the glossy white and brushed-aluminium finish, makes it a classy machine.

A 13.3-inch display means Samsung has been able to keep the laptop relatively compact at 331 by 33 by 236mm. While it isn't the lightest model around at 2.06kg, it's still portable enough to chuck in a backpack or suitcase when you're off on your travels. The build quality is also first rate, and there's very little give in either the chassis or the lid.

The SF310 jumps on board the ever-popular Scrabble train with its isolated keyboard design.

Flip open the lid and you're greeted by a keyboard with Scrabble-type keys that look as if they've been stamped out of the chassis. The keys initially feel a little springy under your fingers, but you soon get use to this, especially as the keys are actually very responsive to even lighter touches. Also, the large flat surface of the keys combined with the generous space between them means you're less likely to accidentally hit an adjacent key when you're typing at speed.

Trackpad troubles

We're not fans of the trackpad, however. The pad is quite large, but Samsung has integrated the buttons into the trackpad, which makes it awkward to use. Sometimes when you're just trying to press one of the buttons, the cursor will jump around as the trackpad thinks you're moving the cursor position.

Thankfully, the 13.3-inch screen is more impressive. Although its resolution of 1,366x768 pixels isn't much to get excited about, the screen is very bright and produces rich and vibrant colours. As a result, movies and images look great. That said, the screen has a glossy coating, so it can be a little reflective when used outdoors or inside under bright overhead lights.

The SF310 doesn't have the broadest array of ports, but it does cover most of the basics. It has both VGA and HDMI sockets for connecting it up to an external monitor or flat-screen TV. There are also three USB ports, one of which is enabled for sleep-and-charge, so you can use it to charge portable devices like phones and cameras even when the laptop is turned off.

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