Samsung N130: Budget Or Bust?

While the N140 is the premium update to Samsung’s N Series, the company also released a netbook whose focus is value: the Samsung N130. MSRP on this system is $349, but you can already find it for a little less than $300 at online retailers. It’s hard to find netbooks with 6-cell batteries at that price point, so the N130 seems like a great deal. It has the same keyboard and touchpad as its more expensive sibling ($399 MSRP), plus a design that looks a bit like the Samsung Go’s pebble shape. But are you truly getting a value with this system? Let’s compare it to the N140:

Overall Performance

The N130 has a less powerful processor than the N140, so it didn’t fare as well in most performance tests. It scored higher than the netbook average in many cases, but mostly didn’t come close to the N140.  The graphic performance was a particular problem — while the N140 played Hulu video smoothly the N130’s playback often had slight hitches, even at the default size. And we noticed that dark scenes in video clips didn’t have as much depth, so all the dark elements blended together into one dark blob on the screen.

Audio Quality

I found it odd that the N130 only has one speaker while the N140 has two. Seemed like a strange place to cut corners. Not that it would have mattered much as the N130 doesn’t come bundled with SRS Sound software, an audio enhancing suite that allowed the N140 to produce loud volume and more depth of range than we normally encounter in netbooks. The N130 had me reaching for external speakers.

Battery Life

Saddled with a 4,000 mAh 6-cell battery, the N130 turned in poor performance: 4 hours and 44 minutes. This is almost two hours less than the N140’s 6.5 hour score. If you happen to have a higher capacity battery sitting around from your NC10, N110 or  N120, it will work with the N130. But if you have any of those systems, you’re probably better off sticking with them rather than upgrading to this.

Those are the key points, but you should read our review to get the full picture. For $50 more you can get a vastly superior system that delivers where it counts the most. If $349 is the absolute most you’re willing or able to spend, consider picking up an N110 at NewEgg or a Toshiba Mini NB205-N210 at Amazon.

Also, check out the gallery below for pics of the N130 next to the Samsung GO.

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