Samsung P200 notebook review

Samsung has never been one of the top players in the notebook market but this year it has made great leaps forward in both its consumer and corporate machines. Described as a high-performance device built for mobile workers, the Samsung P200 is an ultraportable notebook designed with the business user in mind.

Weighing in at a mere 2kg, the casing is made from plastic and has a simple but solid feel to it. The matt black is rather understated but we liked the look of the machine.

With portability in mind, we got close to 4 hours from the battery, which is impressive for a notebook of this size.

The lid has plenty of protection, which is always a bonus in a mobile machine, and while the use of a 12.1-inch screen helps to keep the weight down you don’t feel as though it’s too small. There is a theory that business users prefer a standard TFT screen for use on the road, as it casts less reflection. So you won’t find a Super-TFT display on the P200 but we feel it would look better if it did.

The size of the screen limits the size of the main body, so the keyboard almost fills most of the P200. The keys have a great feel to them and being individually mounted have a smooth action.

There is still some debate as to whether business users really want Windows Vista, as most seem content to carry on using Windows XP Professional. Samsung has sided with caution and opted for the older platform.

When it comes to performance, you’ll find an Intel 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7250 processor and with 2048MB of memory we found it really delivered in terms of power. The system booted quickly and programs loaded smoothly. The use of a 200GB hard drive offers plenty of room for work files as well as essentials for on the road.

We’re used to seeing a standard Intel chipset in machines of this size but Samsung has opted for the ATI Radeon Express 1250M graphics chip, which is still integrated but offers a slightly better performance rate than the Intel chip.

There are a few nods to the consumer that might seem a little out of place. For instance, there is a button that loads AV Station Now, which is Samsung’s multimedia software for watching DVDs and listening to music. The DVD rewriter supports LightScribe technology so you can burn designs on to the top of your discs. Wireless LAN and Ethernet are current entry-level standards and the media card reader supports SD, Memory Stick and xD photo cards. Finally, there is a webcam that can be used for IM as well as video conferencing.

Verdict

The Samsung P200 is an attractive and highly likeable machine. While aimed at the business user, anyone looking for a lightweight machine merely for everyday tasks, this has to be worth considering. The keyboard feels great and while the screen is only a standard TFT, it’s bright and images look sharp.