Tactical Advice

Samsung's Handy N150

This lightweight netbook is long on battery life and perfect for mobile workers running basic computer apps.
This story appears in the June 2010 issue of BizTech Magazine.

The Samsung N150 netbook is a very lightweight, low-cost alternative to more expensive notebook computers for general computing tasks. It’s
a compelling choice for IT departments looking for a user-friendly mobile option that is cost effective and easy to transport.

End-User Advantages

The Samsung N150 ships with an Intel Atom N450 1.66-gigahertz processor and 1 gigabyte of DDR2 memory, and comes preinstalled with Windows 7 Starter and a variety of utility and support software. Initial power-up and configuration is very smooth, and the user will be up and running within a few minutes of starting the unit.

With an 8-hour battery life and weighing just 2.7 pounds, the N150 is perfect for mobile workers. Users likely will be satisfied with ample local storage in the 160GB, 5,400 RPM SATA hard drive. This model offers a variety of connectivity options, including three USB 2.0 ports, external VGA, 10/100 Ethernet, a 3-in-1 card slot and 802.11b/g/n wireless connectivity. The N150 also includes audio inputs and outputs, HD audio capability and a bezel-mounted video camera on top of its 10.1-inch WSVGA display.

Why It Works for IT

Although the N150 is light enough and small enough to pass as a consumer device, it has a welcome place in the enterprise network. IT departments can leverage the management features of Windows 7 as well as the included backup and restore utilities to keep the computer patched and its data safe. The unit also ships with a 60-day trial of Phoenix FailSafe, a remote recovery application that allows for tracking, recovery and hard-disk-drive wiping of lost or stolen computers.

The use of common hardware, software and operating system components means that the N150 can be easily supported in an enterprise desktop management environment. The netbook comes with a 60-day trial subscription to McAfee Internet Security 2010 and will easily run whatever enterprise security and antimalware client the organization is standardized on. Desktop management processes on other Windows 7 PCs should extend to the N150 as well.


Although the overall ergonomics of the netbook are surprisingly good, the mouse buttons are very narrow and are positioned on the beveled edge of the unit, making them hard to find. They are also somewhat challenging from a tactile perspective, as the lip of the bevel prevents the user from easily pressing them with the thumb when the user’s hands are resting on the home row of keys.

The N150 has a limited range of display resolutions, from 640x480 to 1152x864. With the widescreen aspect ratio and the limited number of display settings, it took some experimenting to find an acceptable resolution. Preloaded applications such as Internet Explorer were not optimized for the short screen, so the user’s first impression is a screen dominated by toolbars, leaving little room for content. More customization might leave users with a better first impression of the size of the display.

Performance on the N150 was very reasonable for most common applications; web browsing, e-mail and document editing went smoothly. However, users expecting to perform more complex operations such as CAD or application development on the N150 will be frustrated more by the small screen size than by performance limitations.

The N150 can’t be considered a replacement for a desktop or traditional notebook. All in all, it stands apart from other netbooks in its class and at its price point.           

Tom Jordan is the network operations center manager at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.


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