Samsung Ion Netbooks Might be Too Expensive

The netbook market is ruled by price, which is not much different from other markets, but with the defining line between netbook and notebook prices basically non-existent now with 17-inch machines going for under $350.

That very notion is what endanger the upcoming netbooks powered by the Nvidia Ion. First things first, we love the Nvidia Ion. It gives multimedia muscle to an otherwise rather modest netbook platform. While some may argue that the Ion grants the Intel Atom-based netbooks capabilities that it wasn't designed to have, it's still a nice option for those who want to be able to play 3D games and 1080p HD video in a small form factor.

With news now that the Samsung Ion-based netbook will cost $599, this has many prospective buyers now taking a step back and questioning whether or not it's actually worth it. To make matters worse, the Ion in the Samsung N510 will be the Ion LE, which will be locked to DX9 operation.

Nvidia told Ars Technica that it was unable to comment on Intel's OEM pricing schemes (which could potentially incur additional costs for any OEM making an Ion system), and that pricing of Ion products would vary among OEMs. Nvidia did point out that it believes that the Lenovo S12 with Ion would be less expensive than the Samsung N510, but pre-release speculation now has that model at up to $550.

We still feel that Nvidia's Ion is a Good Thing for netbooks, but the added cost is pushing them beyond the point at which the consumer deems it a good value relative to full-featured notebooks.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • astrodudepsu
    $600 is certainly too steep for this market. Give it some time, they will find a way to bring it down to $300-400 range.
  • steiner666
    well of course they're going to be expensive at first. then they'll release them and realize that hardly anyones buying them at the price and then other manufactures will release ion based netbooks for less and competition will bring the prices down.

    if not, ppl who want mobile gaming can just get a PSP/DS. And who the hell wants to watch a 1080p video on a screen that cant even support that resolution (at least current ones cant) and is only ~10"?
  • dextermat
    Don't worry a rich parent will buy that for their kids and He/She wont even use it anyway

    Damn rich people for that :p
  • sot010174
    I don't get it. Nvidia is trying to grab the market and provides a crippled product to Samsung (the first OEM to come out with their solution)?

    And yeah, I don't think a netbook is worth $599. Gaming and HD video playback aren't the main purpose of those little machines. For that amount I would save a bit more and get a 12" laptop.

  • Major7up
    I am not certain nVidia is to blame here as they stand to lose as much as anyone when overpriced Ion-based netbooks fail to move. My suspicion is that Intel is driving the prices up through incensing but I cannot prove that. Regardless of who is too blame, all parties involved need to get a grip on things if this segment is to remain viable.
  • Ramar
    The thing to consider here might be the power of the ion versus the "17-inch 350 notebook." I'd like to see the graphics unit in that notebook push the same power as the 9400 powering the ion.

    It also makes perfect sense to me that a powerful netbook would be more expensive than a notebook. The smaller we can cram the same functionality into something, the more we're going to pay for it.
  • ThisIsMe
    The pricing scheme that nVidia can't comment about is how Intel sells OEMs their Atom and the chipset for something like $30-$40, but if they just buy the CPU they charge something near $60-$70. Add on the price of the nVidia ION and the extra components and connections for the device support that the ION adds and you will have a $100-$150 increase in cost.

    I know these numbers aren't 100% accurate, but this is how it works. They are only meant for an example.
  • warezme
    I don't know, slap an Apple logo on it and macidiots will stumble over themselves to buy it.
  • tayb
    For the life of me I still haven't found a reason to buy a netbook. A solution in desperate search of a problem.
  • megamanx00
    It seems nice for a field or travel device. It's nice, but I think it's a bit much for what a netbook should be used for and thus should have a pretty tiny market. I sure wouldn't buy one :D.