Product Type: Samsung Netbook
Newest Review: ... (I personally think it is a ruse to get you to fork out for £150s worth of software!), but the Samsung NC10 comes with Open Office alread... more
Is it a laptop? No, it's a netbook!
Member Name: bobsta
Advantages: Fantastic battery life, great LED screen, excellent functionality, great headphone output
Disadvantages: Don't try playing HD content, track pad is fiddly, built-in speakers are tinny
I do have a 17" laptop. It's great and powerful but it's also heavy and bulky - battery life is pretty horrendous as well (1 hour for just web browsing). I study part time and don't use a DVD/CD rewriter except to burn the odd disc. I wanted an alternative that I could carry around with me. Looking at the market, a netbook seemed a good option. After some extensive research, I settled on a white version of the Samsung NC10. Samsung make great products and I felt confident that the NC10 would deliver on that front.
First impressions, the NC10 is built to a very high standard. The NC10 is available in one of four colours - black, dark blue, pink and finally, white. I settled for white because it doesn't have a gloss finish on the lid so fingerprints are not a problem. There is a tasteful silver bezel around the base of the netbook. Weight wise this netbook weighs just over a kilogram with the battery but it feels lighter. You can literally hold the netbook with one hand.
Let's not forget what comes in with package. A 6 cell battery that provides an astonishing amount of battery life that I'll discuss later, the small power supply unit, backup discs (of both XP and the Samsung drivers) and a pretty useless netbook sleeve. I purchased a Cool Bananas netbook sleeve for the NC10.
The netbook has 3 USB ports, a VGA port, a headphone socket, a microphone socket, ethernet socket, a webcam and a built-in mic, Bluetooth 2.0 and a wireless adaptor (that works with b/g routers). The unit comes with a 160GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM. The processor is an Intel Atom with an integrated video card (don't expect to play games on it). A row of lights on the front of the netbook indicate the various statuses of the netbook ranging from power to hard drive activity.
Switching on the netbook for the first time takes you through a set-up and back-up routine. The Samsung Recovery solution tool is excellent and very simple to use so you don't need a separate back-up program. Once you've done the set-up, you can start using the netbook. The first thing that has impressed me (and observers) is the brightness and clarity of the LED screen. Only 10.2" in diameter, it is punchy and vivid. The VGA output from the NC10 into a projector produces a great image. Of course, you're limited to a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. Boot up time is quick - in 30 seconds from switching it on, you've arrived at the desktop. My 17" laptop takes about 90 seconds to reach the main desktop!
The built-in webcam is of decent quality and the built-in mic is adequate for Skype and MSN etc.
Fortunately, Samsung don't provide bloat ware - just the essentials such as the battery manager and back-up program. Everything else you will need to either download from the net or using an external USB drive to install additional software.
Performance wise, don't expect blazing performance - it's not painfully slow but you can only open a couple of applications at a time. There is a speed booster function but this comes at the expense of battery life if you're not running the computer from the mains. Application wise, I've had no problems running Office 2007 and even have Photoshop running but it isn't much use if you have to edit photos. Playing videos such as AVI, WMV, Divx etc isn't a problem but when you start playing HD, the playback will stutter. The built-in speakers are not loud and very tinny. Use the headphone socket and you'll be greeted by excellent sound quality.
One issue that you may have read about regarding the NC10 is the track pad. It is small and fiddly but you can change the settings. Alternatively, you can use a mouse. The netbook runs quietly and sometimes you have to put your ear up against it to hear the fan. And the best thing is that it doesn't roast you in the process. This netbook is cool to the touch and gets warm but never uncomfortably so the men out there can relax knowing this netbook won't roast their nuts.
Battery life is amazing. I have managed to squeeze 7 hours out of the battery on low brightness settings. You can easily get 4 hours on full brightness. The power options can be customised to maximise battery life. Another item worth mentioning is the function keys. These are function keys with a purpose. You can check battery power, turn off the screen, lock the track pad etc by pressing the FN key and the appropriate function key which have icons on them to remind you of their function. Nice little touch.
On a practical daily basis, the netbook is used frequently compared to the laptop. Typing up my notes for studies and from work, checking e-mails and browsing the web are no trouble. The keyboard provides just the right amount of feedback and is almost a full size notebook keyboard. You may need to scroll more often but considering the convenience these netbooks offer it's a small price to pay. You can take the NC10 virtually anywhere around the world as the adapter can cope with multiple voltages.
Upgrading the RAM on the NC10 is quick and simple. Unscrew the panel below the netbook, take out the old chip and stick the new one in less than a minute. The benefits of more RAM - you can have a few more windows open.
Wireless connectivity is very good but it is worth downloading the latest driver (which happens automatically via Windows Update). Bluetooth is versatile as well making a good partner for mobile phones.
For a student or someone who just wants to browse the web, type a few e-mails etc, a netbook is perfect. You can get laptops for £300 which provide additional functionality (such as disc burning) but if you want convenience and great battery life in a small package, the NC10 is perfect.
Summary: Fantasic netbook that is definitely worth consideration
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