Product Type: Samsung Netbook
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A Versatile Netbook from Samsung
Member Name: rosebud2001
Advantages: Lightweight, excellent battery life, fast processor
Disadvantages: Touchpad could be a little more user friendly - it's a bit small and awkward to use
My husband bought a Samsung netbook way back in 2006, paying over a grand for the privilege. I reviewed that little beauty in the past - a Samsung Q30 - but with computers improving all the time, I found myself at the tail end of 2009 realising that while it was still a beautiful little piece of kit, there was far better stuff available - and for a fraction of the cost. The Q30 had limited RAM and I was finding the processor very slow.
The Q30 still has admirers however, meaning I was able to sell it for just shy of £200, giving me a decent kitty towards a new netbook.
Fate then played a hand with a VIP slot at the Next sale, allowing me access to the goodies on offer before Christmas. And there, calling my name, was the Samsung NC10, on sale for £190.
I tried to purchase it in black, but someone beat me to it, so I quickly snaffled the remaining colour - white - before that vanished too.
~~What's In the Box~~
The box contains the netbook, battery, power adaptor, a protective pouch and recovery disks, along with an installation guide and warranty information.
I shan't list every specification of the netbook, but the basic features, and the ones which had some bearing in me choosing this model are the 160 GB hard drive (split into two drives), 1 GB RAM, an SD card reader slot, built-in webcam, built in wifi, an Intel Atom N270 1.60 Ghz processor, Bluetooth and 3 USB slots.
The screen measures 10.2 inches and the machine including the battery weighs 1.3 kilos, meaning it's reasonably compact and light for carrying about with you.
I have had this netbook now for nearly 3 months so feel qualified to write a review of it now.
I tend to use it mostly when travelling although it has also become a computer I use when I want to surf the internet either in my bedroom or downstairs in the living room from time to time, and if my sister comes to stay, she uses it.
I was a bit disappointed at missing out on the NC10 in black, as white isn't really my colour of choice, but at the end of the day this is an aesthetic thing and the lid has an almost pearlescent appearance to it which I do quite like.
I do have to say that the NC10 lacks the styling detail that made the Q30 such a stunning little computer so in that regard it loses points, but I didn't buy the NC10 to be stylish - I bought it for the features.
It's isn't quite as slim as the Q30 either, meaning it originally struck me as a little dumpy in comparison.
There is a sleek silver trim around the side of the netbook and whilst this looks nice enough, it doesn't too well with the white casing to really make much of a difference. Needless to say it looks much better on the black model.
It is, however durable. This machine has travelled with me to London and been used on the train and I also took it with me on my recent holiday to the US. I carried it in a small laptop bag and it's been bumped about a little but to no ill effect.
Setting up this netbook wasn't a particularly difficult thing to do, although you do have to remember that netbooks do not have CD/DVD drives so you won't be able to add software to it using that method.
The battery isn't attached in the box so you have to attach that first and then power up your netbook using the power cable. The power switch is located on the right hand side and illuminates a fetching shade of blue when the machine is on.
You are prompted to register the pre-installed copy of Windows XP which is the operating system on this machine and this is easy to do. There is a step by step guide on what to do included in the Installation Guide.
Also included in the pre-installed software is the User Guide and software for using the built-in webcam, Samsung's own Update Plus software which will easily help you update drivers on the netbook and also a link to Samsung Recovery Solution which enables you to restore your netbook without use of a system DVD or CD. Obviously if you have problems with your hard drive this will not work and you will have to restore your system using a CD or DVD but it's good to have it there if you need it.
In the absence of a CD/DVD drive, it's probably easiest to add software to your netbook by downloading it.
Certainly I downloaded iTunes, AVG and Firefox to add to my system, but found it easier to copy the software that enables me to use my Samsung mobile phone as a modem onto a flash drive and copy it over that way. Similarly you can copy software onto an SD card.
I haven't added a lot of software to this netbook however as it is used primarily to surf the net, although I did add Microsoft Works so I had a stripped down word processor installed in case I found myself wanting to write a review on the go.
You can of course use an external CD/DVD drive with this machine. I do own one but as it is permanently linked to my desktop I haven't actually tried it with my netbook. I would suggest if you get one, try to get one of the ultra compact ones otherwise you may find your external CD/DVD drive is bigger than your netbook.
***Using the Netbook***
I must state that I am very familiar with Samsung netbooks and notebooks so I found the set up of this machine to be very straightforward. However, even if I hadn't been so familiar with the brand's computers, I would have found using it very straightforward.
The netbook powers up very quickly - something I appreciated after the comparatively slow Q30 which could take a leisurely 5 minutes to be booted up and connected to the internet. The NC10 rarely takes longer than 90 seconds and is excellent at picking up wifi networks quickly. There is also an Ethernet slot if you want to use a wired connection.
Of course this is a cut down computer in all aspects so you do have to be ready for a keyboard that is smaller than you may be used to on a regular laptop or desktop computer. I can touch type and sometimes get confused by the home keys, despite both having a marker to help you find them. Once I have been using it for a few minutes I usually adjust however.
The keyboard is 93.3% the size of a regular keyboard so the difference isn't huge - but it is noticeable.
The touchpad is a little on the small side too and I can find it a little fiddly at times, so you might want to invest in a mouse if you are going to be using this at a desk and will have the space for one.
The screen is a perfectly adequate 10.2 inches and the machine can easily cope with a couple of programs running at the same time thanks to the 1 GB of RAM. I find the display quality to be very good on this netbook - I would actually go so far as to say it's superior to the Q30 as it seems sharper. The screen does go into sleep mode very quickly as a power saving device but is easily brought back simply by hitting the "enter" button.
The built-in webcam is simplicity itself to operate - you merely click on the desktop icon and the software opens allowing you to see yourself in all your glory. You can take photos or record video clips with sound using this, making this an ideal netbook if you want to keep in touch with family and friends. The camera is 1.3 megapixels so I wasn't expecting much in the way of picture quality but I was pleasantly surprised at the results it yielded.
Sound quality is a little tinny on the netbook so I suggest you use headphones for listening to music or watching videos. There are headphone and microphone jacks on the right hand side of the machine.
The SD card slot is a little fiddly - it is located on the front of the netbook but you need to have nails to pull the protective cover out so you can insert an SD card. I found it a little awkward at first so be prepared to struggle when you first want to use it, but like the keyboard, you soon get used to it. The reader picks up data on your SD card quickly.
The NC10's biggest draw for me is its six cell battery life - a whopping 6 hours - having used it on battery for long periods at a time, I have never been disappointed in the battery performance.
The Q30 had to have a larger battery to run just for 3 hours so to have one battery that fits this netbook flush and like a glove offer double that is just brilliant.
I have used the NC10 on the battery for the duration of a train journey from London to Edinburgh due to a faulty power socket on the train and the battery was still going strong as we approached Waverley station.
The backlight is noticeably dimmer when you use your netbook on battery power but never so bad you would struggle to see what is displayed except in the brightest sun.
This gives makes the NC10 a particularly good portable machine - you can use it wherever you like around the house, in the garden or on the go.
I got the NC10 netbook for the bargain price of £190 in December 2009. The going rate for netbooks with similar spec seems to be not much more than that now and the NC10 is a little old hat now - but still available to buy for around £240, although it has been superseded by the N140.
I think I will be using the NC10 for some considerable time to come however as it has all the features I need and is powerful enough to handle surfing on the go and at home using a reliable and long lasting battery.
What it lacks in sleekness it more than makes up for in actual performance and the speed at which it works makes it a real pleasure to use, along with its reliability.
I tend to gravitate towards Samsung laptops and netbooks as a matter of course because of my past experience with them and I have to say that with the NC10 they have continued to impress with both design and performance.
Steve Jobs may well be right in saying the netbook is dead and the iPad will take over from them but for now we don't have the choice and have to have a netbook if we want to surf effectively on the go - and you could do a lot worse than pick the Samsung NC10 with which to do it.
Summary: A perfect netbook for surfing whether at home or away
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