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
cheap, durable and linux compatible
Member Name: abergeek
Advantages: cheap, durable, lightweight, works with linux, sun light readable screen
Disadvantages: sharp edges annoying, SD cards stick out half way,
I got one of these for work a year ago and 2 of my colleagues got them at the same time. We do a lot of work outside and on boats and these laptops have been great for this. The matte screen is readable in bright sun light (unlike most laptops which have glossy screens that just reflect the sun), the battery lasts a good 5 hours with heavy wifi, cpu and hard disk use and they are quite light and easily held in one hand while typing with the other. We've used them in freezing conditions, light rain and warm weather without any trouble. They have got dusty and damp, been dropped from about 1 metre onto concrete and survived without incident. Last summer mine even got splashed by salt water while on a boat and its still working!
They seem quite happy running Ubuntu Linux. I've been runing Xubuntu 8.04 LTS without any major issues except the default kernel didn't support the wifi, the array.org eeePC kernel made the wifi work (but broke ethernet support!). I tried both Ubuntu 9.10 and 10.04 from a live USB and both worked out of the box with the wifi and ethernet. I found that manually installing the kernel from either of these on 8.04 made the wifi work. The only other issue is that linux battery life is not quite as good as windows but its pretty close.
The keyboard is nicely layed out and the keys are large for a netbook. Far better than the Asus eeePC 701/900/901's keyboard. However I don't like the sharp edges which I find can make typing a little uncomfortable. There is an SD card reader on the front which works fine but SD cards stick out halfway from it and its easy to knock the card out by mistake so I wouldn't want to rely on running it from SD card
The touch pad also sometimes has a mind of its own and seems to randomly close or (under linux only) shade windows (displaying only their title bars). It also doesn't like getting wet and refuses to move when wet, this isn't limited to the nc10 and seems to be a problem with all touchpads.
These netbooks make great field laptops and are nice alternatives to the toughbook. Although not as durable and waterproof they are a fraction of the price of a toughbook, far more comfortable to use and easier to read in sunlight. For the price of a toughbook you could buy several nc10s.
Summary: A good general purpose machine. Anyone doing field work should consider them.