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
The Perfect 10
Member Name: Drewster_Rooster
Advantages: Lightweight, Ultra-Portable, Fast & Responsive
Disadvantages: Battery life
The Internet has, over the years become an addiction of mine and is the one thing nowadays that I would hate to be without. I have been on line for over 10 years and in my time have worked my through a number of home PC's each one more powerful and responsive than the last and just as technology advances so the on line experience becomes more prevalent in my day to day normal life. I bank on line, pay bills on line and am a member of various websites such as dooyoo and ciao along with fan sites for my favourite television programmes and celebrities. Shopping on line was a revelation to me when I first discovered it and over the years have made many purchases whilst sat at home, Christmas shopping on line means I am not faced with the hustle and bustle of crowded shopping centres and the fluster and hassle which comes with it and overall I fully acknowledge that the Internet has revolutionised my life and to me has been the greatest 'invention' of the 20th Century.
In 2008 when my wife and I bought a static caravan as somewhere to escape the stresses that were surrounding us one of my concerns was that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the things I did on line. Paying bills on line and checking our bank accounts is something I do on a regular basis so I wanted to be able to continue doing this when we were away from home so looked at the different options that would enable me to stay connected when I would not have access to either broadband or my desktop PC.
After a disastrous encounter with a handheld web-browser (The ineffective 'Pocket Surfer' from Datawind) I looked into buying a laptop. Budget restraints and a complete lack of knowledge in this area put me off taking the plunge into buying one outright but a compromise was suggested to me which would offer me a solution to getting on line whilst away from home; a netbook.
Why this Netbook
I was already a Vodafone customer for my mobile phone when on the off-chance I called into one of their stores to ask about the offers they had on Netbooks. Back in August 2008 the NC10 was the new kid on the block as far as Netbooks were concerned and as I was able to obtain one on a contract with Vodafone which essentially meant I was paying for the device at the same time as a monthly usage allowance I signed on the dotted line and ended up the proud owner of a brand new Samsung Netbook.
2 years on and the NC10 is used on a daily basis and is as quick today as it was the first time I switched it on. Although I wouldn't consider myself to be a technophobe I am not technically minded so this review will concentrate on my thoughts on the device as a whole and my opinion on how it operates and performs its intended purpose - getting me on line - rather than being a long list of specs and technical jargon.
What you can expect to receive for your money
First things first then and how it looks. Out of the box the Netbook is essentially a smaller version of any laptop that you could want to buy, mine is black in colour with a glossy piano-black lid and 'compact' would be a good description of it. Its screen measures in at 10.2 inches on its diagonal and the keyboard well set out and instinctively easy to use. It is apparently 93% the size of a standard keyboard and I have no problems in being able to type on it (although I do tend to use the backspace key quite a lot more than I do on a regular keyboard) The keys themselves have just the right amount of 'bounce' when depressed so that you dont have to bang them in to allow you to type but would also be gentle enough for any touch typists to use easily enough.
The function keys are set above the numerical 1-10 keys and the mousepad sits beneath the space bar which does take some time in getting used to if, like me, you are used to using a traditional mouse. There are 2 USB slots on the left hand side of the keyboard which allows you to attach a wired mouse (which I use) or any other additional items (printer etc) and a slot to allow an ethernet cable if you want to hook it up to a wired modem. On the right hand side of the keyboard are ports for headphones and a microphone if desired and a third USB slot as well as the on/off button.
There is a webcam built into the Netbook which is set just above the screen and the software is pre-installed onto the device to allow you to use it whenever you desire and the picture clarity is good so long as there is enough light around you. I dont personally use the webcam but its a handy thing to have if you use any of the social networking sites and its inclusion on the Netbook is an added extra so nothing to grumble about really.
There is only 1 major difference between a contract NC10 (which mine is) and one that is a outright purchase from an electrical retailler and that is the amount of batteries which are included. Mine has only 4 batteries rather than the 6 which come as standard on the retail version so this means that instead of the 7.5 hour battery life you can expect to recieve if you buy this outright I only get around 3-4 hours of useage before I have to plug the Netbook back into the mains to recharge. This is the only area where the two devices differ so it may be worth checking which you are likely to recieve if you buy this as the amount of time you will be able to use the device between charges is obviously dependant on how many batteries you actually have.
In reality and when I am at our caravan I tend to leave the Netbook plugged into the mains anyway as the screen tends to be quite dim when on battery-saving mode and I prefer a brighter screen to type on. If I had any complaints or niggles about the NC10 then the brightness of the screen would be the only area that I would have any concerns about as sometimes it is quite difficult to actually see what is infront of you. By keeping it plugged in solves this issue for me but I thought it a concern worth mentioning.
To go all techy for a moment, the NC10 has 1GB of memory installed along with a 1.6GHz processor and its memory can be increased by an additional 2GB if so desired as there is a single slot available to allow the upgrade. This is something that I havent needed to do as I am quite happy in using mine just to get me online to the sites that I use on a daily basis so it isnt used as a storage device for music tracks or photographs although it could be used for this if desired. It has a standard hard drive of 160GB and includes a SD slot which supports MMC and SDHC cards as well as SD ones. All of this doesnt really make *that* much sense to me but thought it approprtiate to mention to the more savvy reader so that they know what to expect memory and processing wise as this is obviously an important factor in making a purchasing decision.
My Netbook has Windows XP as its installed operating system and I have experienced no problems with it whatsoever, connecting to the internet is simple as no dongles or exterior modems are required as the Vodafone simcard acts as an internal modem which picks up on any 3G or GPRS signals which are around and depending on the strength of the signal will determine how reliable it is for holding its connection. This, of course, is dependant where you are in the UK and which network provider you are with so not really a feature of the device itself. I am with Vodafone as already mentioned and my NC10 picks up and holds its signal remarkably well although nowhere near as reliable or as quick as my broadband at home however it would be unreasonable of me to expect this anyway.
I had no unreasonable expectations from my Netbook, I simply wanted something which would get me online and this fulfills that requirement for me. I have never owned a laptop or used one all that much so cant compare or discuss the differences between the two, I would imagine that the NC10 does not have the internal memory or the hard drive capabilities of a traditional laptop but I wouldnt expect it to for the price it costs to purchase and for what it is intended for. It weighs around 1.5 kgs without its batteries, is incredibly portable and has been a reliable item which has never let me down.
I am a self confessed internet addict and the NC10 has allowed me to stay online whilst away from home and has allowed me to continue with my online presence. 2 years of extensive usage later should give an indication of the quality of this device and it comes wholeheartedly recommended by me. As with all technology advancements are always being made but the Samsung NC10 is still available to buy, Amazon offer this for sale from £299.99 which is certainly cheaper than a regular laptop and if you are looking for something which gets you online then this is something to consider.
My rating of 5 stars adds another perfect score to the others that have already been given. You cant really go wrong with the NC10 in my opinion and it is highly recommended by me.
Thanks for reading my review.
Summary: Samsung NC10 Netbook - My Experience and Thoughts