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I first purchased this netbook around a year ago while looking for something portable to display images I'd taken at car shows, make quick edits and send to my dye sub printer, all on site. I thought a netbook would be the way to go as my laptop was a bit to big and heavy, plus laptop battery life is usually not brilliant, whereas netbooks excel in this area. I did a bit of research into specifications and checked the software I had would run given the memory of these things. In the end I decided this Samsung seemed like the best option...
So why this particular Samsung?
There were several points that lead me towards this model - the inclusion of 3 USB ports (which somewhat made up for the lack of a CD drive - couldn't find a single netbook that did have one), supposedly fast start up, 1gb RAM (which seemed one of the higher ones on the market), 250gb hard drive, SD card slot and up to 10 hours battery life. Overall this seemed like it would do just the job I needed it to, with the bonus that it was in my price range.
What impressed me about it?
Putting it to use I have to say the battery life has not been exaggerated by Samsung, you can use it for hours and hours without needing to hook it up to the mains, great for when you're outside. Also while the keyboard is obviously smaller than normal, the keys are well spaced so you don't feel like you're mashing the keyboard and hitting several at once. The wifi connections are easy to set up and so quick to connect plus the 10.1" screen is also nicely clear and colours seem fairly accurate.
The unit is very small and light so great for portability - certainly if you're travelling abroad it will add very little weight to your already limited baggage allowance. The overall small size means it will also fit in most ladies average sized handbags or any gentlemans briefcase with ease.
What didn't/don't I like?
Unfortunately I have to say I've not been as impressed with this netbook as the other two reviewers - maybe this is because I've been spoilt with higher spec laptops and desktop computers, that said I did expect something better than my smart phone and I'm not sure I've really got it, let me explain why...
The start up time was quoted as being very fast, I can't remember exactly how quick, but it was certainly in the seconds, not the minutes I've found to be the case and this has been from the very first day I've used the thing. I could cope with this if the rest of the machine had impressed me, but I'm still underwhelmed by it. Using it for photos clearly seems to have been a very bad idea - it's just so gut wrenchingly slow to do anything, sure it copies them from the card quick enough but god forbid you want to edit the things (no I'm not trying to run photoshop on the machine - it's loaded with an event software called Dark Room).
After a few car shows last summer this netbook essentially ended up abandoned in my office with the exception of being taken to Cornwall with my for a week last October. I'm using it again now, infact I'm writing this review on it, because my trusty full size laptop is in need of a new charger. Luckily I recently got a lovely new desktop for my office otherwise I'd be driven mad by the Samsung by now - I'm purely using this for messing around on the internet ie. anything not to do with my business.
You'd think that a netbook would work perfectly well for internet use, after all surely the clue is in the name? Nope. Want to have multiple tabs open at any one time? Samsung says no. Ok so you can physically have multiple tabs but the browser is so painfully slow flicking between them. Further more once a page seems to load it often freezes for a few seconds like it's playing catch up and you have to wait before you can scroll down or type anything.
Remember that with the lack of a CD drive everything will either need to be downloaded from the internet or copied onto memory card/USB this is a bit of a pain, but as this seems to be a feature of all netbooks I can't say Samsung is worse than it's competitors in this respect - I'm assuming it must be a space saving feature.
Is the build quality any good?
Yes. For a something so light and clearly made mainly from plastic it does feel quite sturdy (not that I suggest dropping it). The top is a gloss finish (mine is black) which does attract alot of finger prints, but it seems fairly scratch resistant and is wipe clean. Although my netbook hasn't had much use, a year down the line from purchase it still looks almost brand new.
The various sockets are a bit 'clunky' looking but they are functional and anything connected ie. power cable or USB sticks, feel securely in place. The power button is a bit of a pain - it's located on the side corner and easy enough to press, but when it goes into sleep mode sometimes I struggle waking it back up and have to press the power button multiple times to get any sort of response.
How much did it cost?
I believe I paid £260 when I purchased it last March.
Do I recommend it?
Essentially the netbook isn't good at what I bought it for. Ok it wasn't designed for that so I can't really blame Samsung in that respect, it's my fault for buying an inappropriate product I thought would serve my purposes, BUT now I am using it for its intended purpose and I'm still not impressed. Just loading a few holiday snaps from my compact camera was a nightmare - even when trying to use the windows editing software provided you'd spend minutes staring at the screen waiting for anything you'd selected to take effect and the poor performance on internet browsing takes the biscuit.
Honestly I can't say I recommend it, if all netbooks are like this I can't really see the point - slow, frustratng and effectively useless at doing most jobs, from what I've seen most tablet computers look faster so if size and portability is key maybe this is a road you should look down.
I won't be selling mine - I already feel like I wasted money buying it and I know I'd lose alot from selling second hand, so I'll be keeping it as emergency back up and taking it with me on short trips. If I had my time again though I think I'd either be looking at a tablet of a small fully fledged laptop.
I usually use a standard size laptop in my day to day life but sometimes I tend to use what the boffins call a netbook, which is technically a laptop with a few less 'guts', so this gives you a smaller PC for smaller PC-ing jobs.
One particular netbook that I have been using is from a well known company called Samsung, with the actual netbook being the Samsung NC110.
Before I go into why, when and what I will give you a few specs about this totally mobile netbook...
* Inside it there is a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU with 1GB of DDR3 SDRAM, although as it is Windows 7 Starter 1gig is ample really.
* The is a 250GB Hard disk drive (HDD).
* It has a good 10.1 inch screen which offers 1024 x 600 resolutions and is almost crystal clear.
* There is a 1.3MP camera in the centre above the screen
* It gives you 3 USB ports, a VGA port and a memory card reader.
* It has the standard wireless capabilities, 802.11n adapter,
* Apart from the wireless there is also inbuilt Bluetooth capabilities
* As for the actual size of the netbook itself, it is about 260mm wide by 180mm long and just under 30mm thick, weighing in at less than a bag of sugar, making it almost as mobile as a phone.
What it doesn't have is a CD/DVD drive, but an external one can be added using one of the USB ports. Nor is there a HDMI input port so you have to really on the VGA for connecting to an external monitor/screen.
So what does this netbook look like then..?
It looks like a smaller version of any old laptop, with a screen folding on top of a keyboard and a selection of ports and holes going around the frame so that you can slot things into it.
To me this netbook looks a little strange, with the curved edges looking like the designer forgot to finish the job off, leaving gaps around the connector ports, making the entire unit look a little 'jaggedy' (if that's a word?).
The keys themselves stand proudly from the surface like soldiers on duty and the mouse pad is set just off centre along the bottom end, with the 'button' covering the bottom end of the pad itself.
Just to the left of the pad are five little lights which glow slightly when that particular device is activated, such as power, wireless and more.
Then there's the screen, the 10.1 inch vibrant screen which is quite clear but can be a little 'fuzzy' at times, no matter what settings I have tried, but this is nothing to worry about as it only goes 'fuzzy' if you are right up to the screen, so sit back slightly and your laughing.
Above the screen there is the webcam itself, which isn't the greatest of webcams but does what it is supposed to do.
On the left side there is the power input socket, an Ethernet port, with the cooling fan and also a single USB port.
On the right side there is the headphone socket, microphone socket, two more USB ports, a VGA port, (as there is no HDMI port), and the on/off button.
Finally, along the front there are five lights, which light up when that particular 'thing' is active, such as the power supply, Wi-Fi activated and even 'cap lock' on. Also on the front there is a SD card slot which is protected by a plastic 'imitation' SD card.
For a netbook of its size, and not forgetting the remarkably low price for what you get, this is one of, if not the best little thing that I have used.
The keyboard seems slightly smaller than your standard laptop but with the keys having a gap between each one it didn't take me that long to get my fingers used to drifting over them letters, hitting the right one when needed, (and hitting the wrong one on several occasions). In fact, due to the space between the letters, I did find it easy to hit one key at a time instead of 'clipping' the key next to the one my chubby fingers were aiming at. There are one or two keys that are smaller than normal but as these aren't the 'important' ones you'll not really notice.
The HDD may only be 250GB but that is plenty for this type of netbook, well, for me anyway as I tend not to use this for over the top things, I use it more for mainly writing notes, storing the odd image or document, maybe a graph or two... you get the point.
It also offers Bluetooth connection, which is Bluetooth 3 and is pretty fast indeed, although as I'm not a fan of Bluetooth sharing on PC's I don't like to use it.
The battery can last up to a good 10 hours, depending on what I have running at the time, but even after a good five hours online there was still over 40% of the power left for me to carry on running it
The screen can be a bit 'fuzzy' but the fact that the it manages to deflect some light it can be viewed even in the brightest of lights.
Speaking of the screen, I do have to mention that when I first opened this netbook up I thought there was a fault on it as the screen just wouldn't push back as far as I was used to them going back on there devices, it just didn't seem to want to be pushed back too far, leaving it more at 105° angle. I find this to be a bit of a struggle to see the screen properly if it is sat on my lap, realising that it is best to view the screen when sat on a table or the like.
The webcam is not the best but is manages to keep focus on what it's meant to be doing without making what ever you're taking the image of looking like it's either staggering around like a drunken lamb climbing a step ladder or as clear to see as a white fluffy cat in a snow storm.
The wireless feature is remarkable, in fact I managed to get connected to my router in a matter of minutes, if not seconds, which is half the battle when it comes to setting the netbook up the way you want it, although with this I did find that there was a lot of things that I wanted to change but couldn't do, (until I'd changed a few things and downloaded a few others, which could nullify the warranty so I don't recommend doing that unless yours is out of warranty). Now each time I log on, as long as I'm near a wireless network, be it at home, work or even a well known burger house, this netbook connects to the network in seconds, gripping on like a sleeping budgie in a tree.
The speakers could have been better and really do fail when it comes to playing my favourite tracks, but they do a good enough job when listening to lower aimed audio, such as someone speaking or simple tones, without sounding like someone has started blowing a dog whistle down your ear drums.
I know that there is no built in CD/DVD drive but that really doesn't matter as most programs can be installed via online or, if necessary, installed using a pen drive or the like. And the lack of a CD/DVD drive makes this netbook as small and as useful as it is, which is what we need these days isn't it?
One of the USB ports has the capabilities of continuing to push out a charge even when the netbook is turned off. This is called sleep and charge, although if you use this when you're not plugged in then the battery will drain and eventually need charging.
I don't use this system really so I can't say if it works that well, although I have tried it and it does charge up my phone when the netbook isn't on, which is what it is supposed to do at the end of the day.
There are a few 'niggly' downsides to this otherwise lovely little piece of technology, the first being that it comes with that horrid windows 7 starter, which is why its price tag is as it is, mainly due to fact that windows 7 starter really is a basic OS and cost next to nothing, so that the netbooks it is installed on can be sold at a cheaper price.
This OS can be a bit of a pain in the proverbial, stopping you from changing even the simplest of things, such as the desktop image, which can hurt your eyes after a while due to its rather 'blue' colour, but don't despair, there are little helpers on line to help you get rid of those W7 starter irritants so you can set this netbook up exactly how you want it.
Secondly, don't expect to be opening more than a handful of programs at once, in fact, a handful is a bit of an exaggeration as I had problems trying to run four programs at once time, finding the netbook becoming sluggish if more than three 'normal' programs are open at once. If I want to write something whistl looking at something else then I have discovered that it's best if I turn off the Wi-Fi as this is what tends to try and take over the CPU, slowing the system down to almost a crawl.
Luckily I'm not a gamer so I don't use this for playing them, which is best as when I tested a simple game on this it was like watching paint dry, in fact, paint drying can be faster. So gamers should steer clear of this one.
Finally, there's are a lot of pre-installed programs on it, such as 'Samsung support centre', something called 'Easy file share', a 60 day trial of 'Norton Online backup' and others. Fortunately these can be uninstalled so that they don't get in the way, giving you more space on the HDD and most importantly, less nonsense on your netbook.
As for the price of this extremely portable netbook that offers a lot in such a small package...(calm down ladies, not that sort of package).
This Samsung netbook sells for around the £220 - £250 region, which, even in my books, is great value for money indeed.
So, if you want a smaller than 'standard' portable PC that you want to carry around with you no matter where you go then this one is well worth a look at. It has doen me proud over the time, storing enough information on it so that I can take it from job to job without lugging a heavier 'block' around.
In all this is one of the cheapest netbooks around... although cheap is the wrong word as I feel the word 'cheap' makes people think 'tacky' and 'nasty', which this is most defiantly neither...., considering the specs that it offers and it is so lightweight that carry it around is as easy as carrying an over sized book.
This isn't the first net book I have had. I previously had one and after having a netbook I definately would never go back to having a full sized laptop.
They have all the necessary functions but all compact and convenient, not to mention cute.
for me one of the main reasons for purchasing a netbook also was the price. I don't feel any laptop I've sampled was any better than this netbook.
It is also a very attractive netbook, I purchased it in purple and regularly have been complimented on it!
Content wise the netbook doesn't come with windows office and this is something you have to buy yourself. I also cannot put backgrounds on my computer which I find quite annoying but it has all the necessaries. It also has bluetooth meaning you can bluetooth things straight from your hone or camera onto the laptop which is always something I look for when purchasing a computer.
I would definately recommend this netbook. It is very good money and very good quality for money.
It would be especially useful for anyone at university or with a job with requires traveling and taking your laptop with you andit is a good size to fit in your handbag.
Size wise I also don't feel your compromising. PRehaps if you have poor eyesight it may be necessary to have a bigger computer so you can have a bigger screen but for me I certainly find the screen is very good quality and I don't have any problems reading anything, apart from on the odd occassion when I have had the picture not completely fit but by resizing the screen I have overcome this issue.
|Product Description:||Samsung NC110 - 10.1" - Atom N550 - Windows 7 Starter - 1 GB RAM - 250 GB HDD|
|Operating System:||Windows 7 Starter|
|Processor:||Intel Atom N550 / 1.5 GHz / 1 MB Cache|
|Memory:||1 GB DDR3|
|Storage:||250 GB HDD / 5400 rpm|
|Display:||10.1" LED backlight 1024 x 600 / WSVGA|
|Graphics:||Intel GMA 3150|
|Networking:||802.11n, Bluetooth 3.0 HS , 10/100 Ethernet|
|Dimensions (WxDxH):||25.9 cm x 18 cm x 3.4 cm|
|Microsoft Office Preloaded:||Includes a pre-loaded image of select Microsoft Office 2010 suites. Purchase an Office 2010 Product Key Card or disc to activate preloaded software on this PC.|
|Environmental Standards:||ENERGY STAR Qualified , EPEAT Gold|
|Manufacturer Warranty:||1 year warranty|