Product Type: Samsung Netbook
Newest Review: ... 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 purel... more
Member Name: Huomenna
Advantages: small, lightweight, well built, clear screen, good wifi connectivity
Disadvantages: incredibly slow, struggles with even simple internet browsing, no inbuilt CD drive
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.
Summary: I can see the point of netbooks but ultimately this one left me feeling a bit cold