Product Type: Samsung Netbook
Newest Review: ... (which is really very pretty!) or a glass black for a more professional look, the NC20 thin, light and a joy to use.... more
Samsung NC20 - great little netbook!
Member Name: RamblinMan
Date: 11/11/09, updated on 18/06/10 (203 review reads)
Advantages: Large screen, fast prcessor, reliable brand
Disadvantages: No major disadvantages
I've had the pleasure of using this netbook for the last month or so, and I love it. After a lot of research I decided to go for the NC20 as it matched all my requirements and was already highly recommended by a reliable source.
This is an upgrade from the NC10 model, and uses the new Via Nano processor, offering superior performance over the Intel Atom used in most other netbooks. Samsung is the first manufacturer to use Nano in a mobile device. At 1.3 GHz it's pretty fast and I've had no issues with it so far, everything loads with no delay and Internet browsing is a delight. Only HD videos give it a bit of trouble, but that doesn't bother me. Otherwise, it's a pretty quiet and cool machine.
You get 1GB of installed RAM, but this can be upgraded to 2GB, very cheaply (around £17 last time I looked) and very simply by following the instructions in the manual provided. I haven't done this yet, and I might not bother doing it at all, as so far it's not an issue. I can run several programs at once without any noticeable sluggishness.
The operating system is Windows Xp Home, which I preferred over Vista. The hard drive at 160GB is more than sufficient for my needs at this time. One thing to remember is that you don't actually get 160GB, once you allow 11GB for the operating system and 6GB for the system recovery (should you mess it up somehow), what's left is 143GB of space.
When you first switch on the NC20, you will be asked to partition your hard drive. I'd never come across this before, so after some more research, I decided to leave the C: drive at the minimum 25GB (for all the programs installed) and set the D: drive to the remaining 118GB (to be used for all my documents). Overall this seemed to be the recommended course of action by the experts.
The screen is pretty huge for a netbook and measures 12.1 inches, with maximum resolution of 1280x800 pixels. Some find it a bit too reflective, I think it's mostly fine. I thought the smaller netbooks, though cheaper, simply had too small a screen, and I don't like having to do too much scrolling. With such a large screen and weighing in at 1.5kg, NC20 is larger and heavier than standard netbooks with 9 or 10in displays. It's almost in the laptop territory. The keyboard is also large and very easy to use (with Silver Nano antibacterial coating to boot!), and the touchpad very responsive with various customisable features.
The NC20 has a glossy finish on the outer lid, which may show up finger prints and dust, but that's not a problem for me. Lack of a CD / DVD drive may be an issue, particularly if you have programs you want to install from a disc, however an external USB drive can be purchased cheaply and used via one of the 3 USB ports.
The Lithium-ion 6-cell battery offers between 4 to 6 hours depending on your usage. This is brilliant compared to many older models that only used to give you 2 hours or less. Charging up for the first time using the AC adapter provided took about 90 minutes.
The NC20 is wi-fi enabled and has Bluetooth, Ethernet and VGA connections, as well as microphone and headphone inputs. The stereo speakers sound reasonably okay, if a little tinny, so I'd recommend using headphones or outside speakers for music etc. I generally don't use webcams so I haven't tried it yet and can't comment on it.
Software included: Samsung Magic Doctor, Samsung Update Plus, Easy Display Manager, Easy Battery Manager, Easy Network Manager, Easy SpeedUp Manager, Acrobat Reader, and McAfee trial.
I'm not a fan of McAfee (or any other paying anti-virus programs) so I have uninstalled it (the trial was out of date anyway!) and gone for a free Avast anti-virus, combined with some added anti-spyware. Samsung Update occasionally pops up and offers a driver update, then refuses to install it. So I'm ignoring it for now, as the machine is working like a dream so far (touch wood!).
You get the standard 1-year international collect & return warranty, and there is online and telephone support too. The fabric case that comes in the pack is a bit flimsy so would recommend getting a separate protective case, should you wish to take it on your travels.
I would also strongly recommend the www.sammynetbook.com website, if you have any questions or problems, people on there are very helpful.
Overall, if you're looking for a reliable netbook with excellent performance and screen size, you can't go wrong with this one.
Summary: Punches well above its weight!
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