Review: Samsung NC10 Netbook

Having been on my netbook all weekend I decided it was time for a more detailed review. Also took a few more photos and can talk about the accessories I bought for it. This is not a technical review with lots of benchmarking and that kind of thing. It’s just one user’s opinion.

Summary

A great, value for money little netbook which is fun to use. Sharp bright screen, decent keyboard, surprisingly good battery life, stylish looks, ‘OK’ sound and decent specs in all other respects. Highly recommended.

Pros

  • Very good value for money at £299 in the UK
  • Sturdy construction, good specs
  • Phenomenal battery life
  • Looks good
  • Great keyboard, perfectly easy to type on (said from someone who uses a Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 keyboard normally)

Cons

  • Trackpad is on the small side
  • Sound from on-board speakers is tinny (though via headphones is fine)
  • Right shift-key takes some getting used to due to size/location

Coke can included for scale

Screen

The 10″ screen is sharp and colourful and I’m perfectly pleased with it. Is very bright. I turned ClearType on pretty much straight away as that improves ALL screen text regardless of what machine you’re using. Am surprised Microsoft don’t enable that as standard. No dead pixels either. The resolution is 1024×600 and the graphics card (built in) supports multiple monitors, rotation of the screen, etc. For someone used to a 21″ Dell wide-screen with 1600x pixels wide, I thought this notebook would prove hard work but it hasn’t at all. The small screen is fine. I’ve also streamed media (BBC iPlayer) and picture clarity is sharp and decent.

Keyboard

Very good. Much better than I thought it would be. I believe it’s full size, too. The only key that takes getting used to is the right hand shift button. I touch-type (and thus don’t need to look at the keyboard as I type) and have had no problems. I also like how the keys feel when you type.

Trackpad

This is on the small side. I’ve never been a fan of trackpads, probably because I’ve never generally speaking been a fan of laptops. I found it fine to use. It’s not the fastest to get around but the same can be said for most trackpads. I’ve upgraded to a Microsoft Wireless Notebook USB 6000 cordless mouse anyway which negates any concerns I may have about ease of use of the trackpad.

Battery Life

It’s too new for me to have fully put this through its paces. I’ve read it can go 7 hours without recharging (including using the wireless). Of course the screen will be dimmer to conserve power but that’s fine. The default setting is almost too bright for me anyway.

WiFi

I’ve not had a laptop before so I can’t compare it with anything. I stream media all day long and have had no breaks in service. My wifi is next door but the walls are very thick (1930s apartment building). So that’s good. I’ve read in reviews I’d also looked at that the wifi was strong and good at not dropping which appears to be true.

Construction

I think it’s sturdily built. I don’t have much to compare it with. Feels solid. USB slots on both sides. Power input on left side (I could have done with it on the back as my new netbook case has rear vent) but that’s just a minor point. Hinges and whatnot feel fine. I have the black model and love it. That said, I’m sure I’d have been happy with the white version too.

Sound

The onboard speakers are somewhat tinny, there’s no getting away from that. Perfectly fine for playing digital radio through and also MP3s, but if you’re an audiophile you may be more demanding. That said, the headphone socket delivers good quality audio through headphones and I imagine would do through external speakers too.

Performance

Seems decent to me. Office 2003 runs no probs at all. I have masses of pages in Firefox all running fine. I have Avira antivirus running in the background and Comodo firewall too (both are free). It does not appear ‘sluggish’ at all.

I’m using Picasa 3 (which is free) to edit photos including RAW files from my Nikon D50 and they open and edit no problem at all. No noticeable performance slowdowns. Copying large files between folders and from my external hard drive is also very fast.

Misc

There is an SD slot for camera memory cards. This is ideal as both my Nikon D50 SLR uses SD as does my Casio point & shoot.

Accessories

I’ve bought a Microsoft Wireless Netbook 6000 USB mouse which is £20 down from £30 at PC World and Currys at the moment. Works fine and very accurate.

I’ve also bought a Swordfish netbook carry case (a little steep at £22) from PC World but fits the netbook perfect (it’s the 10″ model of the case).

Photos

Some photos on the slideshow below. Higher res images on my flickr page.

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