Samsung NC10 netbook
The new mini-laptop champion
Battery life, however, is where the NC10 really stands out from the competition. In full power mode - with the Atom chip running at 1.6GHz - it managed to keep going for an impressive 257 minutes playing our standard-definition test video on a loop.
Flipping it into power saving mode - essentially, cutting the CPU speed back to 800MHz - and it managed to last a little bit longer at 262 minutes, with both results pushing it through the four-hour barrier by a healthy margin. As this is an extreme test, with the screen set to maximum brightness and the CPU tied up decoding H.264 video, this would translate to around six or seven hours' typical netbook usage.
Unlike many netbook rivals that also offer a Linux flavour, Samsung is sticking with just Windows XP Home for the NC10. Samsung has also thrown in a data recovery tool, so you can make snapshots of the hard drive that you can easily restore should things go wrong. There's also the usual anti-virus nagware trial, with McAfee doing the honours this time round.
Netbooks come into their own when travelling, and it's on the road that you'll most appreciate what the NC10 offers over the competition. The large keyboard is great to type on and its bright, non-glossy screen should make it easy to find a spot where you're not battling with screen reflections.
All the customary netbook ports
Its number-crunching performance is up there with the best, but its battery life is ahead of the crowd and means you can concentrate on getting some work done without having to worry about when you next see a power socket. Its main downside is its small touchpad and its £323 price tag, making it a little bit more pricey than some of the other models out there.
The Acer Aspire One has a great keyboard but poor battery life. The Asus Eee PC 1000 has a great runtime but a just-too-small keyboard. Anyone who's waited for netbook makers to combine the best of these two leading mini-laptops into a single product have had their prayers answered, by Samsung with its NC10. All hail the new netbook champ. ®
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