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. ®
More Netbook Reviews...
Asus Eee 1000
Dell Mini 9
Samsung NC10 netbook
Good but some small problems
I have one and like it, although I was never intending to use it just as a 'netbook'. I installed Office 2007 on it (via a USB stick), and it works okay. But editing large documents is a hassle with its slow processor, small screen, annoying touchpad and also because you have to use the Function key to get 'Home' or 'End', buttons I use a lot. I can think of better compromises they could have made with the keyboard (e.g. personally I rarely use the function keys) but I guess that's a matter of personal preference.
There's one other compromise they've made - the sound is terrible, whether you use the built-in or external speakers or headphones. Shame because it could double up as a great little music and video player.
I thought everyone used it with trackball mode? I guess some people just can't read manuals. I've used the multi-touch a few times, only downside is i'm clearly don't have the dexterity to zoom in/out smoothly.
Anybody know if I can get some gizmo to enable me to run it off the cigarette lighter socket in a car?
I've owned an NC10 since early December. Only three complaints, all livable. The first is the touchpad/clickers. Agreed, the pad is too small. I don't agree it could not have been made (even a little) bigger. Seems there could be another 10-20% they could've squeaked out. The left and right clickers should also have been designed as separate pieces. This issue, however, is solved with a wireless mouse; and the mini-dongled Logitech I bought is about perfect.
The second issue is build quality. It's really not bad at all, but, with a couple of very small changes, the NC10 would come off much better. The outside surface of the lid/screen could be tied down a bit better near the hinge side. It flexes when you pick it up leaving a less-than-solid impression. Mold another attach point, or two, and that's done. The next is the execution of the chrome around the side. Upon closer inspection, it looks cheap. It's more fit, than finish.
And, lastly, the edge where you place your wrists (while gleefully touch-typing) could be more rounded for a more modern look, as well as better comfort.
The NC10 is so good otherwise, these things actually rise to the level of an issue. Great battery life, great keyboard, excellent storage, speedy enough (specially with 2GB) and very accommodating to a lifestyle of mobility and travel. No regrets after over two months of daily use.
I've got myself one of those shortly after they became available in the UK and I've been dead chuffed. Battery life nothing short of amazing, screen is brilliant, keyboard is fantastic, and it's got enough oomph to play back full screen video.
I'd be happy to do web dev work on this machine for extended periods. In short, it's nothing short of amazing, especially for the price.
As for the trackpad (it's a Synaptic one) - yes it's small, but that's not a problem: switch it to "Trackball mode", and out of the sudden size doesn't matter anymore. Besides, why didn't the review mention that it supports multitouch gestures - I would have thought that it's an important feature... You can, for example, zoom web pages in Firefox and IE7 using the familiar "Mac-style" pinch gestures, and scroll using a circular gesture. I wish my full-blown laptop supported these...