Trying Ubuntu on the NB30 everything worked out of the box with the exception of the Realtek 8192E Wi-Fi card and the touch screen; a tap at any point on the screen just resulted in the Applications menu opening. That wasn't much of a surprise but eGalax hosts Linux drivers on its web site, so a fix should be possible. Installing drivers for the errant Wi-Fi card is a five minute job.
The semi-tough trappings are to be welcomed given the abuse netbooks get
Not unsurprisingly an identical specification to the N220 resulted in very similar PCMark05 results with the exception of the HDD test which was a significant improvement suggesting that our review N220 wasn't firing on all cylinders.
Without the touch screen, the NB30 seems to be generally available for between £10 and £15 less than the the N220 or to put it another way for around £300. As the two machines are in all significant ways identical, that has to make the NB30 the one to go for. OK, the keyboard is not up to the usual high Samsung standards but, frankly, neither is the one fitted to the N220 Moreoever, the semi-tough bodywork, HDD drop protection, spill resistant keyboard and optional touch screen – which will add around £60 to the price – are all features worth having.
The NB30 may only be semi-tough, but the enhancements should pay dividends in a life of rough and tumble. Like all Samsung netbooks it is well specified, well made and good looking and though the touchscreen won't keep Apple's engineers awake at night it still has its uses. ®
Thanks to Laptops Direct for the loan of the review sample.
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Samsung NB30 Touch
While I realise that HDDs are actually pretty robust nowadays and the accelerometer-controlled head-parking will likely prevent disasters I can't help but think that a device like this is crying out of SSD. Only recently we've seen reports that just the vibration from other equipment in data centres is supposed to slow down HDD performance and I know from experience that HDDs in portable devices cause "stalls" -- but with SSD you have vibration-resistant storage meaning your hard drive doesn't have to stop when you drop it on the bed or the bus or car journey is particularly bumpy.
Surely this is _the_ application, outside of high-speed situations, where SSD comes into its own?
OH SNAP !!!
the 250GB hard drive has a free-fall sensor that can detect the sort of sudden downward acceleration – recently associated with the BP's share price
Nice very nice !!!
When are people going to wake up and realize that "touch" and "gesture" based interfaces for all but hand held devices is STUPID? Wasn't the industrial revolution about replacing muscle power with machines?
Isn't waving your arms around to use a computer like, um, tiring? I'll twiddle my fingers on a four-inch screen or a touchpad, no problem, but on a laptop monitor you can't hand hold? An outrageous number of people have clearly started smoking some really good weezee and drinking Kool-Aid at the same time.
Imagine the scene in 20 years' time when the world is dominated by Wii-type controllers and multi-touch screens:
DR EVIL: "Riiiight... today we are going to introduce an IT revolution... I've invented this new device that I like to call a "mouse"... using this "mouse" which is a small hand-held controller that stays on a flat surface, the user can manipulate a "pointer" on the monitor and make it travel huge distances on screen with just a tiny movement of the hand on the "mouse"... no more large arm movements across the monitor or nasty fingerprints. Quite breathtaking I think."
NUMBER TWO: "Um, Dr Evil... That's already been done."
DR EVIL: "Riiight. How about this. We replace the virtual keyboard on computer monitors with something I'll call a "hardware" keyboard. This "hardware" keyboard will be a separate item with finger-sized, spring-loaded plastic keys that will keep the monitor clean, provide improved tactile feedback and allow the monitor surface and keyboard to be at separate angles to combine an optimal viewing AND typing experience."
NUMBER TWO: "That too, has already been done."
DR EVIL. "Shit. OK, let's just find an old CRT TV set, buy a Commodore 64 on eBay and hide in the bedroom."