Samsung NF210 dual-core netbook
Quirky design, state-of-the-art Atom CPU
Review Netbooks, irrespective of manufacturer, are based on a very well-defined set of specifications. How, then, do those manufacturers seek to separate their offerings from the herd? If you're Samsung, you come up with a quirky, curvy case design.
Samsung's NF210: matte display and latest Atom CPU on board
I'm not just describing the usual rounded corners and edges, there - I mean 'curvy' literally. Look at the NF210 side on, and the line that separates the bottom half from the lid curves gracefully up from the front and then quickly back down again at the back.
This is, of course, purely cosmetic and has the unfortunate effect that the casing rises 10mm or so above the keys at either side of the keyboard. The display - for once, a matte-coated screen, anti-glare display fans - has to be flat, so the lid thickens up at the back to make room for the cutaways into which the raised sides will sit when the lid is closed.
Visually, all this isn't unappealing, though it does give the NF210 a feminine quality, enhanced by the cream-and-black colour scheme, that blokey geeks may be uncomfortable with. It also makes the notebook considerably chunkier than it needs to be. Just 20mm at the front, the NF210 thickens to 30mm - or to 36mm if you have the six-cell, 6600mAh battery option that protrudes beyond the base of the machine.
Not a slimline netbook
In spite of the high sides, the NF210's calculator-style keyboard is fine to type on, with barely any flex. The design doesn't get in the way. The keys and surround are cast in matte black plastic, but the wrist rest has a charcoal brushed-aluminium look, though it's not made of metal.
Next page: Cosmetics cover standard spec
Netbook makers, are you listening....
This is the spec that will sell.
A minimum of 1024x768 screen, 10.1". (Hopefully 1366x768). No bigger than 11" or might as well buy a full blown laptop.
A GPU that will allow hardware acceleration for 1080p playback, ION good enough.
HDMI and VGA outputs.
Dual core atom, or ARM for Linux fans. In the case of Linux it MUST play higher quality flash video without stuttering. (Flash on windows can use GPU acceleration, this is NOT coming to Linux, DIE FLASH DIE!)
3 USB ports is plenty, and if USB3.0 is so much more expensive than 2.0, then 2.0 is fine.
Bluetooth, again 3.0 is not needed unless it is not much more expensive than 2.x
SD card slot
Wireless N (G if it keeps cost down, but since my EEPC901 has N then it can not be much more)
Gigabit Ethernet. (100Mb OK if much cheaper)
How hard can it be?
Personally, not sure that getting rid of the trackpad would help. I use my netbook mostly when travelling, and its a bit of a b*****d trying to use a mouse with the thing balanced on your knees in a departures lounge, or on the tray table on the back of a Virgin train's seat! Plus, you have to carry it around with you, and i suspect a lot of people for whom the 'pick up and go' appeal of a netbook is key would not go for this.
@ Stuart Archer
I agree completely. Part of my netbook usage is in bed (I like to watch cartoons before going to sleep) and a mouse on linen? No ta.
Re: Something I'd like to see in these lappie/netbook reviews.
It isn't easy. The Ram is the only component accessible through a hatch.
Of course, if you're willing to take the entire base off, this won't matter. But then you'll also be able to upgrade it no matter how tricky Samsung makes it.
Something I'd like to see in these lappie/netbook reviews.
Don't take this the wrong way - this is constructive criticism. I can't speak for all but some of us must wonder how upgradeable the things you review are.
You mentioned the single ram slot. Good. Forewarned. What sized sodimm are we limited to? I'm guessing 2 gigs but I well may be wrong.
What about other internal options? How easy is it to open this thing up and change the HDD for example ? Some of us might like to know.