REVIEW: Small ‘n sexy netbook for geeks on the move
IT’S never good to be dependent on something for your happiness or well-being. Some people are dependent on cigarettes and caffeine, others on soap operas, and some on digital products. I am dependent on my computer. Whether I’m connecting with friends and family on the Internet, escaping into the world of gaming, or keeping myself entertained with movies or TV series, it is all dependent on my home entertainment system – my PC. Without it, without my daily fix of computing, I reckon I would be a rather miserable sod.
What’s sadder than being dependent on this machine are my efforts to pack my bulky desktop PC into whatever size bag or box I have in order to take it with me whenever I go off somewhere for a few days. The simple solution is to buy myself a laptop. Unfortunately laptops haven’t yet become the technology of yesteryear and therefore do not fall within my pitiful budget.
But then, just before I was about to mail my doubtful Christmas wish-list off to Santa near the end of last year, an alternative was born…
The ultra-mobile netbook
The netbook is a type of basic laptop that can perform most of the same functions as any fully-qualified PC with the exception of advanced programming. One can think of a laptop as a glorified netbook. The main benefit is that it’s a lot cheaper, and slimmer too.
This year Samsung jumped on board with the release of the Samsung NC10 into the global netbook market. This little beauty is small, light and incredibly functional, and is a stylish alternative to existing netbook products.
Samsung says that the NC10 was developed with the needs of the “kinetic elite” in mind, with the idea of achieving “more on the move.” Somewhat like my pop-idol, Pixie Bennett, the NC10 is ultra-compact and rather attractive, and would probably not be looked down on by any laptop opponents. It may be small, but it sure is talented.
Weighing in at 1.33kgs, with a screen size of just 10.2″, the NC10 is one of the world’s lightest netbooks. A 6 cell battery lights up its WSVGA (1024 x 600) SuperBright non-Gloss LED screen, which is fuelled by an ergonomic notebook PC-style keyboard. This little mobile powerhouse can provide up to 8 hours of mobile computing.
One would expect such a lightweight computer to break if shouted at too hard, however, Samsung assures us that the NC10’s robust Protect-o-Edge chassis has undergone no less than 54 “grueling” quality assurance tests, ranging from rapid temperature change to electrical surges.
The NC10 keyboard is something a little special. Manufacturers use impressive-sounding ‘Silver Nano Technology’ to coat the keyboard with incredibly small, nano-sized silver ion powder, which makes it impossible for bacteria to live and breed. Theoretically, 99.9% of bacteria are successfully eliminated within 24 hours and the netbook remains relatively bacteria free.
I cleaned my keyboard once by removing all the keys and found more than one colony of mutated and overweight bacteria breeding and evolving beneath my fingertips. It wasn’t pretty. I’m all for silver ion powder.
Power and performance
The NC10’s brain may be small, but it’s not stupid. Its processor is Intel’s smallest and lowest power processor to date – the Intel Atom™, which enables the NC10 to deliver real computing power at a fraction of the weight, size and cost. Samsung suggests that incorporating Windows XP Home coupled with an 80-160GB hard disk, the NC10 sets a new standard in price / performance for netbooks.
The NC10’s Intel Atom™ processor is specifically designed to deliver an amazing Internet experience using netbooks. Based on an entirely new microarchtiechture, the Intel Atom™ processor increases energy efficiency to extend battery life, while delivering enhanced mobile performance and increased system responsiveness.
The NC10 offers impressive networking and Internet capabilities. It boasts a range of advanced communications technologies, including Atheros 802.11b.g wireless LAN for fast Internet access, a 10/100 Ethernet LAN and optional Bluetooth 2.0+EDR. It also incorporates an integrated 1.3 mega pixel digital motion camera – allowing video-conferencing or live messaging.
Other features include a 3 in 1 multi-memory card reader, a VGA connection, mic in, headphone out and 3 x USB ports. These should allow one to easily transfer pictures, movies and data to and from virtually any modern camera, peripheral or audio-visual device, as well as a user-friendly way to get onto the web, access emails and social networks.
The Samsung NC10 has been on the market since March this year and is available from R 5499 incl vat.
SAMSUNG NC10 SPECIFICATIONS
- Processor: Intel Atom™ N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz)
- Operating System: Genuine Microsoft Windows XP Home (SP3)
- Memory: DDR2 533 MHz 512MB – 1GB
- LCD: 10.2″ WSVGA (1024 x 600) Non-gloss SuperBright© LED backlit
- HDD: 80GB / 120 GB / 160GB (5400 rpm S-ATA)
- Optical Drive: –
- Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 graphics core
- Wireless LAN: Atheros 802.11b.g
Bluetooth 2.0 + Enhanced Data Rate
LAN 10/100 Ethernet
- I / O Ports: 3-in-1 Card Reader (SD, SDHC, MMC)
– 3 x USB 2.0
– 1 x Headphone-out
– 1 x Mic in
– 1 x Integrated Mic
– 1 x VGA Port
– 1 x RJ45 (LAN)
- Multimedia: 1.3 Mega Pixel Web Camera
- Battery Life: 3 Cell Lithium ion (up to 3.5 hours); 6 Cell Lithium ion (up to 8 hours)
- Keyboard: 84 Keys (Europe, Others), 17.7mm Pitch (93% size of Notebook KBD)
- Speakers: 2 speakers with enclosure (1.5 Watt x 2 )
- Dimensions: (W x D x H) 261.0 mm x 185.5 mm (D) x 30.3 mm (H)
- Weight: 1.19 kg (incl. 3 cell battery); 1.33 kg (incl. 6 cell battery)
- Warranty: 1 Year International Collect and Return
Related Review: The Samsung R610 notebook