Samsung NC10 notebook review

4.5 out of 5
£299.99

For

Fantastic battery life, excellent performance, great keyboard

Against

Samsung bloatware, small touchpad, no 3G modem

Initially perceived as a bit of a fad, the netbook phenomenon is definitely here to stay. With shelves cluttered up with well over two dozen representatives of the slinky little devices, and with most packing similar specs, it’s been tricky to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

This latest offering from Samsung, the NC10, offers the usual batch of goodness. Packing Windows XP, and the same Atom N270 1.6GHz processor as most netbooks in the range, it’s the 160GB hard drive that helps it stand out in the crowd.

1GB of RAM (with an optional second GB easily added to boost the already impressive power levels) helps round off a cracking technical package. While the tech specs are up there with the best already on the market, pockets of users are proclaiming the impressive performance offered by the NC10 to be the best yet. Even fairly recent gaming titles have been proved to run at a fare old lick.

Gaming aside - and in all honesty, if it’s anything more than the odd game of Peggle you’re after, you’re better bagging a bigger laptop - the NC10 is certainly an impressive package for someone who simply wants what a netbook was always meant to be: an incredibly portable internet/word processing device.

While it certainly can’t handle the kind of simultaneous processes that you’re desktop has little problem with, performance-wise the NC10 is up with the very best. It’s more than capable at running the kind of basic tasks you’d expect, even at the same time. You can hook up online, have a browser with a couple of windows open, as well as Microsoft Word and iTunes and still have room to spare.

You’ve no need to worry about the battery dropping out at inopportune moments with the 6 cell offering here giving well over 6 hours after each full charge. Even testing the NC10 to its absolute limits, the battery still managed to last well over 5 hours before a charge became essential.

As any owners of other Samsung products will tell you, build quality is absolutely top notch. Everything slots together perfectly, and feels solid as the proverbial rock. The 10-inch screen is of a cracking high standard, as is the 93% of full size keyboard that manages to be small and slinky, yet feel delightful even during extensive use.

There’s more too. A built in 1.3MP webcam is certainly a handy feature, as are the three USB slots, Ethernet port, and headphone jack set on the sides.

Verdict

As fantastic as the Samsung NC10 sounds it’s not all plus points. The touchpad is a touch on the short side, making internet browsing a little trickier than it could have been. It does come packed with a fairly hefty amount of Samsung related bloatware too. All of which can be easily removed, but it makes that first hour of use not quite as fun as you’d have hoped.

There is no 3G modem either, a feature now more prominent on netbooks, but not a surprising omission when this device was launched last year.

As far as netbooks currently on the market go, there’s no doubt that the Samsung NC10 is among the best currently on offer. At its competitive price point, and with all it has to offer, anyone after a portable internet and word processing device should give this one a really good look.

And if you’re in the market for a bigger netbook, you should still give this one a look and see if the drop in size is worth the savings.