The Samsung NC10 Netbook

The Samsung NC10 netbook has many of the same specs as its competitors. But it also offers features that make it a very worthy offering in a crowded field.

Sporting the same Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor as most minibooks today, it fits right in with the high performance group of ultra-mobile PCs. But with 1GB of RAM pre-installed, it's on the higher end of the line. Most others come standard with 512MB and are upgradeable. It also houses a 160GB/5400 rpm drive like many of its big brothers in the laptop line.

You'll find a good complement of communications features in this slick-looking unit, too. An 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi chipset is standard. But, unlike many of the competitive brands, Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR is also standard. It's optional on some brands and not available at all on others. An Ethernet port is built in.

There are also three USB 2.0 ports, surpassing many competitors that offer only two. It houses a VGA out port, which some have but many do not. That makes it a breeze for plugging into a larger monitor when you're at home. The SD Card Reader is also handy.

Finally, at 10.2" the screen is a common size and offers the same 1024 x 600 that several others provide (on a system that weighs just under 3 lbs and measures 10.3"w x 7.3"d x 1.2"h). That makes the frame the same as most others in this class.

But there are a few features where the Samsung NC10 really does stand out. One of the more notable is its keyboard. At a full 93% of laptop standard it is the largest we've seen. None of the keys have been moved to accommodate the slightly smaller size, a big advantage in the netbook arena.

The keyboard features a proprietary coating that helps keep germs from transferring off or on the keyboard. We've seen no other manufacturer that offers that. The complementary touchpad also features a distinctive dedicated scroll bar which makes this common attribute a standout in the field.

The Samsung offering also stands out in the area of lifetime. Most netbooks will provide about 2-3 hours of ordinary use at full-screen brightness. The NC10 sports a 6-cell battery that can last a full 7.5 hours on a single charge.

Even under heavy usage it can go 4 hours without strain. Wi-Fi in particular tends to chew up battery life, but this NC10 performs very well even with frequent Internet access. This unit will last 4 3/4 hrs in a standard heavy-duty video drain test.

The NC10 offers outstanding sound, which is particularly surprising given the placement of the speakers under the case. Most netbooks that have them underneath rather than on the front or sides tend to sound muted and dull. The NC10 has managed to produce a minibook that sounds great anyway and you'll get plenty of volume out of these tiny tots.

Available in white or blue, the Samsung NC10 can hold its head up proudly with any other netbook on the market, thanks to a lot of great features at a very attractive price.

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