Samsung NC10 Review

Discussion in 'Portable & Small Form Factor' started by zfind, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. zfind

    zfind Member

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    I recently upgraded from a 14" Lenovo to the new Samsung NC10 10" netbook. For me it was an upgrade as it does everything the Lenovo did but in a smaller package. I'm going to provide a brief review of the unit for those who may be considering picking one up.

    Background
    The NC10 is currently only available in the UK and USA with plans to release in the rest of Europe soon. There are no plans for it to be made available in Australia as Samsung does not supply laptops to the Australian market. I ordered mine from the UK at a price of £289 delivered. I had to pay VAT as I live in the EU but Australian buyers can take about £50 off that price.

    Unbox
    The box arrived and after stripping away the (many) layers of packing, the box is revealed. I was surprised by the small size. Opening the box showed the unit tightly packed and secure. Included is the power adapter with interchangeable 2 pin kettle-type cord (good for changing to an Aussie plug), Samsung felt sleeve, XP restore CD, driver CD, manuals and warranty information.

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    First impressions
    The smallest notebook I've owned is 14". In comparison, this thing is SMALL. I chose the NC10 because I had played with an Aspire One and found it was too petit for my hands. The finish (in my case gloss black) is top quality and looks striking with the chrome accents. The unit is light, weighing about the same as a regular sized book. The screen is a good size, occupying most of the bezel.

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    Build
    The quality is superb. There is no keyboard flex, even with fervent touch-typing. The chassis doesn't flex and the only noise that can be heard is when the screen is raised and lowered. There are no gaps or rough plastic edges and the finish is perfect. All of the ports that I have used, which are USB as of now, have a very snug fit. The unit came with extensive plastic protector stickers on most parts. I'm going to leave them on because I am an OCD-like clean freak.

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    Screen
    Bright. At full brightness, the screen is almost unbearably bright thanks to the LED backlight. I currently run the unit at 3 bars out of 10, which is fantastic for battery life. The gloss is largely unnoticeable and I personally cannot see any reflections. The resolution sits at the industry standard 1024 x 600 which, in most situations, is fine. Screen real estate can get cramped with alot going on but this is true for any netbook. Colour reproduction seems great and watching movies on the NC10 is very enjoyable.

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    Keyboard
    Apart from the obviously different layout to the Australian-standard US International style, the keyboard is very good. As mentioned, there is no flex. Often used keys are found in familiar places and it seems Samsung took notice of the hit-and-miss situation of previous netbook keyboards and did their best to keep the shift, ctrl and enter keys where they belong. The right shift key is the size of a standard key, which is weird for me, but I am quickly adjusting. The usual Fn keys are available and logically placed.

    One of the faults of the NC10 is the small trackpad. The feel and slightly sunk placement of the trackpad is perfect but it is quite narrow top to bottom. Often when using it, the pointer will stop moving as my finger runs off the pad. It is probably about a 25% smaller than a normal trackpad. It does however allow gestures and multitouch which is a nice addition.

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    Sound
    The sound quality produced by the NC10 is commendable for a 10" ultraportable. While it is admittedly slightly tinny and lacking bass, watching movies and casual music listening is more than adequate. Use of the included Samsung EDS sound software goes some way to making the sound quality better. Outputting to headphones or a seperate system should produce perfect results but this remains untested by me.

    Ports
    All of the standard ports are here. 3 x USB are conveniently located. An SD reader is concealed in the front edge of the chassis and blends seamlessly with the contour of the case. Outputting video to external devices can be done by VGA. Ethernet is available along with the standard sound ports. A Kingston lock port is also built in.

    Battery
    The most-lauded feature of the NC10 is the included 6-cell battery. Most netbooks come standard with 3 cells so 6 is very welcome. Some tests have reported 8 hours life with minimal use and I can confirm this. With wifi on and screen brightness at the lowest setting, the fully charged battery reported 7h 51m. Amazing. Normal usage with slightly higher brightness yields 4h 30m at full charge. This is excellent for someone like me who travels frequently - two decent films could be watched before needing a recharge. It is unobtrusive and blends with the netbook perfectly.

    Use
    I'm still getting used to using a netbook but so far, it performs admirably. The 160gb HDD is fast and quiet and more than adequate in size - my slimmed XP Home install left me with 153gb free. The Atom 1.6ghz processor is plenty fast enough for everything I have tried and shows no sign of being inadequate so far. The NC10 comes standard with 1gb of memory, but I upgraded to 2gb (the maximum) straight away. Response is snappy and programs load quickly. To give some perspective to this, I use Office 2007 daily and watch TV episodes most nights, so sometimes it gets a workout. The only time I have had slowdowns was doing heavy multitasking which I knew was beyond the capabilities of the Atom.

    The unit is so portable, I can move it around the house with ease. The Wifi works perfectly and picks up more networks than my Lenovo. The charger transformer is small and easy to carry around.

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    Verdict

    Pros:
    • Stylish
    • Light
    • Well built
    • Excellent keyboard
    • Fast and very usable

    Cons:
    • Sound quality could be better
    • Felt slipcase is cheap
    • Few keys are to small
    • Slightly small trackpad

    So far I am really impressed with my NC10. For the price I could've got a mid-range 'normal' laptop but now that I've got my NC10, I wouldn't. It was everything I had seen it to be, having done a lot of research before I hit the buy button. Samsung has obviously noticed the failings of the eeePCs and Wind and taken this into account with the design of the NC10. The battery alone is the biggest indicator of this.

    The NC10 is very highly rated by most sites that have reviewed one, and I will follow suit and give the Samsung NC10 a 9/10. Get one!

    zfind
     
  2. FB008

    FB008 Member

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    nice! i'd get one for the gf, but i'll stick with the wind purely for warranty issues (just in case)
     
  3. OP
    OP
    zfind

    zfind Member

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    Oh, forgot to mention the warranty is one year international and has been confirmed by Samsung to be valid in Australia.
     
  4. Smegenstein

    Smegenstein Member

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    I remember reading a review for this and wanting one then kicking myself because Aus didn't sell, maybe i should look into getting one from over seas, looks sweet, nice review, thanks dude!
     
  5. mrjimmyc

    mrjimmyc Member

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    Ive been looking at importing one of these from the UK but the pommy keyboard layout is turning me off a bit.. I'd grab one from the US if the ass hadnt fallen out of the dollar :(
     
  6. OP
    OP
    zfind

    zfind Member

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    I was dreading the UK keyboard too, but tbh it's not a big leap. Maybe it's easier for me as I'm so used to Finnish keyboards which are quite similar.
     
  7. mrjimmyc

    mrjimmyc Member

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    Yeah the whole layout of the @#$pound keys is a bit iffy.. dunno if i could get used to them.. and if i do is it gonna stuff up my touch typing on my normal keyboard.. decisions decisions..

    other than that though the NC10 is definitely the ideal netbook for me atm.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    zfind

    zfind Member

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    You can always just set the KB in windows to US international. If you're touch typing you won't even be looking at the keys so it shouldn't matter.
     
  9. fnbeans

    fnbeans Member

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    what OS did it originally come with?
     
  10. OP
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    zfind

    zfind Member

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    XP Home. I only slimmed it to cut the extra gubbins out of windows and hopefully squeeze out a tad more performance.
     
  11. imgod22222

    imgod22222 Member

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    I recently got an NC10 as well, but this is my first device that "supports multitouch and gestures". So, where can I find that which gestures/multitouch do what? So far all I've learned is the pinching motion zooms...which is quite finicky.
    Where do you find these out? Or could you tell me the gestures?
     
  12. OP
    OP
    zfind

    zfind Member

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    I had trouble finding out about the gestures too as Samsung decided to only include an electronic manual for the computer rather than a paper one. I promptly wiped my computer so I lost the manual, which explains the gestures.

    Here is the download centre where you can get the manual, it's a flash-based player. Get version 1.2 for the latest info.

    Off the top of my head though, there is pinch zoom in and out, long vertical scroll, long horizontal scroll and something else. I also found the zoom jumpy and finicky - I was expecting a smooth in and out motion.
     
  13. steffan72

    steffan72 Member

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    It's not really that big of a deal. i have a Uk laptop with the different key placement and i find i am aware of it and automatically adjust for it.
     
  14. sven222

    sven222 Member

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    Bought one of these from the UK last night, worked out to be $650 shipped with DHL. From what I could see, it was a far superior unit to anything available locally (main rival, 1000h). So many positive reviews, and for that price ($50-$100 cheaper than the 1000h locally), it was a must buy.

    Now I have to wait for the second xmas in a little over a week :D
     
  15. harpie

    harpie Member

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    which shop did you end up buying from?
     
  16. sven222

    sven222 Member

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    OCUK. It cost 285 + 30 shipping. So roughly around $650 shipped.
     
  17. DeBruce

    DeBruce Member

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    hi all just trying to figure out if i should get this or the eee 1000,
    because i am in Canada they are roughly the same price so what would people get and why?

    Thanks Ads
     
  18. OP
    OP
    zfind

    zfind Member

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    Gotta love having the UK VAT taken off, wish I could've done the same :(

    In all honesty if they are the same price, the NC10 wins hands down. Best battery life on the market without an obtrusive pack sticking out the back, way smaller bezel, excellent keyboard and arguably better looks. Being in Canada you could probably order from the US and get a US keyboard which further sweetens the deal.

    I've got a cheap eBay sleeve arriving this week to replace the Samsung one, will pop a pic up when it comes. By the way, SammyNetbook has a forum which is dedicated to the NC10, probably the best source for info at this point in time.
     
  19. sven222

    sven222 Member

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    zfind, thanks for the link, seems like a great site :)

    Just some quick impressions regarding the nc10. Loving the battery life so far, exceeds what I expected. The trackpad is a little tough to get used to, but i'm getting the hang of it. Screen size is perfect for what i'm using it for, a portable uni machine. That and it's so light :D

    Very pleased with my purchase.
     
  20. rhysxanthis

    rhysxanthis Member

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    I'm so close to buying an NC10 after seeing such good reviews everywhere...can anyone give me a reason not to buy one from OCUK?

    Also, the MSI Wind looks fairly good too...any comment on differences?

    edit: what about warranty? this blog post (http://www.geekzone.co.nz/freitasm/4673) suggests that samsung au will only service products they sell - ie not laptops...
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2009

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