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Samsung NC10


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The Samsung NC10 has joined the ranks of 10-inch netbooks—including the Eee PC 1000H, MSI Wind, and Lenovo IdeaPad S10—and it beats them all. The $499 NC10 may have the same cookie-cutter specs as its competitors, including a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, and Windows XP, but its spacious, well-positioned keyboard and more than 7 hours of battery life make this system our favorite 10-inch netbook yet.


The Samsung NC10 isn’t the flashiest netbook to grace our labs. The white matte lid (also available in Navy Blue in the U.S.), whose only adornment is its mirrored Samsung logo, is smooth, and its rounded square edges give the system a more professional look than the MSI Wind or the Eee PC 1000H manages. The silver trim and glowing blue and reddish orange status lights on the front edge project a futuristic aura. The blue glowing power button, positioned on the circular right hinge, reminds us of the premium Sony VAIO TT.

Measuring 10.3 x 7.3 x 1.2 inches and weighing 2.8 pounds (with its six-cell battery), the NC10 is similar in size and weight to its rival 10-inch netbooks, the 3.2-pound ASUS Eee PC 1000H and the 2.6-pound Lenovo IdeaPad S10 and MSI Wind. The NC10 is about half an inch longer than Lenovo’s S10 but about the same length as the MSI Wind and the Eee PC 1000H. Nevertheless, we had no problem holding it on our lap in a tightly cramped train seat. When we walked around the city with the NC10 and its AC adapter in a shoulder bag (bringing the travel weight to 3.4 pounds) we felt no strain.

Large, Spacious Keyboard

When it comes to the keyboard, the NC10 easily bests those on the MSI Wind and Eee PC 1000H. The 93 percent–full size layout is comfortable, and the raised keys provided nice tactile feedback. Unlike the Eee PC 1000H, the panel didn’t flex at all. The feel of the keys and the size of the keyboard isn’t all the NC10 has got going for it: unlike the 1000H and the Wind, the key positioning of the NC10 is near perfect. The right Shift key is full size and directly below the Enter key. When typing this review in WordPad we rarely mistyped words. (Our review unit’s Korean keyboard was lacking a backslash/pipe key; in its place was a Korean character. We will update this review when we receive our American review unit.)

Small Multi-Touch Touchpad, Plethora of Ports

In order to accommodate the spacious keyboard, Samsung had to make some compromises. At 2.3 x 1.1 inches, the NC10’s touchpad is disappointingly small and vertically very narrow, requiring more movement and backtracking than we would like. While the mouse button—a single rocker bar—lacks a divot to separate the left and right sides, we didn’t have any problems clicking and didn’t have to press too hard on it to get a response. We would prefer two dedicated buttons, but this arrangement is still better than the vertically oriented touchpad buttons like those on the HP 2133 Mini-Note or Acer Aspire one.

The touchpad has a dedicated scrolling bar, which was useful for moving through long Web pages. It also supports multi-touch controls and drivers from Synaptics, which allow for the typical pinch-and-zoom functions for pictures and Web pages. The NC10 can also recognize other gestures; we will update this review with our impressions once we procure the U.S. version.

The NC10 houses the typical netbook ports, including 3 USB ports, a 3-in-1 memory card reader, mic and headphone jacks, a VGA port, and an Ethernet jack. Unlike Lenovo’s S10, the NC10 lacks an ExpressCard slot for adding a mobile broadband modem card, but you can always use a compact USB modem.

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