A couple months back I got a Samsung NC10 Netbook. I had been on the fence for a long time, trying to decide among the an Eee PC from Asus, the MSI Wind, and the Samsung NC10. Right about the time I was going to finally do it, the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE was announced. I read a lot of reviews from folks who'd bought those netbooks and eventually settled on the NC10.
The main deciding factors, in order, were: keyboard layout, build quality, ease of upgrade (mine has 2GB RAM and a 320GB disk, twice the standard in both departments), and Linux support.
The MSI Wind was okay in most of those areas, but based on the many reviews I read, the NC10 was a little bit better across the board. So I ruled the MSI Wind out on that alone.
The Eee PC 1000HE had just been announced and would have required waiting a few more weeks. Plus, its keyboard had a few quirks--notably the right shift key being too small and offset. Keyboards are really important to me. It had the advantage of a claimed 9.5 hour battery life vs. the 7-8 claimed on the NC10.
However, I picked the NC10 and couldn't be happier. Running Windows XP, I routinely get 7 hours of battery life with Wifi on and the screen brightness set low (don't need it any higher most of the time). The wireless range is excellent, keyboard feels right, and it's surprisingly snappy.
Building a computer this small and light is really an exercise in design compromises and I thing Samsung nailed it perfectly. I've traveled with it a few times and used it all day at the MySQL Conference without having to worry about being near power outlets.
The 2GB RAM is more than enough for anything I'm likely to throw at the Atom processor and 320GB is enough space for all my music, pictures, and pretty much everything except my extensive video collection.
I use the NC10 a bit day to day. I think of it as a "couch computer" in addition to use in travel and at a conference. But I've also hooked it up to a HDTV to show off pictures to family and that worked just as well. I could easily see doing a day's worth of work on it with an external monitor and mouse.
A couple weeks ago, I grabbed the latest Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) and booted the NC10 off a USB stick to see how it worked. Much to my surprise, it seems that everything worked well without any tweaking. I'll probably stick with XP for now, but it's good to see that Ubuntu would work for me too.
If I was looking to buy now, I'd look really hard at the Samsung NC10, ASUS Eee PC 1000HE, and the Samsung NC20 (the 12" model).
Posted by jzawodn at May 02, 2009 09:26 AM