Pick up any PC magazine or go into any electrical store or even Carrefour and you will see a veritable cornucopia of tiny, diny, weeny laptops. Now affectionately none as netbook.
I did not realise just how big the netbook phenomenon had become till a few days in the UK. Sure you see a couple of Acer or Asus models in the UAE. In the UK it seems that everyone is in on the game with models on display from MSI, Samsung, Dell, Acer, Asus, Medion, HP and Fujitsu the choice is kind of bewildering.
The netbook started out with the with Asus E-PC last summer. I looked long and hard at them but the 8″ screen, 512mb ram, 8GB flash drive, linux OS and 2 hour battery life did not really make it an appealing option to me. But six months is a long time in the consumer computing market and how things have changed.
Yesterday I chose a Samsung NC10 notebook. It offers a 10″ screen, full size QWERTY keyboard, wireless/bluetooth 1.6Ghz CPU, 1GB RAM, 160gb Hard Disk, Windows XP and a stonking 6hr battery life all for around $500 was an offering I couldn’t turn down.
My experience with low end processors in the past has been less than stella with 1.2Ghz Ultra Low Voltage CPUs give lack lustre performance. But the new “Atom” architecture chip from Intel gives sprightly performance. In web browsing it easily handles half a dozen tabs in Mozilla. Right now I am typing this blog sat in an economy seat whilst one side of the screening is playing an episode of Dexter.
Portability and power with an extra long battery life. I really am impressed. Now there is no real need for me to carry the excellent Arhcos media player with me to watch some TV/movies on a flight. It has a much bigger screen and a superior battery life. I am three hours into my flight and the battery still shows 3.5 hrs to go and 54% charge.
OK – so I won’t be playing crisis on this or using it to drive the latest Adobe photoshop. But for a travel computer to show a presentation, edit a document, browse the web, watch some TV or check some email I can think of nothing better to have with me, Also as it weighs a very modest 1.2kg it is extremely portable without breaking the bank.
Sure there are always comprises – I would love a slightly higher resolution screen and perhaps wireless n support. Other than that it is perfect. I think it will find a place in briefcase for zipping around the middle east on day trips – no power supply required.
There are plenty of netbooks on the market – I can not really speak for the others but this little Samsung NC10 is fantastic place to enter into the world of truly portable computing.
Overall 9/10 – a fully featured netbook that has a battery will last most of the day and will not break the bank. Oh – did I mention you can get them in white, black and dark blue. For me I went with stealthy black.