The Netbook to Travel with: Samsung NC10

October 19, 2009 · 13 comments

Ever since I have been on the road, I have carried a netbook with me. A relatively new phenomenom in the computer/laptop world, netbooks are small laptops primarily aimed at surfing the internet.

A stripped down version of Linux was available in a lot of the early netbooks but the familiarity of Windows XP helped to outsell the linux models, nearly all the new models come with XP now.

I decided a netbook was for me and did a lot of research into which was the most suitable and best for the price netbook on the market. I ended up choosing the Samsung NC10 as it seemed the most favourable to reviewers. Netbooks are essentially the same hardware, so the design is what matters most surprisingly.

The NC10 came in 3 colours originally, Blue, Black and White, it is now available in Pink – so pick what suits you!

So why is the NC10 better than the ASUS Eee PC, Acer Aspire One, Sony? Well the Sony is definitely the most unique and half the size. Unfortunately it is also double the price, and lacks a trackpad (I can’t get on with those track balls, although some people love them) and running on Windows Vista makes it slow to run.

The Eee PC in my opinion is a bit childish looking, it isn’t so elegant and looks plastic fantastic.

The Acer is smart, but the extra functionality and subtle chrome detailing of the Nc10 trumps it.

Whilst the NC10 is a fraction over 1kg (2.2 lbs) in weight, it does come with a 10.2″ monitor and 93% size keyboard, it is surprisingly quick to adjust too. there are 9″ monitor netbooks on the market, however I personally found these a little too small, the extra weight and price for a 10.2″ is well worth it. I carry mine around in my backpack when exploring new areas, it is so small it fits flat against my back no problem and barely takes up space.

Functionality comes from 3 USB ports (if you need more then you’re probably travelling with too many items) and a SD card reader which is great for SD card cameras and phones. A microphone and headphone jack are also kept to the side along with a LAN port, VGA out if you desire connecting it to a larger monitor and a Kensington lock connection.

Of course the NC10 has WiFi preinstalled which actually has a good range on it as standard. I’ve managed to get connected to the internet sat out in a park surrounded by tall buildings and open WiFi hubs.

Battery life is estimated to be around 6 hours for the NC10, again better then others, a 9 cell battery is available which increased this further too. The battery is build between the hinge of the monitor so it doesn’t leave an unsightly gap between monitor and keyboard. Battery life 8 months after purchase isn’t so high, Whilst I can get 6 hours if I turn it on and don’t use it, that’s not the point of the thing, average use surfing the internet, editing text and a little photo editing gets me around 4.5hours now. Sometimes I play games on it (it is possible) and this lowers the battery life on that usage too. Ultimately battery life (dependant on battery wear too) is going to gradually decline in all models, so it isn’t a major deciding factor between models, unlike the original battery life.

I upgraded the 1Gb of RAM cheaply with the Kingston 2GB RAM and highly recommend it considering the price to speed the computer up.

The cheap price and low weight of netbooks appeals to students and people who travel alike. However be sure to insure it for your travels.

The NC10 can be purchased from Amazon USA or Amazon UK

A support forum and NC10 community can be found at www.sammynetbook.com of which I am a member on and highly recommend for keeping up to date with Samsung netbook information.

However for the latest netbooks a good website to check is NetbookForTravel.com

Although the Netbook market has moved on since I got my NC10, Samsung have released newer models with different upgrades which are also worth checking out.

1/1/16 update – I’ve abandoned windows computers now, so would recommend paying out for the latest version of an Apple Apple MacBook Air or an iPad if you can live with the different functionality. If you were determined to still use a windows based device, then a Microsoft Surface Pro looks like a good option too. It’s worth noting that netbooks in general have gone the way of the dinosaur. They were a good option for travelling with in 2010, but times move on.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Blake October 21, 2009 at 5:36 PM

Thanks for this netbook review. We’re in the market for some netbooks. Linds just wants to type, while I’ll be editing photos and web stuff. Do you think this one could run photoshop etc…

Let me guess, you got the pink one? lol

Later!

Blakesjourney / Tbd
.-= Blake´s last blog – Farewell to Film: Part Two =-.

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AdventureRob October 22, 2009 at 7:47 AM

Hi Blake,

I don’t like to recommend stuff without giving it a good try, been using the Nc10 long enough now that’s it’s being replaced so thought I should get this review up quick!

With heavy photoshop/design work all netbooks will slow down, however basic photo editing and web work (I do this on my NC10 with photoshop too for this website) I have found to not be a problem, I usually have media player going at the same time and a few firefox windows open, it copes well.

Another note is it is economic on the battery, there is a quiet/normal/fast button like the old turbo buttons on mid 90s desktops. So if you don’t need all the processing power (general web browsing) you can turn it down to extend the battery life a bit.

Mine is Blue because the white is a bit iPod looking and the black looks like any other laptop. Personal taste that though :D (pink wasn’t available when I got it ;) )

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Richard October 26, 2009 at 10:24 PM

Too true how useful these things are on the road. I recently got a Packard Bell Dot, which I will be taking with on my Cape to Cairo trip. It will be interesting to see how well it holds up to rough travel (an eeePC would die, I suspect)
.-= Richard´s last blog – 20 Days. Visas, Rhodes and thank you to the mad ones. =-.

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AdventureRob October 27, 2009 at 2:52 AM

I had a look at the eeePC and they do seem pretty flimsy. One thing original reviewers noted on the NC10 is you can’t bend it like the eeePC (!) I suspect the Packard Bell would be a wise choice too.
.-= AdventureRob´s last blog – How to stay in an Australian City Cheaply =-.

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Darcy November 4, 2009 at 7:06 PM

I am looking to purchase a netbook. I’ll want to surf the web, update my quickbooks, write, do some light picture editing. I’ll want head phones. I think my pressing concerns are are size and storage. I don’t want something so small that I’m leaning into the screen but am not interested in a full size laptop. I want to have the option for upgrading my storage limits. I’ll be using it for coffee shops, occasional travel, couch time. Any suggestions? A few to consider? I’m not overly concerned with the appearance and have a windows PC desktop at home I’ll need to sink with.

Thank you for any help!

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AdventureRob November 5, 2009 at 6:39 AM

Hi Darcy,

A netbook is ideal for taking out for use in public, I don’t find myself leaning into the screen. It might be worth going to a local computer store and spend 10 minutes playing around with a few to see how you get on with screen size, I found the 9″ monitors too small but the 10.2″ fine.

As for storage, you can pull apart most netbooks and replace the hard drive with a bigger unit, there is guides on how to do this on the sammy netbook link I provided in the article for the Samsung NC10. The other option is to take a external hard drive with you. I have a 500Gb hard drive which weighs around 300g (2/3 of a pound) which I got for SG$170, which is about US$80.

Really though netbooks are nearly all the same hardware, the ones which are different are either more expensive or cheap to the cost of the hardware, so my advice is to pick one on things like keyboard design (try to get the biggest possible) and any extra features it gets software wise from the factory.

Try Netbook For Travel to see the current selection out. My suggestion will stay with the NC10 for now though.

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Darcy November 5, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Thank you for your help! Heading out to the stores to touch some keyboards..

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r4i karte November 18, 2009 at 10:55 AM

Brilliant keyboard- nice feel to it and is bigger than anything I have seen on competing laptops.

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Robert Lewington May 9, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Love my NC10 take it almost everywhere and using Ubuntu which manages all I’ve thrown at it so far. Need to find a compact lock for it, do worry a bit on trains and the one I’ve got is very bulky.

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Flats in Barcelona May 5, 2011 at 9:37 AM

I think when your travelling the netbook are better cause they are much protable and light…this model of samsung is ok but it lacks a good processer…

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