Base price: $419
The Samsung NC10 has plenty of faithful fans that think of it as the best netbook. At a tad over $400, its a nice combination of a slightly higher price and a top-notch feature set.
This netbooks 10.2-inch screen is a veritable widescreen in the cramped netbook market. Its a non-glossy screen thats easy on the eyes, for those who feel the high gloss screens are too reflective for extended use. (But naturally this means that some users will find the screens visual to be slightly muted.)
The comparatively large keyboard 93 percent full size is a big winner. Of course this means the trackpad is a tad smaller, but you cant have everything. Its a netbook, remember?
The six-cell battery runs longer than six hours, and even gives the long running ASUS battery a run for the money.
Odd but nice feature: Samsung has covered this keyboard with an antibacterial layer, a microscopic coating of ionic silver particles that theoretically stops germs from breeding. Thats kind of freaky, but if it prevents colds, its a great idea.
You might consider the new Samsung NC20. Its got a 12.1-inch screen and should sell for about $550. It offers a 1280 x 800 native resolution, which certainly aids Web surfing. This kind of small/medium-sized unit, which blurs the distinction between netbook and notebook, is the sweet spot for users who want a compact portable but dont want to go all way down to the cramped Netbook World. Here are more details about the Samsung NC20.
Heres a benchmark test of the Samsung NC10 conducted by The Register. It shows that the unit runs just a wee bit faster than many netbook units. More impressive, the benchmark for the NC10s battery life shows that it has the longest-lasting battery of any netbook tested.
By the way, The Register praises the Samsung NC10 for its impressively large keys and lets face it, a good-sized keyboard comes in handy unless youre a dwarf or a middle school student.
For a video close-up, heres Laptops YouTube review of the Samsung NC10. Youll see the cool mirrored look on the side that gives the unit a futuristic look.
By the way, you might consider customizing your netbook. An insiders trick for the Samsung NC10 (or many other netbooks): Go to a PC vendor and buy a 2GB RAM stick (at Newegg, for instance) and a faster 7200 rpm 320 disc drive. Yes, youve got to know what youre doing to modify it, but with the right skills you can build a heroic Road Warrior machine capable of surviving the Red Eye to Las Vegas.
The Samsung NC10 netbook (photos courtesy of Samsung)
Check out the list of top netbooks: