This is the first time my NC10 has ventured beyond climate-controlled conference rooms and coffee shops. Well up to the task of backpacking it in the wild, Sammy is like a cheap date that I can take places I wouldn’t consider taking a $2,000+ laptop.
The solid build quality inspires confidence, while the light weight form factor is easy to manage. The hinge feels just right with a spring indention that keeps the lid securely in position when closed, and a tight fit that holds any viewing angle.
The sun hangs low but bright in the clear afternoon sky. With it shining directly on to the Samsung’s matte screen, yet the screen is comfortably readable. In fact it looks great from about half-brightness up to full. Very impressive.
My Airport network pops up in seconds in seconds and I am automatically logged in and online. The signal strength is identified as “very good.” Even further out into the yard where the signal weakens, the Samsung has no problem picking it up.
Testing the laptop in an actual lap however requires some effort to avoid “lap topple”. The weight of the screen tends to tip the unit backwards. This is not a problem on a solid surface like a table or desk, but my less level lap requires holding down the front of the book to stabilize the keyboard. This makes typing cumbersome and tiring. Switching from the deck chair to the patio table restores Sammy’s balance and my blazing typing speed.
Speaking of the Samsung’s keyboard, it is one of the best I have tested to date. Before buying the NC10, I tried almost every netbook keyboard on the market. Most felt “wrong”, cramped and uncomfortable. The standout was the ASUS, which had a nice springy feel and well spaced keys. The Samsung keys feel just as good, but with a better layout.
The combination of great keyboard, bright readable screen and superior design style swayed me toward the Samsung, but the ASUS is a quality unit as well. In the next field report, I will comprare these two netbooks head to head. Stay tuned.