Saturday, October 31, 2009

Byte: My beautiful netbook

Eariler today I acquired a Samsung NC10 netbook, which I had been tech-lusting after for some time now. I bought it with roughly one quarter of my first installment of my PGCE training bursary, and consider it to be money very well spent.

Not only will I be using it for late night emergency lesson planning, but it is also a fine machine catered for mobile internet surfing and retro gaming. X-Com: UFO Defense (a.k.a. UFO: Enemy Unknown) runs brilliantly on it, while Trials 2: SE and the Steam version of Star Wars: Dark Forces also run passably well. Rumour has it that Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War (possibly my favourite old school RTS ever) ought to run decently on it as well, so I'm downloading that from Steam as I type.

I'm also going to be trying out Warcraft III, Diablo II and Starcraft on it, since I can now download them digitally, thanks to merging my WoW account into a Battle.net account a few weeks ago. If I can stomach the download time, I may even try to download WoW and see how well that runs. It would be nice to have a backup machine to play WoW on after my gaming lapdog died earlier in the year, and since my new netbook has a VGA port, I can hook it up to my TV as an external monitor, so even if it doesn't have the processing power of my old laptop, at least I can get the big screen experience via my TV.

Gaming aside, easily the most impressive thing about using the netbook thus far is the battery life. I've not exactly been holding back on the screen brightness or the wifi access, but the battery is still going strong (good for at least another hour) despite having been hammered royally for a good five or six hours. Consider me mightily impressed. The keyboard is small but perfectly formed (just like Nichole from the Renault Clio adverts of yore)... comfortably large enough to type on without making typos every two seconds, but petite enough to not make you feel like you'd have been better off buying a full size laptop. The keys have a lovely soft spring to them as well - very tactile and comfortable to type on for extended periods of time. I approve.

I have been turning into somewhat of a Samsung fanboy of late (not only do I have one of their netbooks, but also an LCD monitor and LCD TV as well - they do make some outstanding LCD screens these days), and if you've been thinking of getting a highly portable laptop, it's hard to find a reason why you shouldn't pick up one of these beauties. Even Fleur (the French luddite that she is) looked at it longingly, as if amazed that someone as tech-macho as myself would be willingly seen with such a sleek, dinky piece of technology such as this.

Samsung may have come out with some newer model netbooks in the last few months (the 9 hour battery N140 being perhaps the pick of the bunch) but if you don't fancy paying the extra £50, the NC10 represents some pretty staggering value for money.
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