Samsung NC20. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

March 10, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Netbooks, Twynham School 

Ok so I have gone a bit netbook mad this week but I do tend to run in themes and so I hope you are all still awake? The blog is doing well and heading over 20k readers a month so I am guessing you are all comfortable in your seats?! It made me think, are there topics you would like us to cover relating to education which we aren’t talking about yet? If so add a comment request or send me an email to and I will make sure we are covering the things which interest you. Thinking ahead in terms of themes, from here I plan to move back to SharePoint and education, specifically talking about pod-casting and an application we are excitedly looking at within SharePoint. Following this I want to return to the topic of Parental Engagment  (again in SharePoint) and how we have rolled out our Parent Gateway at Twynham School.

So to today’s topic- Samsung NC20. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. I thought it might be useful to drill in to the Samsung NC20 and put together  a bit of robust feedback from our 9 testers. What better way to do this than identifying the categories based around my childhood film watching-with a Clint Eastwood theme. For those of you with little time to spare jump past the You Tube clip to the review. If you wish to relive this 60′s moment (I will add that my childhood was the 80′s) or havent a clue what I am talking about and are curious behold a classic western scene.

Samsung NC20- The Good

The NC20 is the first netbook machine which has led to all my touch typing testers being happy. The keyboard is as close to full size as you need and all testers have commented on the ease with which they have switched to the Samsung. The other area which has received favourable comment is the battery life with all testers quoting 5-6 hours as typical times for real life activities. The screen, which concerned me a little due to the reflective nature of its glossy finish has returned no complaints and in fact all have commented on the crisp and bright colours. I have had no reported crashes or freezing of the machines reported.

Samsung NC20- The Bad

One very small niggle for the touch typists is the shift key which is not a standard size. This is such a constant theme on many netbooks and as many have commented. Of course netbooks were not planned as full scale machines and so to some extent this is a little unfair. At the same time this machine is now 12 inches and surely they could fit a full size keyboard in it? Perhaps a bigger issue will be the lack of grunt in the netbook with a slightly underpowered processor and more importantly a distinct lack of decent graphics card. Again there is a fine line here between our expectations of a netbook and reality but I feel this gap will be filled in the next 18 months.

Samsung NC20- The Ugly

I am perhaps playing a little poetic license with the title here. One of the interesting things I watched during our unboxing last week was a distinctly underwhelmed Chris Mckinley, our SQL/SharePoint developer. When I asked him what the issue was he said that the product we had just opened was no longer a netbook- it was in fact a laptop! When we took receipt of 9 and 10 inch netbooks earlier in the year they had a distinct novelty in their size which set them apart. For Chris the 12 inch model looked distinctly ordinary and without a high quality laptop feel, perhaps a little ugly.

Samsung NC20- Overall View

During the first 8 days of our trial I have yet to hear one significant negative placed against the Samsung NC20. It has met with a really positive response and has the potential to have a major impact on our school as we move to a more flexible mobile learning experience. Even Chris has been won over and on my return from Holland he commented that he really liked the machine and felt it was more than up for the job. The real test of course will be next week when we unleash the machines in the classroom.


One Response to “Samsung NC20. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.”
  1. There’s been a lengthy thread running from the MirandaNet listserv on the very subject of UMPCs – clearly this topic is quite ‘hot’ at the moment. These small machines are invariably criticised on two points – keyboard and screen size. Yes the keyboards are smaller than a standard keyboard and no-one would argue that the screen size isn’t smaller than a standard laptop. For me though, we need to refer back to the device name – Ultra-mobile PC. These devices aren’t intended to replace PCs or even standard laptops; the whole point surely is that they’re much easier to carry. They fit in smaller places, are lighter and I think I’d be right in saying that a smaller screen (all other things being equal) means battery lifetime is better. As for the screen being too small to work at for an extended time period? Again surely UMPCs aren’t intended to be used that way – leaving that territory to bigger devices.

    For me it’s horses for courses – what the predominant use is likely to be will determine the most appropriate device.
    I have to declare an interest, having recently bought an NC10 which I have to say I’m delighted with so far. I really do think this technology offers much potential in a school setting. My only concern with the Samsung? I suspect that gorgeous, gloss finish won’t be up to the rigours of regular school usage. But does image matter?

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