The best netbook for education?
So it took me a while longer to get back to you on my thoughts about netbooks for students. Heavy flu, presenting all week at The BETT Show and life crept in to play havoc with my schedule! Returning to the topic- If I was rolling out netbooks to a sizeable group in my school which would I use? In the last post I suggested we had looked at two big players in the market- Asus with its eee pc 100H and Dell with its Inspiron Mini 9. Whilst I think that these two models have a number of really good features the Mini 9 keyboard is just too small and the Asus doesn’t feel rugged enough and I am worried about the graphics card. So is the answer I wouldn’t chose any netbook on the market?
Two weeks has brought a new contender into the reckoning and I genuinely think it could be a machine which meets all criteria so well we could have a genuine candidate. The netbook I am referring to is the Samsung NC10 and this week my school purchased 6 to try a small scale trial over the next few weeks. In case you have missed it the Samsung NC10 has been getting rave reviews from so many areas. I had spotted this online just before I went to BETT and was pleased when at our first Microsoft staff meeting they announced they had set up a ‘Wall of Cool’ to display around a dozen of the latest netbooks. I wont plagiarise Ray Fleming’s story on the night out we had and the review completed by a group of teachers- you can find it here. It is however fair to say that most people went for the NC10.
What did amaze me is what hot property this product has become in such a short space of time. Every school I talked to about netbooks was already getting or planned a purchase of Samsung NC10s for their students! Now I hate getting suckered into following the crowd which is why we have purchased 6 to play with and form our own judgements. I took one home from work last Wednesday and have had a few days to play with it so what do I think? I really like the machine and think it hits so many criteria which I mentioned in my last post. In short the Samsung NC10 has the following: great looks; feels very sturdy; excellent keyboard; brilliant screen; plenty of power; long battery life (I managed over 5 hours). In short I love it and cant wait to get it into the hands of students for a thorough test drive.
Is there anything I didn’t like? Well the track pad is poor which initially annoyed me but you can definitely live with it and for me it is the one thing I am happy to compromise with. My only other concern is the wifi as I could not get on to my network at home and this is the first machine of over a dozen which has failed with my Linksys router. I assumed it was my usual incompetence with technology but was relieved and frustrated when our Lead Developer Chris McKinley reported the same issue at home (yes we have all stolen one). Alas he showed his credentials and fixed the issue on his (and mine- as we are currently calling them) so hopefully it isn’t a major problem. From what I have seen overall I think they are the best current candidate and we will keep you all informed on the trial. The reality is however, by the time we go for a larger roll out this September or next so much development will have taken place leading to many more options which are likely to be much cheaper and more powerful.