The launch of the original Eee PC is a distant memory today and so much has changed since the introduction of Asus' canny little sub-notebook. A lot of this change is down to the fact that the usage models have grown well beyond their intended market.
Originally, the netbook was supposed to be a low-cost device for schools and the poorer parts of the world - it was designed to connect the next billion people to the Internet. While I am sure that will happen over time, the netbook has become something of a fashion statement in the developed world.
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Whether or not they're actually good value for money is something that has been debated many times over in the bit-tech community, since for not much more you can pick up a fully-fledged--but admittedly bigger--notebook that will do everything a netbook can, and then some. But that's not what the netbook is about - it's about delivering good enough computing in a form factor that notebooks can only aspire to.
Those of us that have invested in a netbook will attest to this and as an ultraportable notebook user myself, I understand where they're coming from. Until now though, I had never felt the urge to buy a netbook because my ThinkPad X60s has been good enough at everything I'd use a notebook for and it packs a reasonably healthy six to eight hours of battery life (using the extended battery) without having to turn the brightness right down or wireless networking off.
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Everything I'd seen compromised in one or more crucial areas for me - with an exception made for the Eee PC S101, most of the Eee PCs felt a little cheap for my liking and the keyboards didn't come anywhere close to the clickiness of my ThinkPad. I've also looked at the Acer Aspire One, the MSI Wind and the HP Mininote 2133 to name a few - and all of them have had downsides which led to me quickly pointing out how great my ThinkPad was.
And then the Samsung NC10 came along and convinced me that there is room for low cost, high quality ultraportable sub-notebook in the market. But what is it about the NC10 that has changed my mind? Read on to find out...