I promised an update after really using the Samsung N120 NETBOOK PC - and it has been 2 weeks ago today it came, time for a quick but helpful review for anyone thinking of buying one of these inexpensive mini PCs.
First a rating - I hate when websites require you to rate things from 1 to 5 stars, having 1/2 star options would really be helpful - having to choose either a 4 or 5 stars really makes it difficult to properly rate lots of things that just fall short of perfection without literally giving it an 80% with 4 stars out of 5.
I give this netbook a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The drawbacks, if any are small issues that hardly take away from a highest rating. I'l list the few bad things, none of which are specific to the Samsung, but the gendre of the netbooks.
So Beemaster... what is lacking in the netbook world which stops it from being the perfect replacement for a fullsized (17" or bigger notebook) the obvious is processor power/ RAM combo and video card capabilities - that being important if you wish to be a gamer, which netbooks aren't designed for, but in an all perfect world, if it had THAT capability, then it would be a near pefect machine.
But for what it IS made to do, this Samsung N120 is perfect, although I highly recommend waiting for Windows 7 to be installed at factory level as the operating season, XP is great (most people love it over the not to beloved Vista) but I've seen demos and reviews of Win7 with the netbooks and it seems well worth the anticipated release in about 1 to 2 months. Upgrading from XP to Win7 could cost about $140 - or half the cost of the netbooks, that is not a very good decision if you are not in a hurry to buy. Better to pay about $25 extra for the licensing fee added to the price when they come out.
So Rather than sentence forming everything, I'll try listing the trials I have accomplished and any good and bad about how the netbook handled them.
* I drove around trying the autofind hotspots for Internet - on the Navy base where I work, I parked in front of the main barracks/contractor hotel and I had 16 wifi connections found, 6 of which were opened (not secured) and I connected fine to each at the click of a mouse. Same when driving around my neighborhood, local library and signal strengths were all every strong even at many hundreds of feet as I tested the edge of reception.
* I have downloaded and used Open Office, Paint.net, several XVID and DIVX, RAR and peer to peer programs, all of which run flawlessly and I see no difference in use compared to my desktop or larger laptop.
* General downloading speeds and installs are fast and I see handicap in using the smaller netbook for these tasks.
* I am 51, need reading glasses as most all of us do at my age - I use 1.75 power and at a comfortable ergonomic sitting position, I can type without stumbling over the larger keys of the N120 - the Acer sized keyboard (during my in store trials) were tight and I know would be more MISTAKE during typing and tripping over my fingers - although they have the same 10 inch screen, the N120 is a full 1 inch wider, using the keyboard of a 12 inch computer and allowing stereo speakers, one on each side of the screen and a neat little third speaker to the lower front left under the computer front, called a sub-whoofer, but adding volume, not bass.
* The 1.3 megapixel webcam is NOT a butt-kicking resolution cam, but handy for any of todays webcam needs - I've used it several times not, using it on my live Beemaster Cam Feed, even video conferenced with my wife from the bedroom to the living room and it works really well even in low light.
* I walked around my property with the cam on, i streamed really well, no dead spots, kept a 3 signal which I think is great considaring my wireless router is buried under my TV stand and surrounded by all kinds of electronics - if I had it in a window, I know I could easily double the distance.
* Ventrilo voice chat is remarkable, it gets great remarks from all who have listen to me using the builtin mic and I can easily multitask and chat seemlessly. Same went with video and audio at Livestream.com.
* I have been playing lots of board games multiplayer online, I find that using the FULLSCREEN option under VIEW in the browsers OPENS a totally welcomed world, having the full browser window available on a 10 inch screen, just move the mose to the top or bottom of screen to drop down toolbars - but all the surfing is in full glorious total view, making use of every pixel of realstate and honestly, you will never surf otherwise on a netbook once you go fullscreen
* I average over 5 hours streaming movies in full brightness with volume all the way up. General surfing without all the video and audio going, I get an honest 6.5 to 7 hours, amazing to behold on any computer really.
* It weights 2.8 pounds with that 6 cell battery, which no matter how you look at it, it can be carried without getting tired, needing nothing really but netbook, although honestly, I'm a wireless mouse guy and really don't care for any trackpads - I remember trying a drag and drop file management thing years a go that turned into a nightmare, give me a mouse anytime.
That leaves you a few options, generic usb mouse with the usb hub sticking out about 1.75 inches and always feeling like you could snap it off... Now they have a usb micro plug that sticks out only about 1/4 inch, you can leave it in place and it won't snag anything... or use a Bluetooth mouse and leave all three usb jacks available for other things. Having 3 usbs and Bluetooth as well as wireless wifi and also ethernet jack really makes this a computer with lots of flexability.
* Lastly, screen brightness is amazing, you control it using simple keystrokes, and you can take it down to a subdued gental on the eyes light in a darkened room and really stretch out battery life, or go full brightness and be amazed at the deep blacks and rich colors.
So I like this a bunch, so does my wife who is the owner (although I'm sure you cannot tell) but I will be buying the same unit when Win7 is preinstalled - mostly I'll be using it for a movie machne to take to work with me, but also since it is so small, I have fallen asleep watching movies in bed or layed back in a chair with it on my lap and it really seems transparent for daily needs. HAving a computer that doesn't need a case filled with cables, disks, cords and other things is a blessing. You honstly feel like you never need to take all that other stuff with you because of the long battery life.
You may want to spend the money for an external DVD unit thqt connects via usb, but generally, most stuff is downloaded via the web these days anyway. I tend to move things via SD Cards, which you can get a whopping 16GIG SD CARD for about $30 today and literally keep your entire backup operating recovery on that.
I like this thing a lot. I've been typing this and the other long post on it and not missing any keys because of the smaller keyboard, I don't think I could say that about the HP, Acer, Asus, Dell and other mini sized netbook designs - they really are cute and they are no larger than the screen, so size wise you will immediately see the difference side by side, but compare this to a 17 inch or even 14 inch unit and it is so scaled perfect that you quickly enjoy the petite size, and especially enjoy the fun of typing on the solid and quiet keyboard setup.
This is the last review, since I pretty much have everything installed I use on my laptop and it all works as well, from the HD Youtubes (nearly all play smooth as any movie, to the AVI movies from the web and the fancast and HULU videos (all the stuff listed in full screen) make it a great all around machine that I wouldn't hesitate to stuff a Christmas stocking with for that young student who needs something that will do all the school and nearly anything they would want it for, and still be able to stuff it in a bookbag and carry from class to class.
Having this to do homework at friends, or when friends are over - really would make homework less work and more fun, and anything that keeps the kids learning is worth what ever it costs, and all these machines come in from $300 to $400 typically - so as a first computer, it is perfect and as a second computer I think it is even better! What more could you ask for!!!!