Also included in the box is a slip case, though if Samsung has skimped anywhere this is clearly it. While you’d happily use the neoprene efforts provided by Asus, the NC10’s slip case is little more than a fabric pocket – there isn’t even a Velcro clasp to keep the flap closed. So, though it suffices for simply throwing in a random bag, making it better than nothing, it’s a token effort and nothing more.
Other sundries, like the speakers, are also predictably mediocre. Housed underneath the front edge they can reach “okay” volumes and for watching the occasional video clip on the Internet (or our wonderful video reviews) they’re absolutely fine, but you probably wouldn’t want to listen to music using them unless your standards are unusually low, while films are similarly ill-suited. Thus, if integrated audio is of particular importance to you then the Asus Eee PCs (particularly the Windows ones with Dolby Sound Room support) remain the best options, even if it’s probably a niche concern for the majority of prospective buyers.
Samsung does, however, have a slight edge when it comes to the display. Given Samsung manufacturers the panels itself this isn’t a great surprise, but we were particularly impressed by the brightness and fidelity of the screen found in the NC10. Unlike some netbooks it doesn’t render dark scenes in video almost entirely black and horizontal viewing angles aren’t too bad either. It still sports the slightly mottled look of displays of this type, but nonetheless text is very sharp and overall this screen sits among the best netbook displays around.
All the NC10’s qualities would be for naught, though, were it not for its prodigious battery life. Its six-cell, 5,200mAh battery does add weight, pushing the machine just over 1.3kg, but it’s definitely worth it. Running a standard definition video, with screen brightness and volume at 50 per cent, the NC10 continued running for a superb five hours and 40 minutes. This comfortably bests the MSI Wind, whose six-cell battery has only a 4,400mAh capacity; though we dare say the Asus Eee PC 1000H might still win a head-to-head due to its higher 6,600mAh battery.
Nonetheless, it’s a very impressive result and it should be remembered that the 1000H weighs a hefty 1.45kg. We might have been able to excuse such a weight when it was the only hard drive equipped netbook with reasonable battery life, but in light of both the new MSI Wind and the Samsung NC10, 150 grams is a considerable handicap.