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Samsung NC20 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £380
inc VAT


12.1 in 1,280×800 display, 1.5kg, 1.6GHz Via Nano U2250, 1.00GB RAM, 160GB disk, Windows XP Home Edition

Samsung’s NC20 is one of only two netbooks here with a 12.1in screen. This means it’s a little heavier than the 10in netbooks here at 1.5kg, but it’s not that much bigger.

The larger display means a resolution of 1,280×800 pixels, which is higher than the 1,024×600 resolution of the 10in netbooks in our round-up. This gives plenty of room for working on large documents or using a couple of programs simultaneously. Some colours on the screen look a little washed out, though, and although it’s not as gloomy as the IdeaPad’s display, it isn’t as bright as the Aspire One’s screen.

We were disappointed to find that its battery didn’t last as long as Samsung’s N120. It ran for nearly five hours, though, which is respectable and long enough for all but the most epic train journeys.

The NC20 shares the same keyboard as the N120, which is generally a good thing as it’s large and comfortable to type on, although it doesn’t feel quite as responsive as the keys on Dell’s Inspiron Mini 10 or HP’s Mini 2140. It also shares the same slightly odd layout with the N120, with the Start menu and contextual menu keys switching places. The touchpad is fairly large and feels accurate, although the pivoting button doesn’t feel very responsive.

Unlike the other netbooks here, the NC20 uses a Via Nano processor instead of one of Intel’s Atom processors. Its performance closely matches the Atom N270, so it’s more than quick enough for watching videos or working on office documents, but its lack of Hyperthreading technology, which creates a virtual second processor core, means it feels more sluggish when working in multiple programs simultaneously. This is particularly noticeable when switching between two open applications. Its Via integrated graphics chip is no better for playing 3D games than the Intel integrated chips used by most of the other netbooks here.

Samsung’s NC20 is a good choice if you need its high-resolution screen, but the N120 is better value and has a much longer battery life.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Via Nano U2250
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Memory 1.00GB
Memory slots 1
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 2GB
Size 38x293x218mm
Weight 1.5kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption idle 19W
Power consumption active 22W


Viewable size 12.1 in
Native resolution 1,280×800
Graphics Processor Via Chrome9 HC3 IGP
Graphics/video ports VGA
Graphics Memory 128MB


Total storage capacity 160GB
Optical drive model none
Optical drive type N/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11b/g
PC Card slots none
Modem No
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC
Other ports none


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore option restore disc
Software included none
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year collect and return
Price £380

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