Storage comes courtesy of a 60GB hard drive with a rather slow spin speed of 4,200rpm. It's not a huge problem, but the drive's noticeably slower than the 5,200rpm drives you get with many rival netbooks. Additional storage can be added thanks to a SD/SDHC card slot, which also reads Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and MMC cards.The NC10 isn't the flashiest netbook we've seen, but we're big fans of its contemporary, functional design. Both the black and white versions are attractive, although we're more partial to the black model, as that colour better complements the metallic strip running across the side and front edges. Both versions are finished in a non-glossy coating, which means they're less prone to picking up fingerprint smudges.The dimensions of the NC10's chassis aren't very different to that of other netbooks sporting a 10-inch display. It measures 261 by 30 by 185mm and weighs 1.3kg, so it's only slightly smaller and lighter than the Asus Eee PC 1000HE, which clocks in at 1.4kg and measures 266 by 38 by 191mm. As you'd expect from a device of this type, the NC10 is very easy to slip into a small bag and can be carried almost anywhere.
Connectivity on the NC10 is standard netbook fare. The left side houses two USB ports and one Ethernet port, while the right side is home to yet another USB port, mic and headphone jacks, a VGA output, and a Kensington lock for securing it to a desk. Each of the ports has a label above it on the same level as the keyboard, so you needn't crane your neck or lift the machine from the table to see which port you're jamming a device into.
The NC10's large-ish chassis means Samsung has been able to install a relatively big keyboard. This, like the keyboards on most 10-inch netbooks, is comfortable to use and, with some skill, even allows users to touch-type without sacrificing much speed. The mouse trackpad is very good, too. It lacks multitouch, as you get on some Eee PCs, but has a dedicated vertical scroll strip that makes browsing Web pages simple.The NC10 comes from the same mould as the majority of its netbook brethren. It uses an Intel Atom N270 CPU clocked at 1.6GHz, and 1GB of DDR2 533MHz RAM, plus graphics provided by the Intel 945GS chipset -- all of which is standard fare on devices of this type.
The white version is attractive, but it's the black version that makes us feel like excitable schoolgirls
Storage comes in the form of a 160GB hard drive. That's nowhere near the Asus N10's maximum storage capacity of 320GB, but it gives you enough room for a couple of hundred DivX movies, about 40,000 MP3 files and more images than the average human being should probably own.Attention netbook fans! The Samsung N230 has arrived, bringing with it a whopping 13 hours of battery life.Netbooks may offer serious mobility at a low price but, as many users have found out, their performance leaves a lot to be desired, especially if you frequently run multiple applications at the same time -- and who doesn't these days? A better option may be a more powerful ultra-portable such as the Asus U35Jc, which has a beefier Core i3 processor yet is still less than an inch thick. Our model was supplied by Laptops Direct, where you can buy it for £650.
The combination of the brushed-aluminium effect used on the lid and the carbon-fibre-style crosshatch pattern of the keyboard surround means the U35Jc is definitely one of the better-looking laptops around. It's very slim, measuring a mere 25mm thick, and supremely light at just 1.9kg, so it's ideal for frequent travellers who need a compact machine for use on the go. The slimness of the design, however, means there's no room for an optical drive. If you use DVDs often, something like the Samsung Q330 might be a better option.
The U35Jc has both a VGA and HDMI socket for connecting it to an external display.The U35Jc isn't exactly laden down with ports, either, although most of the basics are covered. There are three USB ports, an HDMI output and a VGA socket. Along with these, you also get an Ethernet port and SD card reader, which often comes in handy for transferring photos from a digital camera. The laptop lacks an ExpressCard slot, so there's not much room for expansion. In saying that, this isn't a huge issue for many, as most peripherals for laptops, such as mobile broadband dongles, are designed to connect to a USB port anyway. On the wireless front, the laptop manages to pack in Bluetooth support as well as 801.11n Wi-Fi. The largish 320GB hard drive goes some way towards making up for the lack of an optical drive, especially as it provides plenty of room for storing movies in Xvid or DivX format.
Open the lid and you'll find that Asus has followed the trend set by previous consumer-focused laptops -- it uses a keyboard with Scrabble-style keys. Each individual key seems to be stamped out of the chassis. The keys are also quite wide and flat, so despite the laptop's smaller size, the keyboard doesn't feel cramped, and the lack of flex makes it feel solid to type on. There's very little compromise in the layout as well, with only the function keys across the top slightly reduced in size. We also like the large, wide trackpad -- the slightly dimpled surface feels good to the touch. Although the single, long trackpad rocker button doesn't have much travel, it is quite responsive.The Fujitsu LifeBook T900 is a tablet laptop with a 13.3-inch multi-touch display, aimed squarely at business users. Priced at around £2,300, it's not exactly a cheap option, but does it have the performance and functionality that business users are looking for?
The T900 may feature a multi-touch display, but it's certainly no iPad when it comes to design. For starters, measuring 319 by 244 by 37mm, it's rather chunky. It's also fairly hefty, weighing a considerable 2kg, so your arms are going to get a workout if you're planning on carrying it around all day. The design doesn't help its aesthetic appeal, either. The T900 is very boxy and has a boring matte black and plasticky silver finish. On the other hand, the build quality is decent and the rotating hinge for the screen feels like it's built to last.
A button on the side of the display allows you to quickly change its orientation from landscape to portrait.
The keyboard uses standard, tapered-style keys. Fujitsu hasn't included a numerical keypad, but the individual keys are large and there are no compromises with the layout. The keyboard feels fast and comfortable to type on. Unfortunately, the trackpad isn't so hot. It's a little cramped for our liking, although at least the two trackpad buttons are large and respond to presses with a satisfying click.
What sets this laptop apart from the crowd is its 13.3-inch touchscreen display. This is mounted on a rotating hinge, so you can completely rotate the display and snap it back against the keyboard to use it as a tablet PC, or just leave it pivoted upwards like a traditional laptop. The screen's resolution of 1,280x800 pixels is reasonably good for this type of machine, and its LED backlighting helps colours look bright and vivid.
The T900's rotating hinges mean it can transform from laptop to tablet in a matter of seconds.
The screen uses Wacom technology for its touch input, which means you can use either a pen or your finger. Thankfully, the screen is very accurate and responsive. It also supports multi-touch gestures, so you can pinch to zoom in and out of the display in compatible applications, including Internet Explorer and Windows Photo Viewer. Unfortunately, Fujitsu hasn't loaded any of its own touch applications. The T900 comes preloaded with the Windows 7 Touch Pack, which provides a few, mostly novelty touch applications, such as a zoom-capable 3D globe.
Under the bonnet, the laptop is powered by a fast, dual-core Intel Core i7 processor that races along at 2.67GHz. This is backed up by a healthy 4GB of RAM, which gives the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional plenty of room to strut its stuff. With such a meaty specification, it's hardly surprising that the laptop managed to post a very impressive score of 6,545 in the PCMark05 benchmark test. This type of score shows it's more than capable of handling multitasking with even the most demanding of applications.Dell isn't exactly renowned for producing laptops with exciting designs, so the 13.3-inch Latitude 13's slim dimensions and sexy appearance come as a surprise. That's particularly the case since the standard Windows version of this ultra-portable machine starts at an affordable £520. Our configuration came in at just £630.
At a mere 16mm thick, the Latitude 13 is one of the slimmest ultra-portables around at the moment. But it's not just the slimness of the chassis that impresses: the laptop also looks the business, thanks to its twin-tone brushed-aluminium and matte black finish. It's surprisingly sturdy too -- despite its petite dimensions, there's very little give in the chassis and lid. It's not the lightest ultra-portable you can find, but, tipping the scales at 1.5kg, it's hardly going to weigh you down when you're on your travels.The slimness of the design has led to some design compromises. For example, the battery is totally integrated into the chassis and can't be removed. Also, the range of ports on offer is pretty limited. There are only two USB ports, for example, although one of these does at least double up as an eSATA port.
The only other sockets are a VGA connector and an Ethernet port, although there is an ExpressCard slot on the right-hand side. It's perhaps unsurprising that there's no room for a DVD drive, but at least Dell has managed to squeeze in a reasonably roomy 320GB hard drive, so you shouldn't be stuck for storage space.