At 100g heavier than, say, the LG X110,  Samsung's NC10 is a giant among netbooks – which for an ultra-portable laptop is not necessarily a good thing. Being honest, it's right on the outer boundaries of what we'd call acceptable.

The compromise between power and portability is a tough one: for just a few grams more and not a lot more cash, you can have a dual-core laptop capable of HD video and Photoshoppery.

Ultra battery power

There's one thing those laptops can't do though, and that's match the NC10's ludicrous battery life. At six hours and still counting we passed out before the Samsung did. Suddenly the extra weight seems a small price to pay for the convenience of an always-on 10incher that's the only serious rival to the Asus EeePC 1000 in that particular measure.

And given the similarity of all other statistics about it to other netbooks – CPU core, graphics chipset, screen resolution and so on – it's the one which counts the most.

Clean design

Aside from a slightly sticky hinge, the NC10 also feels incredibly well built by comparison to the Eee 1000. In fact, the keyboard is almost as good as that on the super high end S101, and there's a proper metal trim around the edge of the chassis which may not mean much, but adds a certain flair to the look.

There's also a bonus for fans of The Hitchikers' Guide – you can take your telephone sanitiser off of speed dial thanks to Samsung's decision to impregnate the keys of the NC10 with anti-bacterial nano-particles. Arthur Dent may rejoice, but for those of us who've yet to contract a particularly virulent disease from a dirty  keyboard, it seems a little bit OCD.

Still, unless the nano-particles unexpectedly become part of the 'grey goop' that is the stuff of sci-fi nightmare, it's a harmless enough addition.

More for your money

Much, much more important is the price. At £300, it's one of the best value 10in Windows machines around, and yet also one which doesn't seem to be missing anything obvious, like Bluetooth or half a gig of memory. There's no Linux version planned as far as we know, which is a shame, but anyone in the market for an XP-based netbook should have just one question: What's the catch?


Stuff says... 

Samsung NC10 review

Not quite the most elegant, but by far the most complete and at the most competitive price