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Savvy Duck Reviews: Samsung NB30 Plus Netbook



 
Though they have renewed competition from tablets and other mobile devices, Netbooks are still relatively popular devies for mobile computing. However, most of them tend to be rather delicate home-use devices, and any market for more durable, rugged netbooks remains largely unfulfilled. That is here the Samsung NB30 line of netbooks comes into play. The NB30 is designed with several fetures that give the device a claimed superior durability over its plentiful competition. However, advertising claims and real-world functionality are often two very different things. Continue reading to find out how the durability features of the NB30 Plus stack up and whether other aspects of the netbook's feature set compete with similar devices.
Technical Specifications

The Samsung NB30 Plus Netbook clims technical features comparable to other netbooks. Here are the specs:

The Box's Contents

Appearance

The Samsung NB30 Plus has a very rugged look ad feel, appropriate to its claimed durable design. The surface of the csing has a slightly rubbery feel and is heavily textured; it holds well to other surfaces and your hands, making it very hard to drop. When opened, the device's surfaces are a matte back, and the LED screen has a matte finish, making it very resistant to fingerprints and glare. I am personally a big fan of these features, though others may prefer a sleeker, shinier appearance. For its claimed rugged nature, however, the appearance is very appropriate. Top marks here.

Ease-of-Use


The Power Switch
All netbooks share a certain difficulty related to their size. The screens are small, the touch pads are small, and the keyboards are almost universally undersized. Some netbooks manage this difficulty better than others, but the Samsung NB30 Plus manages the size problem very well. The keyboard is almost the largest it could possibly be for a netbook, and the individual keys are quite large with only minimal seams between them. The touchpad and mouse keys are separate from eachother, which is a bonus because I find one-piece designs difficult to use in devices this small. Furthermore, the screen has touch capabilities, adding another option for control of the device. The only real difficulty that I feel I should mention is the power switch. One problem is that it is the same color and texture as the surrounding casing, making it somewhat difficult to find. Another issue is that it is in the same position and shares the same appearance as a lid latch would have on a full-size laptop. I have watched more than one person inadvertently toggle the power switch while intending to open the netbook, meaning that the switch has a very questionable design at best.

Functionality

The NB30 Plus is unfortunately a bit lacking in speed and responsiveness. Some websites claim that it has near-instant boot speeds, but I have found this not to be the case at all. In fact, I have not found the boot speed to be any faster than comparable netbooks. When it has finished starting up, I find that loading and running programs is a bit slower than comparable netbooks. I later tested one of these devices with an upgraded 2GB RAM chip and did not observe a significant increase in these speeds. There is a lot that goes into a computer's speed that is not provided in its advertised specs, such as hard drive spin speed, system bus speed, and other aspects of motherboard configuration. Unfortunately, though the NB30 Plus looks good on paper, some of these deeper details appear to be holding it back.


Front and Back

Durability

The durability features of the Samsung NB30 Plus, while not revolutionary, are nothing to sneeze at. The thick, textured casing not only makes it more difficult to drop the device, but does much to protect it during a fall. Furthermore, the device contains an accelerometer which signals the hard drive to cease operation when a free fall is detected, making it much less likely that the drive's delicate internal platters will be damaged from a drop. Finally, it claims a scratch-resistant casing. And while I haven't exactly taken a set of keys to one of these devices, I have never noticed a scratch after heavy use, unlike the HP Mini 110, which has be come marked up after using it as part of my moble repair service.

Conclusion

The Samsung NB30 Plus is a bit of a tradeoff. Though it does feature improved durability and a more rugged design over its competitors, its performance is a bit lacking. Don't get me wrong, it will perform all the basic tasks for which these computers are typically used, such as word processing, internet browsing, playing movies, etc. Just don't expect blazing fast speeds. However, if you're looking for a netbook that has a better chance of holding up under opressive conditions, this device may be just what you are looking for.


Samsung NB30 Plus
Appearance:
Features:
Ease-Of-Use:
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