Hands-On with the VIA Nano-Powered Samsung NC20, Coming to U.S. in March

samsungnc20leadLast year Samsung unveiled its 10-inch NC10 netbook, which quickly became one of the most popular netbooks on the market. Samsung has released its bigger brother, the NC20, featuring a 12.1-inch screen. A Samsung rep just told us that the NC20 is coming to the U.S. starting on March 16, to be sold exclusively through Newegg.com. The NC20 will be black and come with a 5900-mAh battery. The U.S. price hasn’t been determined yet, but it’s listed on Amazon UK for £379.54 (about $478 U.S.). Arriving on our doorstep this morning, a few weeks ahead of its U.S. launch, was a Samsung NC20 from Korea with a slightly lower-capacity battery (5200 mAH). The NC20 is different from the netbooks of today in a few key ways. Not only does it push the netbook classification with a 12-inch display, but it is the first system to sport the new VIA Nano CPU. We are in the process of putting the notebook through testing for a full review, but here are our first impressions and a quick hands-on video of the not-quite-netbook.

The white chassis of the NC20 is almost identical to that of the original Nc10. Of course, the NC20 is wider, to accommodate its 12-inch display, and 0.6 pounds heavier, tipping the scales at 3.4 pounds. It is also 0.4 inches thicker than the Dell Inspiron Mini 12. The design of the chassis remains pleasantly minimalist.


The keyboard on the notebook is slightly larger than that of the NC10, and plenty spacious for touch typists. Thank heavens for the enlarged touchpad; gone is the vertically narrow touchpad on the NC10. However, the single-bar mouse button is, to our dismay, the same and not raised enough for our liking. The glossy, 1280 x 800-pixel resolution, 12-inch screen is easy on the eyes and holds more Windows than the standard 10-inch, 1024 x 600-pixel netbook display. It’s too early to make a performance call on the system, equipped with a 1.3-GHz VIA Nano U2250 processor and 1GB of RAM. However, we had no problems playing back a 720p high-definition clip in Windows Media Player 11 while surfing the Web in Internet Explorer. Stay tuned for a full review with more in-depth performance benchmarks. [flq:e8b9c0aac45e7950a5a9c8471540fe5d]

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  1. marcus Says:

    Thanks Joanna for the preview. I can’t wait to see how it performs, especially against the Dell Mini 12 with it’s Atom Z processor. We really need a (good) competitor against Intel’s Atom.

  2. Pugrider Says:

    Is the screen really glossy rather than the matte screen of the NC10? The NC10 SE was billed as having a “non-reflective glossy screen”, but a Samsung rep. confirmed it is matte like the original NC10.


  3. nelag Says:

    Good news! It’s coming to the US and LAPTOP mag was able to get one. I am considering getting one, and now I can read a good review before I buy it. Looking forward to the review.

  4. Jez - Samsung NC20 Community Says:

    Interesting post. So Amazon got the exclusive for the NC10 special edition and Newegg with the NC20!

    I look forward to hearing what you think about the new model in detail.

  5. NC20 review Says:

    Do you have any updates on the Uk release of the NC20?

  6. Ike Says:

    “The glossy, 1280 x 800-pixel resolution, 12-inch screen is easy on the eyes and holds more Windows than the standard 10-inch, 1024 x 800-pixel netbook display.”

    Isn’t the standard 10-inch netbook display 1024 x 600? That’s 204,800 fewer pixels than 1024 x 800, and 409,600 fewer pixels than a 1280 x 800 display.

  7. Stradivariuus Says:

    1 GB of Ram? Why Samsung? No HDMI. Dell Mini 10 has HDMI. The rest looks the same as the 10”.

    The keyboard seems to be larger. Perhaps I may be mistaken but some of the photos give this impression. I must confirm it later. Again like the 10” I don’t like the looks of the touchpad.

    [0] – [5] — I will give it a [3]

  8. Rob Says:

    that 720p video seemed to stutter?

  9. Joanna Stern Says:

    Ike: thanks for catching that. Changed to 1024 by 600. Thanks.

  10. Ike Says:

    You’re welcome! The display resolution is one of the reasons I’m very interested in the NC20, which is why I picked that nit. I’ve been looking at some of the smaller ‘netbooks’ and while they’re nice, I’m sure I’d feel very cramped with just 600 vertical pixels.

    I’m almost happy enough to just keep using my old 12″ iBook G4, but that machine is gradually becoming less and less reliable, and the NC20 has a higher resolution, a built-in webcam and bluetooth, weighs less (at the expense of an optical drive, which I can easily live without), probably gets better battery life than the iBook when it was new, and should perform at about the same level if not better. Plus, I’ve been interested in VIA processors for a while, and I won’t mind using Linux and/or Windows instead of OS X.

    Thanks for the quick look, and I’m looking forward to the full review.

  11. Jez - Samsung NC20 Community Says:

    Strad, my understanding is that 1gb is a limitation imposed my Microsoft on those still distributing with Windows XP. If you go to 2gb they have to use Vista which may put people off becuase it is thought to be more resource hungry. But yeah, the NC20 is pretty much a bigger NC10. It has different insides but I don’t think that will mean much to end users!

  12. Painless Says:

    Jez.. I’m using 2gb on my nc10 with the original OS suplpied by Samsung (which i by the sticker called ULPC) and mine shows and use 2gb without any problems

  13. Rob Says:

    It’s not a physical limitation of XP, it’s a licensing requirement to be considered a netbook. Microsoft is offering XP licenses to manufacturers at a very low rate, but only if the product conforms to a set of predefined hardware specifications.

    Also, I’ve been refresh monkeying Newegg’s site to no avail. I guess the posted date of the 16th means Newegg will start initially receiving shipments, not the actual date that it goes on sale. I was hoping to pick this up before I went on vacation so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’ll be out soon.

  14. David Says:

    According to a chat with a Newegg Customery Service Rep, they does not currently have the NC20, nor have they received an ETA from Samsung when they will have them.

  15. motocross921 Says:

    Called newegg 2 times yesterday and no one had any idea of the march 16th release date for the nc 20 also called samsung the rep I spoke to said late march early april.So I did not want to wait another month so I ordered the nc10 se

  16. Chetflippo Says:

    Can a netbook user tell me how well the NC 10 or NC 20 cope with playing films from a hard drive? I am agonising between a net book and a laptop, i want it for watching films on the move and plan to get a USB TV stick, as well as the usual net and Skype applications. Any tips most welcome.

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