Samsung NC10′s Battery Life Over 7 Hours, But at Low Brightness

Tuesday, we posted our full review of the Samsung NC10. We were the first publication to do a full review of the Samsung netbook and some of the findings came as a shock to readers, especially our claim that we got 7 and a half hours of battery life. We were surprised as well, because the best battery life we’ve seen from a netbook has been the 5:13 of endurance we got on the 6-cell MSI Wind U100.  So we decided to investigate and re-run our test. What we found is that yes, the system can get over 7 hours of battery life, but not at 50% brightness. How We Test Battery Life At LAPTOP we have created our own battery test. The script, which was written by Online Editorial Director Avram Piltch, visits the home pages of 60 popular Web sites  on a cycle in Firefox Portable while connected to a Wi-Fi network. The browser launches, loads a page, pauses for 30 seconds, then closes, waits 3 seconds, and re-opens again with the next page on the list. This runs on a cycle until the power on the system is totally drained. In the background a log keeps track of all the sites visited and the time as well as the total duration of the test – from start to finish. We plan to make our test available for download on our site soon, but we are awaiting permission to distribute some of the freeware elements we use, like the browser itself. We put all the laptops on the same power settings – whether they run Windows XP or Vista.  The laptops are put in Power Saver mode and we disable sleep, screen savers, hibernation, and Windows update. Usually the screen is set to 40 percent brightness, though in Windows XP you can’t always set an exact percentage of brightness so we go by the number of green bars that appear and try to set that at the fourth out of ten (if there are ten). What Went Wrong in Our First Test On the NC10, there were only 8 bars, so we set our screen brightness to four bars, which is 50%. Unfortunately, what we found out later is that the Samsung Battery Manager, which we couldn’t understand, because the UI is in Korean, overrode the settings in the XP Power Manager and dimmed the screen to only one bar after 30 seconds of inactivity on the keyboard and touchpad. So, when got 7:34 of endurance, the screen was running at a mere one bar, which is about 12.5% brightness.

Further Testing of the NC10 Battery Life We have since rerun the test three times with the Samsung Battery Manager uninstalled. We ran the test twice at 50-percent brightness and got times of 6:34 and 6:30. We also ran it once at full, 100-percent brightness and got a time of 4:38. We plan to run the test again at three brightness bars to see whether either of these brightnesses will produce a result over 7 hours. We suspect that they will, as the screen’s backlight is one of the most power-hungry devices in any notebook. Knowing that 7 and a half hours is within reach, the real question is “how dark does the screen look at one bar of brightness?” And our answer is: fairly dark, but readable. We think two or three bars (25 or 37.5 percent) is a much better brightness so we’re eager to test with those settings. We also can’t figure out how to disable the bluetooth radio (or tell if it is enabled), because that too might be eating up some power, even though we aren’t connected to any bluetooth devices. Some of us here consider ourselves netbook connoisseurs. This is why we have no problem saying that the Samsung NC10 is our netbook of choice right now. Beyond its stellar keyboard and smooth performance, it can provide 6 and a half hours (7 and a half if you can work with a dim screen) of battery life you want in a mobile experience. Stay tuned for the results of our tests at other brightness settings. Update: At 3 bars of brightness (37.5 percent), the NC10 got 6:52 in our battery test.  Subjectively, we feel this is probably the best balance of brightness and battery life. However, we are recharging it and planning to run the test again at 2 bars. Update 2: At 2 bars of brightness (25 percent), the NC10 got 7:07.

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  1. Fabien Says:

    Good job Joanna !!!

    Thank you very much for these tests ! I will wait the other tests. Have fun with your new netbook of choice !!!

    Best regards

  2. Drew Says:

    I’ve looked and looked but haven’t found any concrete release date for the NC-10. Obviously many online stores have pre-orders available, but none seem to know exactly when the product will shop. Any ideas?

  3. brad Says:

    CDW told me they are expecting to receive them on 11-9 and will ship out pre-orders same day.

    Is there a slot for a SIM card under the battery ?

  4. Fabien Says:

    Like Drew …

    In france you can find it in some shop but not in all shops. Its seems it will be release de 04/11 in France…

  5. Yan Says:

    I confirm: sold in Pari for 375 € and also on some website for 399€, expected for the 4 novembre!

  6. danny Says:

    i would also like to know if there is a SIM card slot. i’m pretty sure i saw one from the pictures posted at liliputing dot com.

  7. siru Says:

    the NC10 is available since 27/10 for 379€ here in Germany and Sascha from eeepcnews made a few very good live streams about this device.

  8. Sascha Says:

    Joanna, finally i can confirm your battery test, even though i got around 6:45h on 50% brightness.
    I think the reason might be the different response time of the websites from my location, so it just takes a little bit longer to finally open the website and until FF finally draws some more cpu load when the website is fully loaded. Anyways, these results are pretty close to each other, so all i can say again… Good job anjd say hello to Avram. His little script is setting a new standard for my netbook battery tests.
    It just makes perfect sense.

    Cheers

    Sascha

  9. Bernard Says:

    You did a really good job
    & you show very “professionnal” by accepting errors and take this opportunity to analyze, understand & publish it.

    I really appreciate & wait for your new bunch of results regarding autonomy / battery life with brightness impact & double check,
    hopefully before the end of this week because week-end will be key for me to decide between nc10 & wind (my initial choice just before the nc10 show-up)

    Between netbooks with similar features, mobility is a key criteria driven by battery life

    Best regards from France

  10. Bernard Says:

    Oh, by the way, what is battery power you got with the nc10 6 cells: 5200mAh ?
    and what power regarding the Wind 6 cells you tested & compare ?

    I ask the question because it sounds that the Wind in the USA has the 6 cells battery of 4900mAh or 5200mAh, where in France it is only 4400mAh

    then i need to know in order to compare Apples by Apples
    (and make some calculations to estimate battery life if powers differ from the ones you tested)

    Thanks, Bernard

  11. KoKo Says:

    WHAT!?!?! YOU GUYS CAN’T READ KOREAN? WHAT KIND OF REVIEWERS ARE YOU?!?!?!?!

    Kidding. Nice job.

  12. Dirk Says:

    Just bought the Samsung -in Germany- for my son. Paid 399.-€ I will test the battery and will also try to run it on Ubuntu and see what that will do for the battery.

    best regards,

    Dirk

  13. chris Says:

    Original review says:
    (Our review unit’s Korean keyboard was lacking a backslash/pipe key; in its place was a Korean character. We will update this review when we receive our American review unit.)

    Actually, that key IS the [ | \ ] key, only the symbol written on it is different. It produces the same keyboard code. But when the system locale is set to “Korean”, the backslash is displayed as the Korean currency sign (won, ₩). But that symbol can still perform the function of a path separator in Windows, just like a backslash. It’s because in (non-Unicode) Korean character maps, the character at location 0x5C looks like a ₩. (In Unicode, there’s a dedicated ₩ character code that is different from \.) Software that uses \ for special purposes doesn’t care about the different image.
    If you change the system locale (Control panel -> Regional and Language Options -> Advanced -> “Language for non-Unicode programs”) to English, those ₩ characters will suddenly turn into backslashes.

    I found out because something similar happens with the ¥ sign and I experienced that before. If Windows XP’s “Language for non-Unicode programs” is set to Japanese, backslashes will be displayed as Yen signs (¥).

    If that setting is not Korean (Japanese), some Korean (Japanese) programs may display random-looking characters instead of their native Korean (Japanese).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E2%82%A9
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backslash

  14. Rem Says:

    Hi Johanna,

    For the Bluetooth device…
    From what I know (but I might be wrong), if you go to Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager
    and desactivate the Bluetooth device, it is supposed (again correct me if I’m wrongà) to cut the power from this device, and let an IRQ available…

  15. batteries Says:

    Great post. thanks a lot.

  16. bernard Says:

    Joanna,
    your post, your in-depth test of battery life, and lastly the final update with 37% & 25% backlight decided me to buy the nc10.
    it’s now done because I had the chance to have shop who just received some white ones and they agreed to book one for me waiting for the whole battery life test be done (no other test exists but yours).
    continue to gather information, testing & tuning for this machine, we all benefit from your experience.

  17. Saga Says:

    Still no word on release date for the US? can’t wait to get one.
    And somebody knows if it will be released in black?

  18. Jigneshk Says:

    Hi,

    This question is for the same netbook (i.e. Samsung NC10) but for the different thread. Regarding your post “Add RAM to the Samsung NC10″. It is nice to know that we can upgrade the memory to 2gb. I am going to purchase 2gb memory. The steps are very easy and nicely explained with photos & video. But it does not say which memory should we be buying. I am planning to purchase “SAMSUNG 2GB DDR2 667MHZ PC2 5300 5400 2 GB SODIMM CL 5″ for SAMSUNG NC10 however I am not too sure if this memory will work. So, if anybody or the person who posted ‘ADD RAM TO THE SAMSUNG NC10″ can throw some light on this, it would be highly appreciated.

    Thanks

  19. admin Says:

    Yes, 2GB of DDR2 PC2 5300 is what we used in the tutorial.

  20. Johnny Says:

    Joane,

    Thank you very much for testing the Samsung NC10. While doing my search on Samsung’s site, I found that there are two different NC10s: The NC10-14GW and the NC10-14GB. What is the difference and which model did you test? I’ve gone over the specs on Samsung’s website of both machines, but quite honestly I’m not super tech-literate to understand the difference. Can you give readers a bottom line up front description of the difference between the two models?

    All the best,

    Johnny

  21. admin Says:

    The 14GW is white and the 14GB is blue. That is the only difference.

  22. Johnny Says:

    Joane & Admin,

    Thanks for the quick response. One other question, when you tested the Asus EEE PC 1000H you mentioned that it had a DVD capable hard-drive. Does the Samsung NC10 have the same feature?

  23. FuelScience Says:

    For those wondering about US availability, I left a question on the US Samsung web site and got the following response.

    Fuel Science
    ============
    Thank you for contacting Samsung Electronics. We appreciate your interest in our newly released line of Notebook PC’s.

    I do apologize for the delay on the release of the NC10. We are expecting them to be in stock online by next week. Those who have pre-ordered the NC10 will be the first to recieve them, so you should have it by Thanksgiving ( but that depends on how it is being shipped to your location). Thank you for purchasing the NC10. Have a great day.

    Sincerely,
    Matt
    Samsung Electronics of America

  24. Dmitry Says:

    Hi everyone!
    I’m glad I have found this great site where you may find practically all reviews I wanted to see. I was greatly surprised of the battery life test that you have done… And I can’t keep from waiting to buy one in Russia… As we are sick and tired of those Asus Eee PC. To my mind I would only have a chance of buying this notebook only in January or may be at the end of December… ))) Will see what we shall see!

    Best regards

    DiMonD

  25. Gusher@GoT Says:

    Anyone looking for a Netbook with buildin 3G support; it is comming! The 3G/HSUPA version of the NC10 will be available in The Netherlands in February.

  26. dennis Says:

    I don’t see any black models for sale in the united states. is there a timetable for this? also, is no 3g capability a deal breaker or is it easy to add?

  27. Kurt Says:

    Regarding the NC-10 memory:

    Samsung website reports NC-10 memory specs as 1GB 800Mhz DDR2.
    LaptopMag memory upgrade lists using a 2GB PC2-5300 SODIMM 667Mhz module.
    If it’s really 800Mhz, then I should order a 2GB PC2-6400 SODIMM 800Mhz module, right?

    So anyone know for sure? Anyone care to ask Samsung?
    Price is about the same, but memory usually can’t be returned.

    And a weight saving idea:
    Has anyone with an NC-10 tried buying an adapter that plugs into the power brick and allows you to do away with the 3-pronged power cord to save space and weight? What type of plug goes into the power brick? If it is a C-5 like the MSI Wind, then…

    Some MSI Wind users are using (for $3):
    http://www.stayonline.com/detail.aspx?ID=11068

    Or choose a 1 ft long version for less than $2:
    http://tinyurl.com/6fdgoj or
    http://tinyurl.com/6lumwe or
    http://tinyurl.com/5a2jdc
    (cyberguys.com Item#: 121 2596)

  28. Fred Flintstone Says:

    Any more updates on the US RELEASE DATE? I pre-ordered through Amazon.

  29. kitestrmrt Says:

    @Kurt
    The maximum DDR speed supported by the chipset is 533Mhz (http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/embedded/945gse/index.htm). I guess you can throw in a 667/800Mhz module, but it won’t run faster than 533Mhz.

  30. Kurt Says:

    Amazon.com now has the NC-10 in stock in blue according to their website.
    White was $20ish less than blue until today, now they are $3 apart.
    Newegg.com still has white at the reduced price.
    No word on the black ones in the US…yet.

  31. odinchong Says:

    Thank you for your amazing and detailed test that I am going to buy a NC10.

    As your test mentioned that brightness is so important of its battery life, but there is some different cases with the brightness. I have held another test with Battery Eater with its Classic mode, and found that 37.5% brightness can endure 4:46 but 80% brightness is 4:42. The effect of the brightness has been eliminated by higher workload.

    On the other hand, workload may be one of the most important factor of a netbook’s battery life — even netbook is mostly designed for web-surfing because I have test NC10 with a idle Safari and lasting for amazing 8:01. Thus, I have written a web page (http://www.derhbf.com/test1.htm) for testing NC10′s web-surfing — because flash-based web need much more CPU usage to handle, and my website is formed by 1 flash video, 1 flash 3-D animation and 2 blank pages, each page will be redirect to another page after 3 min that kept NC10′s CPU usage higher and Speedstep kept its clock on 1.6 GHZ in most of the surfing process.

    Finally, the result is as long as your testes (6:46), but when I changed the setting to Speed Mode (Max CPU) with 37.5 brightness, it still last for 6:12! Actually, we are seldom surfing on the web in these kind of flash all the day, so it is reasonable to say that NC10 may endure almost 7 hours for web-surfing in CPU ma — Yes, I think web-surfing time is also significant for Netbooks.

    If you need the detailed test data, please vist:
    http://www.umpcfever.com/news/?postid=1623

  32. Jipé Says:

    hi all,

    concerning the memory module, does anybody knowws what’s about the CAS Latency to choose ? It seem’s original module is CL5,..

    Regards,
    Jipé

  33. Byla Says:

    It’s funny that people seem to be worried about the memory speed 533/667/800 and there is so much written about which speed to use when in this case, the CAS Latency is what we should all be worried about. If the original was CL5, it seems safest to stick with that, but I don’t know if you can buy something with better latency performance which might bump up performance a little. I have seen CL6/7 so that would slow it down. With desk tops, we use to look at CL2 vs CL3 and the CL2 got you better performance. You had to adjust it in your BIOS settings. Now some memory comes with an additional chip on the card that reports specs like CL level to the computer but I don’t see such a chip on most of the laptop modules. I’ve never seen any CL4 offered either. If the chipset only support 533 than 533/677/800 will be fine. Manuals use to show you all the BIOS settings, now it’s hard to dig this information out.

  34. Byla Says:

    The other issue that’s received little discussion is the fact that XP probably won’t take advantage of the extra G unless you are opening lots of big programs which you probably wouldn’t be doing on this half pint laptop. I wonder the battery usage impact of the extra G of memory. Every little hurts and you can’t turn it off if you don’t think you need it like the backlight. I’m getting ready to order and don’t think the extra memory is needed until MS 7 is available and I doubt I’ll be willing to pay for that upgrade on what is suppose to be a lowend machine. If MS 7 were available now, well that would be a different story.

  35. Thurstan Says:

    I’ve been using the Samsung NC10 for 2 months now and absolutely love it. The keyboard is awesome, battery life is as advertised (unlike many other laptops) I have consistantly had 5-6 hours of battery life with wifi turned on or a 3G broadband dongle in (brightness on 3 bars).

    It is in no way a underpowered machine. I thought because it was running on a 1.6ghz atom meant for internet enabled phones that it wouldn’t be able to do much more than the browsing that netbooks are generally thought to be for. I have found this to be incorrect. I have the full adobe suite on my NC10 and have been editing photos in photoshop and picasa without considerable delay. Certainly it is a few degrees slower then the Mac Pro I use for design at work, but hey I’m travelling and this thing is seriously small, so I’m quite happy to take a hit in performance.

    I’m part way through pimping out my netbook. I’ve upgraded the ram to 2GB, which has helped considerably particularly when running dreamweaver & photoshop. I’ve bought a Logitech Nano, with it’s nano receiver you can just leave it in perminantly without worry as the usb dongle only sticks out 8mm.

    I’m about to buy a WD 500Gb My Passport Elite and swap the internal 160Gb drive so that I can continue taking travel pics (I use an Canon 450D set to RAW + JPG, it’s amazing how many gigs you can go through). Then it will be complete.

    Other things to love about this laptop: The included samsung software to ghost the install drive. I have several ghosts now depending on the task I want to use the netbook for. I’ve ended up just using the full install as it has not slowed down significantly. My bag strap broke and the NC10 landed on a hardwood floor on it’s corner. The panels poped apart, but the screen was fine and everything else worked and felt just fine after poping the panels back together. It runs a 24in LCD at native 1920×1200 res flawlessly.

    Gripes: Bluetooth does not have it’s own light or on/off button, the glossy cover shows any fingermarks – I would have prefered matte.

    I actually only upgraded to this netbook after I replaced two Advent 4211Cs in the space of three weeks. The advents felt sturdy and were about £40 cheaper, but one developed screen issues and the other showed signs of screen issues, but a day or two later I noticed it would only work when the power cable was in. I was very disappointed with these Advents so I changed to this Samsung NC10 and have been enjoying it ever since.

  36. jason chu Says:

    Um, why would a company issue specs at 800Mhz PC6400 SODIMMS AND INSTALL
    the same but then allow you to use PC5300 at 667 MHZ?

    wouldnt they just buy the PC5300 which is cheaper and more prevalent in the open market?

    just so you know I have pc5300 in my NC10 but only for the last 30 min and it seems fine but there are some slow downs from time to time in Gtalk and gmail.

    this is the same problem i have with my acer aspire so i have to assume it is the atom processor and not the ram..

    i am worried about the ram though… again … why would samsung issue a spec and pay more for PC6400

    even crucial.com cites pc6400

  37. John A Says:

    The battery life tests are interesting. However tne NC10 Ibought from Comet (UK) last week only achieves 3hours 10 minutes or so. Close inspection of the “Standard” battery showsit to be 2200mHa. What “standard” battery was in the machine you tested and did you upgrade the battery before the tests?

    I have set the screen to three bar brightness setting but have not a clue how to disable the bluetooth which I do not use

    There was no indication on the box or the shelf ticket that Comet were selling a low rated machine. I suspect they are pulling a fast one – beware!

  38. John Stedman Says:

    I too have bought the NC10 from Comet and then found that the battery supplied is the 3 cell 2200mAh version which lasts 3 hours at best. I feel cheated and have voiced my concern to Comet. I wonder if this is case for Trading Standards as at the time of purchase I said to the Sales Assistant that the reason for replacing my laptop with the NC10 was the battery life advertised in reviews of the NC10 – he didn’t mention this was a cut down version (though proving this may be difficult unless there are a lot of us that have been misled by this big name in the high street). I feel very cheated.

  39. Ray Says:

    CHEATED:
    I also feel cheated by ARGOS – their NC10 is also powered by the low battery 2200mAh – I’m getting about 2hrs and 15minutes max, just with email and browsing.

    I bought this primarily on the good reviews regarding the battery life.

    Buyers beware – DEMAND the 5400mAh – and you may get 4 or 5 hours – even Amazon don’t tell you which battery you are going to get !

  40. Sista Says:

    I LOVE my Samsung. I’m SO glad it gets such great reviews. YEAH Long Live My Samsung!!!!!!

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