Samsung NC20 review

Alan Lu
22 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT



12.1 in 1,280x800 display, 1.5kg, 1.6GHz Via Nano U2250, 1.00GB RAM, 160GB disk, Windows XP Home Edition

Samsung's NC20 is one of only two netbooks here with a 12.1in screen. This means it's a little heavier than the 10in netbooks here at 1.5kg, but it's not that much bigger.

The larger display means a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels, which is higher than the 1,024x600 resolution of the 10in netbooks in our round-up. This gives plenty of room for working on large documents or using a couple of programs simultaneously. Some colours on the screen look a little washed out, though, and although it's not as gloomy as the IdeaPad's display, it isn't as bright as the Aspire One's screen.

We were disappointed to find that its battery didn't last as long as Samsung's N120. It ran for nearly five hours, though, which is respectable and long enough for all but the most epic train journeys.

The NC20 shares the same keyboard as the N120, which is generally a good thing as it's large and comfortable to type on, although it doesn't feel quite as responsive as the keys on Dell's Inspiron Mini 10 or HP's Mini 2140. It also shares the same slightly odd layout with the N120, with the Start menu and contextual menu keys switching places. The touchpad is fairly large and feels accurate, although the pivoting button doesn't feel very responsive.

Unlike the other netbooks here, the NC20 uses a Via Nano processor instead of one of Intel's Atom processors. Its performance closely matches the Atom N270, so it's more than quick enough for watching videos or working on office documents, but its lack of Hyperthreading technology, which creates a virtual second processor core, means it feels more sluggish when working in multiple programs simultaneously. This is particularly noticeable when switching between two open applications. Its Via integrated graphics chip is no better for playing 3D games than the Intel integrated chips used by most of the other netbooks here.

Samsung's NC20 is a good choice if you need its high-resolution screen, but the N120 is better value and has a much longer battery life.

Basic Specifications

ProcessorVia Nano U2250
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption idle19W
Power consumption active22W


Viewable size12.1 in
Native resolution1,280x800
Graphics ProcessorVia Chrome9 HC3 IGP
Graphics/video portsVGA
Graphics Memory128MB


Total storage capacity160GB
Optical drive modelnone
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11b/g
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC
Other portsnone


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore optionrestore disc
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return

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