The NB30 is as beautifully crafted as it is robust, and has brilliant battery performance. It offers excellent value for money because it's built to last and copes with most tasks you can throw at it, as long as you don't expect high–end number crunching. Our only caveat is the added height from the battery.
Solid build quality; long battery life; excellent visual display; value for money.
Added height from battery cartridge; only one memory slot.
Windows 7 Starter 32-bit, Intel Atom N450 (1.66GHz), 1GB RAM, 160GB SATA hard drive, 1,024 x 600 backlit LED display, Wi-Fi, six-cell battery, 256 x 188.9 x 35.6mm (WxDxH), 1.3kg.
Making a stand in an overcrowded netbook market is getting increasingly difficult. Back in 2007 it was common opinion that netbooks were low cost and defined by a lack of features and specifications. They also had to come in delicate chassis that looked like they'd fall over in a high wind, let alone cope with vigorous use.
How times have changed. Netbooks have evolved to cater for nearly every user requirement, and Samsung's own netbook range has put to rest the idea that netbooks are cheaply constructed electronic paperweights.
A good example of this principle is the Samsung NB30 netbook. If there's one netboook designed to cope with heavy duty use, this is it.
The first thing we noted about the NB30 was its respectful homage to Panasonic's Toughbook range. While weighing just 1.3kg and with svelte dimensions, the NB30 remains surprisingly solid. Samsung designed it with a protective 'S' pattern, which adds a groove and bump surface that looks great and feels chunky.
We appreciate Samsung's attention to detail because it carried the solid pattern over the entire outer case, giving the NB30 a robust finish. Factor in the matte black finish to the groove case, and you have a netbook that's spill-proof and doesn't scratch or pick up fingerprints easily.
The commitment to solidity doesn't end there, as Samsung has injected some of its business class hard drive protection technology. Samsung claims the NB30 has a drop protected 160GB SATA hard drive with a free-fall sensor, which automatically detects a fall and locks the drive while backing up data at the same time. It's worth pointing out that it's only the hard drive that is drop protectected and not the laptop itself.
Samsung has maintained its portability pledge by building the NB30 on a tiny 10.1in chassis, so it's a shame that the battery sticks out like a sore thumb. The cartridge battery slots in at the back and completely demolishes the smooth dimensions by adding nearly half an inch in height to the back of the netbook.
Samsung obviously didn't have enough internal space, but the payoff is having a six-cell battery that provides up to 11 hours of touted power, a huge tick for Samsung when high battery life is so important in such a mobile unit.