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Nanocade turns your netbook into a lap-friendly arcade cabinet - 06 February 2011
 
 
 

We here at Netbook.ie would all love our own personal arcade, but sadly a lack of square footage can make that a challenge.

The new Nanocade Netbook accessory is much more affordable and, conveniently much smaller too. It's a kit from designer Rasmus Sorensen that enables you to turn a netbook into a wee GAME cabinet.  Your Pacman high scores will be in for a tough time.

If you have such a donor machine when this kit starts shipping in March 2011 all you'll need is a little a technical know-how to make your own. Oh, and €300 plus shipping. 
 

 

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Acer announces Windows and Android tablets - 24 November 2010

Acer announces Windows and Android tablets

And one is a 7-inch tablet
Wed Nov 24 2010, 08:47

ANDROID AND Windows tablets have been announced by Acer at a press conference in New York.

It has two 10.1-inch tablets with one using an unspecific Android operating system and the other an unidentified Windows OS. Other than the 10.1-inch size displays both have WiFi and 3G but are designed for different uses.

The Android tablet is designed for entertainment and gaming and has what Acer calls 10-point multi-touch and "gyro-meter control," which could be just a g-sensor. It has an HDMI port for a High Definition 1080p "capability," and is 13.3mm thick with an aluminum casing. It will arrive in April but the Windows tablet will tip up in February.

The Windows device seems to be more aimed at a business user with a docking station and full sized keyboard that come with it and front and rear facing 1.3MP camera for recording, taking still pictures and video conferencing. There is no mention of HD but its processor is described as "next generation AMD", which could mean a Zambezi CPU or the Fusion branded Ontario accelerated processing unit.

Much to the annoyance of Steve Jobs Acer is also launching a 7-inch tablet. Available in April 2011 it uses an unspecified Android OS, has an unidentified dual-core processor, a 1280 x 800 7-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and has WiFi and 3G and will support Flash 10.1 and DNLA and has Dolby Mobile Technology.

It also has a front facing "HD" camera for recording or video conferencing and can output HD with an HDMI port. The device's description also hints at phone capabilities when it says the tablet "takes your mobile experience to the next level". µ

 By Rob Coppinger

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Intel AppUp Netbook App Store - 19 October 2010

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Today, Intel AppUp, the chip-maker’s app store for Windows-based netbooks, came out of beta. If you’re growing weary of app stores for different platforms, AppUp’s mission is at least unique: to provide apps that will run smoothly on Atom powered Windows XP and Windows 7-based netbooks. (They will one day run on MeeGo devices too). In addition to offering some more lightweight apps, though, Intel is keen on the idea of users being able to discover and purchase them in a central location.

We got some hands-on time with AppUp, after installing it on our Toshiba NB305, which runs Windows 7.

To install AppUp, go to appup.com. If you don’t have Adobe AIR installed already, you’ll be prompted to download it during the installation process. The first time we launched the storefront on our desktop, the program involuntarily closed, but it opened normally the second time. Although you don’t need an AppUp account to download and install the store, you’ll need one to download apps, even free ones. This process happens online, and involves creating a password, and handing over your name and e-mail address.

With its separate onscreen boxes for browsing apps by categories, staff favorites, what’s new, and what’s hot, the layout isn’t unlike Apple’s App Store. It’s certainly an improvement over Android, which makes it impossible to sort apps based on user ratings, although you can search by category or focus on newly released apps.

Although just five categories are on display on the main screen, there are actually 22 on display, with duplicates for utilities and games, since there are already more apps to choose from in these areas than in others. (We don’t see why Intel can’t just have, say, one large games section). With the exception of categories such as games, which boasts more than 60  titles already, most of the categories are sparsely stocked. We counted one books app, for instance,two news ones,  three each in the business and communications categories, and four music apps.

Right now, the selection is also random, at best. Take, for instance, the game based on the show Murder She Wrote. (Ed. note: Yikes.) The free Calculator app lets users calculate things such as cosines and tangents, but lacks on onscreen number pad and is confusing to use, regardless of your recollection of high school-level formulas. Some, such as the Spacact Photo Manager, are useful, albeit, with crude interfaces. This one, for example, doesn’t have editing tools; just a link to start editing with whatever third-party editor you have installed already.

To boot, too few of them are free; you’ll see many that cost $0.99 or even $4.99. Something this experimental and with so few apps can’t afford to be pricey. Between this and the selection, AppUp’s launch reminds us of the launch of Windows Mobile’s app store. Whether this initiative is for real or just a placeholder while Microsoft develops  a full-fledged Windows app store, we hope Intel can pick up more developer support than it has so far

by Dana Wollman
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Hands-on with Gateway's LT32 premium Netbook - 04 August 2010

Hands-on with Gateway's LT32 premium Netbook




The Gateway LT3201u Netbook.

(Credit: Dan Ackerman/CNET)

Netbooks have settled into a comfortable set of stock components, offering basic PC functionality for prices unheard of even a few years ago. The typical setup of a 10-inch display, Intel Atom N450 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and Windows 7 Starter is easy to find for as little as $299, and more than adequate for many tasks, from e-mail to Web surfing.

But those low, low prices mean PC makers are eager to upsell, and a handful of Netbook-plus systems have turned up, with larger HD displays, more RAM, and even better CPUs and graphics capabilities, such as the Asus Eee PC 1201, which pairs a bigger screen with Nvidia's ION GPU for what some call a "Premium Netbook" experience.

The latest system to offer a little more Netbook for a little more money is the Gateway LT32. This 11.6-inch laptop skips the typical Intel Atom for an AMD Athlon Neo II K125 processor. While still a single core chip, AMD has always positioned the Neo as a better performer than the Atom, and during initial anecdotal hands-on use, that certainly seems to be the case. The LT32 also includes ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4225 graphics--still not a discrete GPU, but a small step up from the integrated Intel graphics found in most Netbooks.

Almost as important to the end user experience is the 2GB of RAM (double what's in a typical Netbook) and Windows 7 Home Premium operating system instead of the more common Windows 7 Starter Edition.

The design of the LT32 is reminiscent of the Acer Ferrari One, an excellent 11-inch Premium Netbook from earlier in 2010. That system was even better, with a dual-core AMD CPU and 4GB of RAM, but it also cost nearly $600, putting it in solid mainstream laptop territory.

(Credit: Dan Ackerman/CNET)

The Gateway LT32 is more reasonably priced. Gateway is listing it for $449, but hopefully some adventurous retailer will sell it for $399 -- which would make it a great $100 upgrade from entry level Netbooks.

In our hands-on use, the LT32 felt like a definite step up from Atom-powered Netbooks. We spent less time staring the spinning Windows wait icon, and launching and switching between apps resulted in less hang time. Both the Neo processor and extra RAM likely play a part in this. The Radeon graphics weren't much for 3D games (although some more basic games are certainly playable -- see our list of great games for Netbooks for some examples), but HD video playback was great, including streaming Flash video in HD -- something that trips up even Netbooks using Broadcom's Crystal HD video accelerator.

The large keyboard is typical of 11-inch Netbooks, and certainly easier to type on, although its wide, flat, closely packed keys felt a little wobbly, especially around the center of the keyboard. The touch pad is undersized, and made of the same material as the rest of the wrist rest, demarcated only by a faint raised line. Like most current laptop touch pads, it includes some basic multi-touch gestures, such as two-finger scrolling, but they were hard to use, failing to register much of the time. At least the left and right mouse buttons are actual separate buttons, skipping the unfortunate recent Gateway trend of using a single, thin rocker bar in place of mouse buttons.

One area where the Intel Atom still has a clear advantage is battery life, and while the LT32 lasted around four hours in anecdotal use, that's nowhere near the six-plus hours a highly efficient Atom Netbook can get.

Nonetheless, using a Netbook with just a bit more oomph makes a huge difference, and if priced reasonably by retailers, this could be a very attractive alternative. We're currently testing the Gateway LT32 in the CNET Labs, so stay tuned for a full review with benchmark scores.

By Dan Ackerman.

All rights reserved.

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30 Great Netbook Games - 04 August 2010

It's time to add a new selection of entries to our list of PC games well-suited for Netbooks. Especially as we expect to see many of these low-cost, low-power laptops in the hands of students during the back-to-school season, it's important to have a little action/RPG/adventure/puzzle break handy when one gets tired of taking lecture notes.

As usual, many of these entries are re-releases of classic games, originally available when even high-end computer hardware was at best comparable with today's entry-level systems. Online services such as Good Old Games and Steam are great resources for these.

One important exception is the new online gaming service OnLive, which takes current high-end PC games, renders the 3D graphics remotely, then streams you the video as you play. It sounds like a crazy idea, but it actually works pretty well, even on Netbooks. Check out our extensive hands-on look at OnLive here.

  

Since we put together our first Netbook-friendly PC game list, we've gotten many excellent suggestions from readers for new additions. We've also finally seen some long-awaited new entries from the classic Sierra/Activision library come to the popular GOG.com retro gaming Web site, which gives us even more to choose from.

The new 2010 crop of Netbooks offer systems with the latest Intel Atom N450 CPU have made big gains in battery life. That's always a plus, but it also means our standard admonitions about not expecting too much from your Netbook in terms of performance remain in effect. That said, this collection (which includes links to download or play the games themselves) should help make your Netbook a pretty decent mobile gaming machine.

Like just about everyone else on the planet, you broke down and purchased a Netbook. After all, these low-cost, low-power laptops are great for tossing in your bag for a trip, working at the coffee shop, or just taking to class.

You knew all along that these systems were not made for gaming, and obviously you planned to spend all your time doing Netbook-like things such as Web surfing and working on office docs. Still, somewhere along the way, the thought crept in--maybe I can find some games that'll run on an Intel Atom processor and integrated graphics...

In the name of science, we loaded up a wide variety of games and asked friends and associates what games they had successfully played, all to help us compile this list of Netbook-friendly titles. They range from free to around $20; some are re-released PC classics, some are Web-based casual games, and a few are even from that fast-growing social-gaming genre found on Facebook (such as FarmVille).

Browse through the slideshow below to see our current favorites (and links to where you can download or play them). Bookmark this page for periodic updates as we find new games, or suggest your own Netbook favorites in the comments section below. Most of these will run on any Netbook with Windows 7 or XP, 1GB of RAM, and an Intel Atom processor. A handful are recommended only for Netbooks with Nvidia's Ion graphics.

Note: If you dig into your old dusty CD and DVD binders, there's no doubt you can find a ton of great classic PC games to try (we just found our original discs for both Grim Fandango and System Shock 2), but since your Netbook doesn't have an internal optical drive, we're restricting this list to games one can download from legit online sources, such as Steam or GOG.com.

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Acer One D260 new dual boot Andriod Windows 7 Netbook - 09 June 2010
Acer One D260 has decided to do something different with the Aspire One D260 and add an interesting dual boot feature - Windows and Android.

The netbook itself is pretty has the following value specification:

  • 10.1 inch, 1,024 x 600 display
  • Choice of:
     - 1.66GHz Atom N450 with 1GB of DDR2 RAM
    - 1.66GHz Atom N455 with 2GB of DDR3
  • Intel GMA 3150 graphics
  • 250GB hard drive
  • Card reader, 3x USB, Wireless N, Bluetooth, Ethernet …
  • 8 hour battery life with optional 6 cell battery
  • Size: 258.5mm x 185mm x 24mm
  • Weight: 1.25kg
  • MiniGo adapter 34% lighter than typical adapters
  • Choice of four colors: Black Flake, Purple Flake, Pink Flake and Charcoal Flake.

What’s really quite interesting about this new Netbook is the dual boot - offering both Windows 7 and Google Android OS. There’s very little info on the Android OS from Acer at present, so I’m guessing Android 1.5. We are however promised a 15 second boot time to check email and surf the web, which is great.

No price yet, and availability is expected July 1st

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ASUS 1005PE wins design award - 23 May 2010
Asus 1005PE wins Product Design Award 2010.

Elegant Seashell Inspired Design

Seemingly crafted by nature itself, the Eee PC™ Seashell draws its inspiration from seashells and its opalescent and glossy exterior is crafted by the innovative in-Mold Roller technology; matte painting in C part to create baby soft touch. It's so light and compact, you can take it anywhere with you! And with sleek curves and smooth lines hugging its lustrous shell, the Eee PC™ Seashell will easily charm passers-by wherever it goes.

Saves Power and the Planet - 11 hours battery life with Super Hybrid Engine

The Eee PC™ 1005PE is not only beauty outside with elegant seashell design, but also matches with its power inside as energy efficiency. It features the new power-saving Intel® Atom™ N450 CPU, which works in tandem with ASUS’ exclusive Super Hybrid Engine energy management technology to deliver 11 hours* of battery life on a single charge. The Eee PC™ 1005PE’s is truly the product of ASUS’ love for the Earth and perfect masterpiece to eliminate worries about power while on-the-go for full day, unplugged computing.

Dual OS: Lose the Wait with Express Gate

The Eee PC™ 1005PE offers near-instant access to the Internet thanks to the inclusion of Express Gate, an ancillary operating system that boots up in seconds. Make Skype calls, surf the web, browse photos, play online games, engage in instant messaging, and much more with Express Gate!

No Deficiency in Efficiency

The Eee PC™ Seashell 1005PE features a breathtaking design that includes a 10.1” LED-backlit display and an ergonomic chiclet keyboard. It also comes with an extra 500GB of online ASUS WebStorage** which allows you to access, share and back up your files and media no matter where you are, through an easy-to-use drag-and-drop web-based interface.

Multi-touch pad of easily zoom in/out

With the Multi-Touch gesture input feature, you can easily zoom in and out to view photos or read documents by just moving two fingertips apart or together on the touchpad. You can also simultaneously slide two fingertips up or down the touchpad—making scrolling in a window easy without the use of a mouse.

Seamless Communication : Bluetooth V2.1

With built-in Bluetooth support, the Eee PC™ lets you easily transfer data between Bluetooth-enabled devices' and brings forth excellent connectivity where work, learn and play experiences are enhanced by applications that easily connect two or more users remotely. Built-in 0.3M camera for instant video conference & msn chatting.

Eee Docking: A World of Fun and Productivity Awaits (Windows 7 only)

Eee PC™ 1005PE netbooks running Windows based OS come with Eee Docking*, an intuitive software suite that offers easy access to digital content, services, and useful software. Eee Docking comprises:

  • ASUS Amuse: Stream or download a variety of exciting digital content
  • Eee Sharing: Share/sync messages and data with other Eee PCs, notebooks, or desktop PCs without entering into the Internet
  • Eee Xperience: Applications that enhance visual and acoustic
  • Eee Tools: A suite of useful tools including Live Update, Parental Control* and Font Resizer

ASUS Access in Eee Docking
Access More, Imagine More, Do More with ASUS’ Cloud Computing Service

Gain instant access to entertainment with your Eee PC™ 1005PE right here. Want to enjoy a quick game while waiting for your friends? Searching for essential computer utilities? Need to be constantly online? Looking to share videos, music and files with your friends? Build your own access. Do more with ASUS Access. Visit ASUS Access for more information at www.netbook.ie .

* Operation lifetime subject to product model, normal usage conditions and configurations. For more information, please visit www.netbook.ie . The estimated maximum battery life in Windows® 7 is measured with MobileMark® 2007.
** Availability is dependent on selected model, country or operator support. Check with your local ASUS website for more details.
*** Complimentary one-year 500GB ASUS WebStorage trial. Please visit www.netbook.ie  for more details. Specifications are subject to change without prior notice. Please visit www.netbook.ie  for more information.
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Netbook v IPad Review - 16 May 2010

Those in favour of a Netbook or notebook, in some cases--stated practical reasons, while those in favor of the Apple device often pointed to its media-viewing capabilities and novelty.

In all, Netbooks seemed to come out on top, in terms of clear utility. That's probably because they have been out there a lot longer and have time-tested designs. The iPad, on the other hand, is not only new, but it defies traditional usage models, lacking a standard PC operating system and physical keyboard.

A couple of items worth noting: this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. To state the obvious, the iPad and Netbook are different designs. But a purchase decision can come down to an either-or choice, when considering that both devices fall into the gap between a smartphone and a high-end laptop--not to mention the fact that not everyone has the luxury of buying both. It's also worth noting that a few readers saw the choice as simply the traditional mainstream laptop versus the iPad.

I've listed some of the more cogent and/or representative arguments in favor of buying either device.

Pro-Netbook:

    * Cheap, simple: "The Netbook fills a unique need for casual computer users who need a cheap, simple, portable computer [that] can perform any computer-related task. So...while the iPad is interesting, I don't see it filling a need for cheap, simple computers, which can do everything."
    * Full keyboard: "At the end of the day, my Netbook goes to class with me. It has a full keyboard and Microsoft Office." And another reader: "A keyboard is the fundamental difference. Virtual keyboards just aren't as efficient in their current form as physical keyboards are. The iPad's solution, a separate keyboard module, is much less elegant than the integrated keyboard of laptops."
    * Multitask: "I don't see the iPad replacing my Netbook when the iPad can't multitask. That means I can't get NZBs, use uTorrent, be on IRC, and have Trillian and Winamp running all while I use Firefox."
    * More open: "If Apple would just drop the walled garden, I would say the iPad. Until then, Windows is more open than the iPhone/iPad OS. (Moreover), I can install Linux on a Netbook." And another reader said: "Personally, the app restrictions are quite insulting to me, as a programmer, so I would never buy an iPad (or an iPhone, for that matter.) But I understand that not everyone is a programmer, and an iPad might be more appealing to them."
    * USB and connectors: "As a musician, USB, FireWire, and driver support means I can do work (i.e. recording, mixing, writing) on the road with a Netbook in ways that the iPad doesn't allow."
    * PC market is where it's at: "If you were to add up all the iPhones, Macs, and iPads ever sold, the total would not come remotely close to the PC market."
    * Can't have both: "I would love to have both a Netbook and an iPad...But to be practical and with a constrained budget, I would start with a Netbook."

Pro-iPad:

    * Maps: "The Google Maps app, with GPS and [a] large screen, is fantastic. All I have to say to people who didn't try it: just check it out."
    * Virtual keyboard is fine: "Once I got the iPad cover to have it tilt at a 45-degree angle, I actually noticed I typed faster on the iPad than my Netbook." And another reader: "Interestingly, by trusting the predictive spell-checking, I can type faster on the iPad than (the) Netbook."
    * Better travel companion/entertainment: "The iPad fits in perfectly as a lightweight, mobile platform for e-mail and Web access, as well as remote access to my servers while I'm on the move in a package the same size as the Day-Timer (that) I used to carry. It's also much more pleasant to use when traveling for entertainment and document review than my laptop, and more functional than my iPhone. This is the perfect in-between device for me."
    * Like the controlled-app environment: "I like the idea of the controlled apps--and there are so many of them to select. My main loves are the touch interface and the power-up speed." And another reader said: "That 'closed' App Store has more apps and games than any mobile platform...How is that closed?"
    * Flash not that important, anyway: "I think Flash is in trouble...I am able to watch shows from major networks (on the iPad). (But) if you're a FarmVille (game) addict, then you will need Flash."
    * Try it; you'll like it: "I think many of the people who favor the Netbook have not used the iPad...for any length of time. With numerous desktops and laptops in our house and at work, I bought an iPad...You don't have to be computer-illiterate to appreciate a well-designed, user-friendly device...The iPad is different from a Netbook. Neither are appropriate for real computer work, but for using the Internet, mail, games, and/or light computing, the iPad is the better choice."

By Brook Crothers from Cnet

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Barbie Notebook Netbook - 16 May 2010

Samsung has released what, apparently, is a really good notebook in Korea, the Samsung X170 Barbie Edition. No kidding!

It’s an ultraportable notebook Netbook with an 11.6″, 1366 x 768 display, and Intel Core 2 DUO SU7300 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500 GB storage, a full-sized keyboard and a 9-hour battery. Specs-wise, it’s pretty good. It also comes with a lot of Barbie-related stuff such as the Barbie logo on the lid, screen saver, and desktop icons. It comes in black or pink. I’m not a big fan of pink netbooks since pink isn’t one of my preferred netbook colors, but the black looks nice.

samsungbarbie sg


I certainly think that there is a market for cute computers, especially those that are aimed at kids. We have seen netbooks before that were themed with Nickelodeon or Disney characters.
Samsung has a new netbook that seems to be aimed at younger girls, but sports hardware making it more appropriate for the adult user.

It’s oh-so-very manly

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New Samsung N220 Netbook from Netbook.ie - 11 March 2010

An electrical outlet is the last thing you’ll be looking for when you’re out and about with the SAMSUNG N220. With an unbelievable up to 12 hours* of battery life at your disposal, you can get more done in more places than you ever thought imaginable. And you’ll look good doing it. Its unique crystal finish, distinctive pattern and a casing engineered to reduce the risks of scratches and fingerprints make sure it’s easy on the eyes and easy to keep that way. Factor in its LED anti-reflective display and “Instant On” option, and the SAMSUNG N220 is as user-friendly as it is powerful. *Battery life based on BatteryMark test scores that will vary based on configuration.

Genuine Windows® 7 Starter

Genuine Windows® 7 Starter
 

 

You’ll love Windows® 7 because it makes the things you do with your PC every day faster and easier—so there are fewer steps between you and what you want to do.
Simplifies everyday tasks: Easier navigation, simpler home networking, improved device capabilities, and faster Web browsing with Windows® Internet Explorer® 8 makes your life easier, and computing experience more fun.
Safeguard Your Work: Your important data faces serious threats – from data loss and spyware, to outright theft of information. Windows® 7 strong security foundation and features helps protect users and systems against malware and other forms of security threats.
Makes new things possible: Windows 7 provides more choices for how you can interact with your PC, making it easier for you to enjoy photos, music, and video from almost anywhere.

Practically non-stop performance for your non-stop life

Practically non-stop performance for your non-stop life
On a long flight or short on outlets? No problem. Now you can break free from your power cord with the N220. A 6 cell battery, delivers up to 12 hours* of power to keep you running all day long. That means you can keep sending emails and uploading photos without worrying about being shut down. And an energy efficient LED display and optimized processing technology adds to its long-lasting performance. Go anywhere and do anything – with the N220, there’s always less downtime.
*Battery life based on BatteryMark test scores that will vary based on configuration.

Get online almost anywhere

Get online almost anywhere
The N220 incorporates advanced communications technologies, including and 802.11bgn wireless and 3G modem (HSPA* and WiMAX*), to provide high-speed access to the Internet and your data anytime and anywhere.
*Factory option

A keyboard that makes typing comfortable

A keyboard that makes typing comfortable
Unlike conventional keyboards, the ergonomic SAMSUNG N220 boasts a low profile island design which makes typing easy and comfortable. Its strategically placed keys ensure that you’ll experience fewer errors – and faster typing. This SAMSUNG keyboard proves there’s a lot you can accomplish—without any wrist strain.

Designed for self-expression and big impressions

Designed for self-expression and big impressions
Designed to let you express yourself even when you’re not logged on, the N220’s ultra-stylish, fashion-forward looks accentuate your on-the-go lifestyle. Not only is it available in both green and red, it boasts a chrome decoration on its sideline. The N220’s unique, sophisticated crystal finish and refined, distinctive pattern enhances its uncommonly cool appearance. Designed so you stand out. Even when you’re sitting down.

Crafted for style and safety

Crafted for style and safety
Because a life on the go can often trip you up, the SAMSUNG N220 was crafted to not let you down. In fact, its high quality craftsmanship extends as much to its exterior as to its high performance inner workings. Built to withstand bumps and knocks, the N220 comes with a robust, durable casing designed to keep its contents safe and sound as well as reduce the risk of scratches and fingerprints. And its ergonomic, stylish design makes it as coolly eye-catching as it is reliable.

Perfect for watching movies in bright daylight

Perfect for watching movies in bright daylight
What good are sharp details and bold colours if you can’t see them? The SAMSUNG N220 boasts a 10.1” anti-reflective display which reduces bothersome light reflections. You’ll see movies and images that are clear and picture perfect, even in bright light. And you’ll get more mobility with an LED display that uses less power. The SAMSUNG N220 netbook—a reflection of your impeccable taste.

“Instant On” gets you on. Faster

“Instant On” gets you on. Faster
Enjoy immediate access to the Internet without waiting for Windows to boot. Just turn the N220 on, and when the booting screen appears, press the F6 key to cue the HyperSpace software. It’s that easy. Reading email, surfing the web, listening to music, watching videos, updating your Facebook status – whatever – you can do it all instantly, thanks to HyperSpace’s “InstantOn.” Now you can get more done in less time.
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