I recently bought a new mini-laptop after my old one (Asus EEE PC 701 4G) started to show symptoms of old age. Also, I’ve been using that netbook more and more and haven’t touched my desktop PC in ages so an upgrade in both screen size and cpu power was quite welcome.
I decided to buy the Samsing NP-X125-JA02NL (page in dutch) based on availability and a substantial discount (I paid 335 euro). Other candidates on my shortlist were: Acer Aspire One 521 or 721, Asus EEE PC 1015PN or 1015T and the Samsung NF310. Each had their own pros and cons.
The most important specifications of the Samsung NP-X125-JA02NL:
- Based on AMD Nile platform
- CPU: AMD Athlon II Neo K125 (1.70 GHz)
- GPU: ATI Radeon HD 4225 (using a configurable amount of shared memory)
- RAM: 2GB DDR3 (2×1GB SODIMM, user replaceable)
- Harddisk: 250GB S-ATA (2.5”, user replaceable)
- Screen size and resolution: 11.6” at 1366x768
- Other notable hardware features: Webcam, HDMI-out, 10/100mbit ethernet, Wifi 802.11b/g/n, SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC slot
- Software: Windows 7 Home Premium, the usual vendor-installed tools (Samsung provides some very useful tools of itself and not too much bloat).
The laptop has a white matte outer shell (excellent, no fingerprints in sight!) and is glossy black on the inside. The keyboard is of the ‘chiclet’ (aka. ‘island-style’) kind, very easy to type on (then again, I’m biased as I used to work on a 7” EEEPC). However, according to my girlfriend, typing with long nails is a bit of a pain compared to her Acer Aspire One.
After turning it on for the first time I was offered some choices. Which language to use (with a note that this is a permanent choice and couldn’t be changed afterwards), computername, username/password and how large the C: and D: partitions should be and the boot time was optimized somehow (probably involves defragmentation and moving boot files together on the disk). All in all a very smooth albeit quite lengthy initial boot.
Battery life isn’t really great. The dutch model comes with a 4-cell battery which lasts for about 2 to 2.5 hours. This in contrast to the UK model which comes with a 6-cell battery that reportedly lasts a lot longer. Maybe I’ll order the 6-cell battery and see how that works out.
Switches and knobs
The “fast boot” functionality provided by Samsung works great. It appears to be a hybrid standby / hibernate solution where the standby is in an extremely low powermode (and different from a regular standby which the subnotebook also supports). Putting it to sleep takes a couple of seconds, resuming is almost instant assuming you didn’t run out of power. If you do run out of power, windows will restore its state from disk. Enabling this does limit your power management options though: you can for example no longer decide what action happens when you close the lid. Everything will put the machine to sleep.
There’s a “Chargeable USB” application that allows you to keep one USB port powered up when the computer is in standby or turned off so you can still charge your phone or power other USB devices. Note however that this only works if you put the machine in stand by (or turn it off) with the USB device attached. USB devices won’t get any power when attached to the laptop if it’s turned off or asleep. Also, once the USB device is removed the USB port powers down, reconnecting the device won’t work.
Another application is the “Battery Life Extender”. It lets you decide to what level your battery will be charged. If you use the laptop on battery a lot, you can let it charge to 100%. However, if you usually run it on AC, keeping the battery level at 100% constantly reduces the lifespan of the battery. By using this tool you can set the maximum charge level to 80% thus preserving the battery life.
Lastly, there’s the “silent mode” configuration tool, accessible through a hotkey. This lets you switch between three profiles: silent mode (the CPU is scaled down to minimize the amount of time the fan is on), normal mode and performance mode (basically, an overlock mode).
Additional Samsung software
Note: I’ll add information about what all this software does at a later time.
- Easy Content Share
- Easy Display Manger
- Easy File Share
- Easy Network Manager
- Easy Resolution Manager
- Easy SpeedUp Manager
- Samsung Support Center
- Samsung Update Plus
- Samsung Recovery Solution 4
- Third party software
Also pre-installed are Adobe Reader, a couple of games by Oberon Media, a trial version of Norton Online Backup and McAfee Antivirus.
Except for the batterly life of the dutch model: Very decent laptop for competitive price.