After my previous post on the subject, I decided that I really needed to get some hands-on time with a few netbooks in order to make a decision. Because they're all so similar in terms of hardware configuration, it really comes down to the smaller details.

So I went downtown to the J&R store here in NYC to have a look. They seem to have the widest selection of netbooks on display, compared to other retailers like Best Buy, etc. For about 20 minutes, I tried out a few different ASUS Eee PCs, the MSI Wind, two HP Mini models, the Acer Aspire One, and a white Samsung NC10. They didn't have the Dell Mini and the Lenovo S10. The choice wasn't very difficult...

I immediately realized that I simply couldn't put up with anything smaller than a 10" display, and that narrowed down the selection considerably. Next, I knew I wanted all the battery life I could get -- after all, these things are meant to be on-the-go machines, so you don't want to worry about hunting for the nearest power source all the time. The Samsung NC10 ships with a 6-cell battery;  reviews indicated that it could easily pull off 6 - 7 hours with WiFi on, and the brightness turned down a bit. And because the 6-cell is standard on the NC10, it doesn't stick out like the "extended" batteries do on most other machines.

I liked what I saw of the NC10 -- the build quality was solid, the screen appeared bright and sharp without the awful glossy coating that seems all too common these days, the keyboard had a good size and feel, and it was tiny and light. But I wasn't quite sold on the toy-like white model that J&R had in stock.

So that night, I ordered a black one from Newegg, and it arrived the next day in a shockingly small box. My initial impressions were summarized in less than 140 characters, and that opinion hasn't changed since... :)