Samsung N150 Plus Netbook

Samsung N150 Plus Netbook

Summary: It's been a while since I bought any new hardware. Yesterday I saw a Samsung N150 Plus for a price that I just couldn't pass up - 333 Swiss Francs (about £200).

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TOPICS: Linux
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It's been a while since I bought any new hardware. Yesterday I saw a Samsung N150 Plus for a price that I just couldn't pass up - 333 Swiss Francs (about £200). It looked nice, felt good, I've been looking for an Intel Atom-based netbook since my dual-Atom desktop has been out on loan for quite a while, and I just wanted to try something different anyway. So, here is a quick overview (and a major rant) of the factory-delivered software and configuration, before I start loading Linux on it.

First, it comes preloaded with Windows 7 Brain-Dead Edition (aka Starter Edition). This is my first direct exposure to Win7 BDE, and with any luck it will be my last.

Second, the netbook itself really seems very nice. The screen is bright and easy to read, and according to a pre-installed Samsung utility, it can do 1024x768 in addition to the standard 1024x600, although I haven't tried that yet. It will be interesting to see what Linux makes of the screen resolution. The keyboard has a nice feel, and is not too small or cheap-feeling. It is a very well-equipped netbook, with 3 USB ports wired and wireless networking, SD memory card slot, webcam, and Bluetooth. The CPU is an Atom 450 (watch out for companies that are still selling Atom 270 netbooks), it has 1 GB of memory, and a 250 GB disk drive. Oh, and the AC adapter (power brick) is quite small and light compared to what comes with a lot of other netbooks.

Third, the first time I turned it on it looked like it was more or less staggering to its feet under the weight of Windows 7 and the amount of extraneous garbage software that was pre-installed on it. The poor thing thrashed around for well over half an hour just doing the initial load and configuration, before it even made the first real "boot". It then spent another 15 minutes working on "speeding up boot time" (TIP for Samsung: The best way to speed up the boot time would be to get rid of all the GARBAGE!). Then I finally got to start trying it out, and poking around, which leads to...

Fourth, What a LOAD OF RUBBISH is on this poor netbook! The first and most obvious thing was the Norton Internet Security, which wanted me to activate whatever "Free Trial Period" was available. Abort that, and then uninstall it. Unfortunately that doesn't get rid of Norton Online Backup, so that has to be uninstalled separately. Then the Google Toolbar, and at least half a dozen Windows Live packages and "helpers", and Skype, including the Skype Toolbar. Then came the biggest gripe of all...

Fifth, there should be a special place in HELL reserved for whoever decided to put Phoenix FailSafe on this thing. It's bad enough to put a ton of crap on it, most of which is "limited trial" versions (FailSafe is a 30-day trial), but in this case it appears to be impossible to uninstall it. I've looked in the Control Panel / Uninstall a Program, I've looked in the Start menu, I've even looked directly in the FailSafe folder under Program Files. No uninstall. I've searched the web, and found that the only way to remove it seems to be to go to the FailSafe web site and REGISTER, and then ask to download the uninstaller. REGISTER, just to be able to uninstall it? I hope you all burn in HELL...

Last, but not least, it also came with Microsoft Office 2010 Starter preinstalled. Although this is also complete rubbish, I find it rather fitting that a brain-dead version of Windows 7 comes with a brain-dead version of Office. Nothing but Word and Excel, apparently limited in the amount of screen space it can use, and with adverts running on the screen all the time. The only good thing about it is that there is an uninstall program...

So, there you have it. A nice little netbook, which is severely handicapped by the operating system preloaded on it, and a load of crapware preloaded on that operating system. It will be interesting to see over the next few days how it performs with Linux.

jw 29/8/2010

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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4 comments
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  • Hi, is this a review or a rant about bloatware and Microsoft? You wrote a pretty long text and ended up just saying all the information that is available on every store for that Netbook.
    You should change the title of your post, and stop with the whole Micro$oft and Brain-dead Windows and all that. It just makes us Gnu Linux fans look stupid and close minded.
    Complain all you want about the problems of trial and ads-driven software, but don't go ranting about Windows just for being Windows. It's a damn good OS, even if it has its faults. You could have plugged in a USB stick with your favorite distro on your first boot, that would have solved it.
    ataide.carlos
  • This is unfortunately the way of things now, with PC vendors putting so much bloatware on the PCs that it doesn't have much of a chance to run like it should. Thankfully by putting Linux on it, it will allow you to get the full potential out of that laptop. Even in cases where you wipe the system clean and start over with installing Windows, eventually spyware and malware will make its way on to the machine, slowing it down, and also because Windows is not efficient at cleaning up temp files, etc. With Windows, if the system is running good at the start, it won't stay that way.

    It will be interesting to see how Linux runs on it so that you can run full versions of programs, rather than the crippled ones with Windows.
    Chris_Clay
  • So did the N150 run linux?
    S4truk
  • Yes, it does run Linux, and very well. I wrote at least three or four Linux-specific articles about the N150 Plus after this one, detailing the various Linux distributions that I loaded on it, and how they worked. At this moment the N150-Plus is sitting here on my desk, and it is loaded with openSuSE 11.3, Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04, Fedora 13, Mandriva 2010.1, Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 Beta, PCLinuxOS 2010.7, Linux Mint Debian Edition, Fedora 14 Beta, and Jolicloud 1.0. The fastest of those boots in about 30 seconds, compared to Windows booting in over 90 seconds. It suspends in less than 5 seconds, and resumes in less than 10. Every one of them is immeasurably more pleasant to use on that system than the Windows 7 Starter that it came with.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

    jw
    j.a.watson@...