Samsung's New Notebooks Shake It Up

Samsung is announcing its re-entry, after more than a decade, into the U.S. notebook PC market. In taking on the likes of Dell, HP, Apple, Toshiba and others, Samsung is jumping into a market that has seen broad consolidation over the past five years -- but with almost a quarter of the market still fragmented among smaller notebook vendors.

Based on Intel's Atom processor (at 1.6 GHz), the NC 10 comes in both white and black. With a 160 GB hard drive, a GB of memory and a 10.2 inch screen and weighing 2.8 pounds, the NC10 carries specifications that would place it a notch above netbooks -- which, by and large, have displays under 10 inches and less than 10 GB of storage. Samsung will price the NC10, which does not have an optical drive, at $499 in either color.

Samsung's Q Series ships with a 13.3-inch screen and Windows Vista Business, and is priced at $1,199. This series would lend itself to "cross-over" usage -- providing both business use and personal use functions. The hard drive in the Q310-34G, 250 GB, is larger than many corporations would deploy in a secure environment but it does have a DVD-RW dual layer drive, HD Audio and Express Card 34 expansion card built in.

The X360-34P represents the high end of Samsung's product lineup, with a list price of $2,499. At 2.8 pounds, though, the system remains nice for mobility. Built with an Intel Core 2 Duo U9400 at 1.4 GHz, 3 GB of RAM (or a maximum of 4 GB). The X360-34P is built with a 128 GB Solid State Drive for storage, the first system in the new Samsung lineup with an SSD instead of a hard disk drive for storage.

Built with an NVIDIA GeForce 9200M GS for enhanced video and graphics, the X460 provides an opportunity to deliver a better multi-media or low-end, mobile gaming system for pro-sumer, retail or even some SMB scenarios. The 14.1-inch, backlit LED display should also provide nice viewing in a 4-pound system that runs a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7350.

At a weight of more than five pounds, the P460 carries the most heft of any of the new Samsung notebooks. It also carries the largest hard drive in the lineup at 320 GB. The P460-44G, with a 14.1-inch display and an Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 processor at 2.0 GHz, is list-priced at $1.199.

With a 15.4-inch display, this is a system that is aimed at providing a nice visual experience for multi-media and gaming. The P560-54P is built with the highest-performing Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor in the Samsung lineup, with clockspeed of 2.26 GHz. It's set for a $1,499 list price.

The Samsung R610 is built with a 16-inch display, providing more viewing real estate than any other notebook in the new lineup. The R610 should be considered a retail gaming unit with a glossy, red finish and full keyboard -- complete with a number pad on the right. This could well be the flashiest notebook in the set, and is list-priced at $1,049.