Want the benefits of a touchscreen display and a keyboard all wrapped up into a single netbook-shaped package? It looks like the Samsung NB30 is an option — if you happen to live in Italy. The company has launched a version of the semi-rugged netbook with a touchscreen display in italy, where it sells for about 20 Euros more than the same netbook with a standard screen.
Honestly, I’m not all that convinced that it makes sense to slap a touchscreen on a clamshell-style netbook or notebook. When testing the HP Mini 5102 with a touchscreen display, I found I rarely actually used the touchscreen because it was more convenient to move my fingers down from the keyboard to the touchpad than up to to the screen when I wanted to select, rotate, tap, or drag an item.
Touchscreens make a lot more sense on tablet-style devices that you can hold in one hand and navigate with the other — like the Apple iPad or Asus Eee PC T101MT convertible tablet which has a display that you can rotate 180 degrees and fold down over the keyboard for use in slate mode.
The touchscreen version of the Samsung NB30 is available for about 399 Euros ($543) in Italy. It has a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel touchscreen display and Windows 7 Starter Edition — which means you won’t get the multitouch features available in Windows 7 Home Premium such as a simulated right-click button and pinch to zoom unless you upgrade the OS.
The Samsung NB30 also has a spill resistant keyoard, a 6 cell battery, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 2.1.
Update: The folks at GeekNews in Germany also managed to get their hands on a review unit. The verdict? The multitouch display is reportedly pretty responsive and the battery is good for about 7 hours. They weren’t that impressed with the touchpad buttons or the screen brightness though.