Samsung’s exciting new NC215S Netbook is due to launch on July 3rd in the US, Russia and Africa and what makes it a truly revolutionary portable computer is the fact that it’s clamshell lid contains a solar panel, which can charge the machine on sunlight. For every two hours of direct sunlight exposure the panel will provide you 1 hour of runtime. The primary power source of the Netbook is a standard lithium ion battery. Samsung advertises that the NC215S will offer an impressive 14-hours of total runtime, although it is not clear as to how much of that estimate is contributed to by the standard 6-cell battery and how much of it is the solar panel.

The remaining hardware specs are largely what we’ve come to expect from a sub-$400 Netbook. The 10.1-inch display provides a resolution of 1024 x 600 with a 300-nit brightness and single and dual-core Intel Atom CPU options available. Graphics processing is provided by the GMA 3150 Integrated GPU. Theres also 1GB of RAM, 250GB or 320GB of storage, the usual level of I/O with USB 2, memory card expansion, headphone and mic jacks, VGA etc. Overall the solar-powered charging feature does appear to be a bit of a gimmick on this machine. It certainly won’t provide infinite power but it may prove useful in an emergency situation when the lithium ion battery has been depleted. Having access to some free energy regardless of the charge times and shortened runtime, is still a welcome addition. Whats more considering the NC215S costs no more than a conventional Netbook of the same price (at just $399) it should prove a tempting offer for many consumers in the market for a quality portable computer.

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