LG X110 review
With built-in 3G and impressive build quality, the X110 is well worth considering if you want a constant connection - just note the poor out-of-box battery life.
Review Date: 9 Dec 2008
Reviewed By: Tim Danton
Price when reviewed: (£313 inc VAT)
When Asus launched its first netbook back in the autumn of 2007, it could hardly have imagined just how many other companies would be joining the party. Not just all the laptop makers, but Epson in Japan, UK specialists like PC Nextday and Research Machines, and now LG Electronics - the last keyboard-based device we saw from the company was the Phenom way back in 1998.
It hasn't decided to build the whole machine itself. Instead, this is a rejigged and restyled version of MSI's popular Wind chassis. This shouldn't be seen as a negative as LG has made an excellent job of it, with a solid wristrest, well-protected screen and a stylish finish. You can even, if you wish, choose this eye-catching pink version, but we suspect most people will opt for black or white.
At first glance it may seem like the specifications are nothing special, with the netbook bread-and-butter components of Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM, 802.11bg WLAN and - in our review sample's case - a 160GB hard disk.
Spot the difference
But the difference is that it has included integrated 3G, with an Ericsson F3507g mobile broadband module promising support for up to 7.2Mbits/sec. Connecting via 3G wasn't quite as easy as we would have liked. LG uses Ericsson's Wireless Manager, which can't match dedicated mobile broadband software, such as Vodafone's Mobile Connect, for sophistication. For instance, there's no way to tell how much data you've used and, when we had a problem connecting, there was no easy way to troubleshoot it.
Worse still, the bundled IP Operator software is embarrassing. Bizarrely, it doesn't even support WPA, just the much-maligned WEP, so the first thing you should do is uninstall it and let Windows handle your network connection.
This may seem picky, but we had high expectations from LG. By now, it's a well-established consumer brand, so we imagined ease of use would be a priority. Sadly, we'd be inclined to delete almost all the pre-loaded software. The sole exceptions are CyberLink's YouCam - which lets you shoot video up to 320 x 240 resolution with the device's webcam - and PowerDVD 5. That said, the latter isn't terrifically useful unless you plug in an external DVD drive.
Aside from the styling, LG doesn't alter much of the recipe that has made MSI's Wind such a success. The keyboard is among the best you'll find on a netbook, and touch typists should find it possible to reach quite a pace. The only irritation is that the touchpad, placed very close to the spacebar, is easy to hit with an errant thumb, which can move the cursor when you don't want it to.
The screen is a mixed blessing. Measuring 10in diagonally, it's home to a netbook's typical 1,024 x 600 pixels, and its brightness counteracts the slightly mottled appearance. As with the Wind, this is only obvious when you're using an evenly coloured background - such as the white background of Microsoft Word - and you'll struggle to notice it when web browsing.
A far bigger disappointment was the X110's battery life, which measured a measly 2hrs 10mins under light use. Before you dismiss the X110 entirely, though, we should add a couple of caveats. For a start, you can already buy extended batteries, with a 7,200mAh unit costing £45 exc VAT. Also, our benchmarks suggest you'll obtain over one-and-a-half hours' life even if you push the processor at full belt. So while it's arguably a mistake not to include a larger battery as standard, it isn't fatal.
- Microsoft slashes custom XP support price
- Amazon Phone: does anyone want a 3D handset?
- Virgin email fiasco hits thousands of users
- Chrome Remote Desktop now available on Android
- Google posts "average quarter" with slow growth
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- BBC iPlayer lets Android devices download shows
- Google's Project Ara modular phone arrives in January
- Hackers harvest LaCie card data for a full year
- Ubuntu LTS Server 14.04 extends cloud support
- Windows 8.1 Update: an abject surrender
- The insane economics of Sky Now TV
- No such thing as a free app... so pay up if you want quality
- Time to outlaw crapware-laden installers
- Windows Phone 8.1 video: hands-on
- Office for iPad: key information
- Why every PC buyer owes Richard Durkin a debt of gratitude
- HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: 2014's big-hitters compared
- Windows XP end of life: key information
- Cut out the broadband jargon? What jargon?
- Heartbleed: what you need to know and do
- Data recovery: inside the clean room
- Best tablet PCs to buy in 2014
- How much RAM do you really need?
- News of the weird: the strangest ever tech stories
- Five hyped technologies: disruptive or not?
- Piracy's dying: why we're all going straight
- Office: should you buy it, rent it - or dump it?
- Make the most of your mobile data
- Old-school internet scams: five that just won't die
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?
- The best Android antivirus apps for 2014
- Headings vs headers: how to use both in Word
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs