Samsung N110 review
Superb build quality, battery life and usability - quite simply the best netbook around.
Review Date: 13 May 2009
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £304 (£350 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Samsung's NC10 was the netbook that finally got it right. Great battery life, a comfy keyboard and, best of all, looks that didn't require you to hang your head in shame every time you plucked it from your bag. It wasn't perfect though, and after a few months of toil in Samsung's R&D labs it has re-emerged in the form of the new and improved N110.
Take one long, hard look at the N110 and you'll notice a few differences right from the off. The chrome-effect trim reaching around the NC10's edge is the first to go, making way for a more subtle, curvy figure highlighted by a maroon red stripe. It might not sound like much, but the more rounded chassis and less eye-catching trim actually make the N110 look substantially slimmer than the NC10. It's just a trick of the light, however, as the dimensions of 261 x 186 x 37mm are in fact identical.
It has shed a few grams during its makeover, though, weighing in at 1.26kg to the NC10's 1.31kg. It feels a tad sturdier too; try as we might, we could barely get the base to twist or distort at all, and even the lid proved impressively flex-free. It might be significantly heavier than Asus' gorgeous 1008HA Seashell, but there's nary a hint of creaky plastic or undue flex anywhere to be found.
Another almost imperceptible difference between the N110 and its esteemed stablemate is the display. The familiar netbook resolution of 1,024 x 600 remains the same, but it's shrunk ever so slightly from 10.2in to 10.1in and gained a glossy finish.
In practice, the differences in image quality are fairly slight, too. The glossy finish gives a punchier image and colour reproduction seems just ever so slightly more natural on the N110. There's also no sign of the slightly mottled, grainy quality which beset the NC10's display.
General performance is typically unexciting - a score of 0.41 in our benchmarks is exactly what we'd expect - but the N110 has an ace up its sleeve. Faced with our usual light usage battery test - wireless off, screen brightness at 50% and CPU left to idle - our N110 ran dry after a gargantuan 11hrs 8mins, more than 3hrs longer than its already-impressive predecessor.
Know your strengths
Get past the slightly revamped looks and improved stamina, however, and there isn't a great deal of novelty to hold the attention. The specification is identical to that of the NC10, both inside and out. Internally, there are no surprises at all - a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor teams up with 1GB of DDR2 memory and a 160GB hard disk.
Externally, the three USB ports, card reader, 10/100 Ethernet socket, audio minijacks and VGA port are in exactly the same positions as they were on the NC10.
There's little point in making changes just for the sake of it, however, and we were relieved to see that Samsung hasn't tinkered with the 93% full-size keyboard of the NC10. The N110's keyboard is identical in every regard; the sensible layout, responsive-feeling keys and nice big Enter key are all present and correct.
The trackpad has received a welcome bit of attention; gaining a little height and a redesigned rocker button below. Unlike many of the competition, the NC10's button sat flush with the chassis: a trait which made it a little tricky to use on occasion, and especially if you're one of those used to resting your thumb on the button poised for action.
So this is the best netbook?
Thats great, but whats the point if no-one sells it. I can't find any online retailers who sell the N110.
By rdaved on 1 Nov 2009
Quite a few places selling it online and in stock.
By phodgson13 on 2 Nov 2009
- Average UK broadband speed hits 14.7Mbits/sec
- Sky and TalkTalk eye BT with York fibre
- Google to rank encrypted pages higher
- Heartbleed: the race to reissue security certificates
- Mozilla names new CEO after gay marriage uproar
- Google buys drone firm for internet by air
- Windows Phone 8.1 developer release now available
- NSA denies exploiting Heartbleed bug
- Microsoft starts shift towards universal Windows apps
- Surface mini: release date, specs and more
- 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?
- 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
- Bitcoin believers not worried by Mt. Gox disarray
- 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
- Invoices and VAT: how to set up your documents correctly