Samsung N110 review

Price when reviewed

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.

Different strokes

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.

it_photo_28008The 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.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions261 x 186 x 37mm (WDH)

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N270
RAM capacity1.00GB
Memory typeDDR2

Screen and video

Screen size10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,024
Resolution screen vertical600
Resolution1024 x 600
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 950
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity145GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportno
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3MP
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use545
Battery life, heavy use139
Overall application benchmark score0.41
Office application benchmark score0.49
2D graphics application benchmark score0.33
Encoding application benchmark score0.38
Multitasking application benchmark score0.42

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows XP Home
OS familyWindows XP

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