Samsung NC110 Review

What We Think

The Samsung NC110 is a lovely looking netbook, that’s the perfect spiritual successor to the original portable computers. It’s cheap, it’s light and it also has great battery life.

Introduction

The netbook has been around a long time now, and though the world has moved on significantly, the netbook hasn’t and still offers much of the spec that once made it the hero of the computer world.

Samsung’s NC110, doesn’t seem to aim to change anything, rather do all of the established stuff well. It’s aimed at those who want the ease of a keyboard with nearly the portability of a tablet for browsing and other simple tasks. Priced at around ¬£250, it’s in tablet territory, though still has plenty to say for itself.

Design

The NC110 is a mixture of good looking device and well built machine, in fact it’s probably as well built as many computers mid range machines. The model we tested was a nicely shaped two tone machine, with high quality plastics and plenty of style in an understated manner. It’s just under the 1.2kg mark making it heavier than some other netbooks, though at around 21mm high, it’s about average.

Take into account the fact it’s one of the cheapest netbooks around and you can do nothing but be impressed. The inside fascia of the NC110 is no different to the lid and the attractive white chiclet keyboard is a well laid out balanced one, with well spaced keys with a nice satisfying throw – making it ideal for a quick bout of word processing on the go.

Its touch pad is also an attractive feat and is responsive, nicely sized and has two nice buttons at its bottom. In fact when we compare it to the Samsung NS310 we recently reviewed, it really puts things in context and is a far nicer to use machine, though we do slightly favour the other Samsung’s screen.

Screen

The display is the same 1024x600p size display as the NS310, typical notebook size and is a matte screen, meaning there is very limited reflection, a good thing for outdoor work. Frankly, it’s too small for comfortable browsing and there is a lot of scrolling involved. It’s also a little too low of resolution of enjoyable browsing and isn’t as bright as the NS310’s display.

However, it gets the job done and is fine for what it’s intended. Samsung has added a ¬†webcam which is quite decent and the device has a set of speakers, though it’s a long way from the IMAX. It’s nothing overly impressive but just like the chip it gets the job done.

Performance

The Sammy, like most others, comes with an Intel Atom chip. In its case it gets the N550 chip a dual core chip with 1GB of RAM and Intel GMA Integrated Graphics. This is fine if you’re looking for something to do a little couch surfing on, and a little bit of word processing, but anything else will tax it to a halt. Samsung provide you with 250GB of a HDD to use, which is plenty of space. Low resolution Internet video is more than within reach, however avoid HD, or you’ll have issues.

Samsung has added a number of software extras to the NC110, which are essentially a mixed bag and provide some use, and some irritation through constantly popping up. The StartUp Performance app does have its uses, but others are just needlessly added and annoy.

Connectivity is provided by 3 USBs, a VGA, card reader and LAN Port, there’s no HDMI, but with an Intel Atom chip at the helm, that may be for the best. You’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy the NC110 as the battery life is great considering the size of the machine. Our worst case scenario Battery Eater 05 test saw it manage a whopping 4hrs and 43 seconds before it died and you’ll easily push 8+ hours under regular use – Samsung claim 10.5 and over.

Our Verdict

Samsung have impressed with the well built, NC110. It’s a strong, attractive device, with some nice features and as netbooks go is among the best. The NC110 is the spiritual successor to the original great value netbook and even today it has its merits.

Though, the tablet world is king, the NC110 proves that for some, the netbook still may have a place for those who want a simple, small configuration with a keyboard for, on the move.

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