The Samsung N110 is a gentle revision to the company's successful Samsung NC10 netbook, with record-breaking longevity. REVISED, 17 JULY 2009.
Samsung has proved itself an accomplished maker of laptops, and when it set out to make a netbook, it came up trumps with the NC10. It didn't really bring anything new to what was already available; but it did build on other people's designs and executed them in a high-quality final product.
In the Samsung N110, little has changed from that winning formula first seen on the Samsung NC10. Or for that matter, the MSI Wind, which Samsung's latest now even more closely resembles; physically at least. Where the NC10 had a slightly square-cornered look about it, Samsung has softened the lines subtly, giving the N110 a closer approximation to MSI's pioneering netbook.
The spec list for all three netbooks are near carbon-copies: 10in screen, Intel Atom N270, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drive, three USB... and yet, once again Samsung has just refined the overall build to lift the Samsung N110 above the crowd.
Apart from the rounding of corners and stripping away of tacky chrome-effect side trim, the Samsung N110 adds a gloss-finish screen in place of the respectable matt version on the NC10. While this is a usually step backward for any laptop, the item fitted to this netbook is not as annoyingly reflective as some.
About 70g of weight has been lost along the way, although to look at the spec list it's hard to see where. The Samsung N110 has the same hard disk, same USB complement, 802.11b/g wireless card, ethernet and SD card slot. And yet somehow, the new Samsung N110 also manages to last longer on battery.
When testing the NC10 we measured 464 mins life - over 7.5 hours - and were suitably impressed. And the Samsung N110? A netbook record-breaking 595 mins; just five minutes short of ten long hours.
In build quality, the Samsung N110 shines with its excellent firm keyboard, precision-tracking touchpad and good positive-clicking buttons. There's also some useful software additions that make Windows XP look less antediluvian, such as a translucent graphical screen overlay when adjusting screen brightness and speaker volume.
And sound quality is another area where the Samsung N110 excels, as it sidesteps the squawky tinniness of the MSI Wind, with smoother sound and higher sound levels possible.