The N110 is a great example of a netbook: a solid machine that that strikes a good balance between portability and usability. But it comes in at the top end of the netbook price range.
Solid build; excellent keyboard; good battery life.
Expensive; no 802.11n support; no stand out features.
The recent deluge of netbooks all with nearly identical specifications, layouts and features can make it difficult to tell them apart, and the biggest differentiating factor is often battery life and price.
Samsung did a very good job of setting itself apart from the others when it released the NC10, a netbook that had a superb keyboard and one of the best battery lives at the time. The company hopes to build on that success with the N110.
The most obvious change from the NC10 is the chassis, which still has a very traditional look, but with softer curves, a glossy black lid and a subtle dark red stripe around the base. However, although it looks good, the glossy lid is a magnet for fingerprints and smudges.
Although some netbook makers have started focusing on slimmer designs, bigger screens or other novelty features, the N110 fits the classic netbook mould. The build is solid and feels like it won't crumble if it takes a few knocks.
Including the power adaptor, the entire unit weighs in at pretty much bang on 1.3Kg so, although there are lighter netbooks around, it won't break your back carrying it about.
The N110 sports the increasingly common 10.3in screen. The display is nothing exceptional, but is certainly good enough for most purposes. It has a good brightness range to help keep the battery from being drained too quickly, but with the ability to get bright enough to handle outdoor situations.
Samsung has done a good job of making sure the keyboard is well laid out with a tactile response to key presses, so typing at speed is not a problem. This particular example is a traditional bevelled key design, and is 93 per cent of the size of a regular keyboard, so even those with big fingers should be able to manage.
Similarly, the trackpad is big and very responsive and the mouse buttons are easy to get to and have a good solid click to them.
As well as a memory card reader and Gigabit LAN port, Samsung has included three USB ports on the N110 - two on the left and one on the right - which is a trick many netbook makers miss. This means that, if you to connect several devices, such as an external mouse, a 3G dongle and a USB thumb drive, you don't need to swap peripherals around or resort to a USB hub.