At around £380, an N120 will set you back in the region of £70 more than a NC10 so is it worth the extra? It's a tough call. Yes, the battery life is a little longer, the keyboard bigger and the sound better. That being said, for the extra cash we'd have liked Samsung to equip the N120 with the faster N280 Atom CPU and - since it's pitched as a media machine - a slightly more beefy GPU.
The fly in the N120's ointment isn't a Samsung, though, it's Asus' Eee PC 1000HE. For around £330, it comes with a faster chip, longer battery life and 802.11n Wi-Fi, though it's also heavier and the keyboard isn't a match for the N120's.
It goes without saying that we would also like to see the N120 available with an SSD and Linux, which would make it both more robust and cheaper. But we are not holding our breath.
Also available in black
With so many netbooks now on the market - and so many different interpretations of the genre - saying that any particular one is the best has become a little pointless. That's not going to stop us saying the the N120 is certainly one of the best, though. The excellent keyboard and screen make it a very easy machine to live with and use, while the 2.1 speaker system does actually live up to Samsung's claim that this is a media optimised machine. Such a shame then that there are so many better-value offerings to match it. ®
More Netbook Reviews...
Acer Aspire One D250
Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell
MSI Wind U115 Hybrid
as someone who has dropped a running SSD Acer Aspire 1 down a flight of stairs I can see where El Reg is coming from. Netbooks are first and foremost portable, and portable means having to withstands knocks, bangs and drops. I wouldn't treat a £370 Samsung with the same disregard as a £200 AA1, and that's exactly why I bought the AA1. If I want to carry around something that I have to treat with kid gloves I'll my cart MacBook around with me. More reason I suspect to start calling machines like the NC10 and N120 "mini-laptops" and machines like the AA1 and Dell Mini 10v - btw, can we get a review of this soon? - "netbooks".
Fragile disc? + performance
Huh? What you talking about? Nothing wrong with the NC10 disc. Sure it's a disc and not an SSD, but unless you're going to be playing Frisbee with the thing it's perfectly fine.
Piro - Have you actually tried an Atom based PC?
Sure they're not gaming rigs, but hell, my NC10 is running Windows XP whilst playing 720p HD material, streamed over WiFi and upscaled to my 1080p telly perfectly smooth all with software codecs!! (and actually it does play many older games quite nicely). Hardly underpowered in performance terms for the job it's designed for, but it is low powered in wattage terms. This is why Atom processors are in my opinion going to be ideal for low powered, quiet HD HTPCs.
Sure £300 to £400 can get you a decent spec PC (as long as Apple's name isn't on it). Fine, in a netbook this size? Hmm, thought not.
Anyway, if your experience of Netbooks are those crappy "cut down linux" based budget EeePcs, then try these higher spec machines running XP, Win7 or even Ubuntu.
Depends on you expectations though. If you want top spec gaming rig in a netbook size device that's not a 300W heater and won't burn through the desk, then you're in for a disappointment. For everyone else who wants a highly portable, low powered, device for web, email, the odd document, taking to meetings, and watch a few vids on a flight, etc, these are ideal.
Not a netbook
I don't think netbooks are purely defined by size. Like others have said it's also the price.
To me a netbook is the best tech I can get with a 10" max screen for less than £200.
Anything more than £200 and I will consider a small notebook.
Still waiting to see what ION and ARM do to the netbook market when competitive products role out.
It probably performed the same in VLC and Quicktime because VLC will use the cpu-bound Quicktime decoder if it's available.
@ Jimbo 7
The Sony Vaio P has a nipple but, unfortunately, remortgaging your house so that you can afford one just isn't as easy as it used to be. ;-P