By way of satisfying idle curiosity we booted Ubuntu 9.04 from a USB Live stick just to see what was what and can report that everything seemed to work out of the box with the exception of the built-in microphone, which simply refused to play ball no matter what we did. We still haven't managed to overcome the exact same problem with a 9.04 instal on a Dell Mini 10v, so we are beginning to suspect it’s a problem deep down in the bowels of the latest Ubuntu distro.
Battery life sits roughly in the middle of the 6-cell models we've tested
Like the N120, the 110 comes with a 5900mAh 6 cell battery. That's 300mAh more charge than the NC10's battery can hold so we expected better performance. Running our usual test of playing a standard def H.264 video at full screen and maximum brightness using VLC with the Wi-Fi radio on and the volume turned up to max, we got 4 hours 51 minutes from a fully charged battery.
That's almost half an hour more than the NC10’s best result. With the screen brightness turned right down and Wi-Fi radio off, the best we got from the battery was 8hrs 12m, very close to the 8hrs 20m, the N120 achieved. Turning to the PCMark05 benchmarks, the CPU and Memory tests were very much on a par with both the NC10 and the N120. However, the N110 did better than both in the HDD test.
Moving on to the GIMP Gaussian Blur test the N110 turned in a time of 5.3 seconds. That's just a shade slower than the 5.0 seconds recorded by the NC10 and the 4.9 recorded by the N120, but not by enough to cause any noticeable real world differences between the three machines. Running 3DMark we came up with a score of 88, which is one of the better performances we have seen from an Atom powered machine, shading both the N120 and Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell.
As you would expect from a PC with Intel's GMA 950 integrated graphics core, the N110 struggled to play HD files with H.264 encoding, even in-window. Still, like the N120, it proved capable of handling HD AVI files at full screen.
Codec crunch: stable H.264 playback is a typical netbook hurdle
As with previous Samsung netbooks, the N110 thoroughly impressed us with its combination of silent and cool running. The only way to tell if the fan is working is, literally, to hold the vent grill next to your ear.
I recommend another netbook keyboard
I recently got a MSI Wind U100+ , the keyboard touch is better than most laptops I've had a go on!! it is very firm, feels like I'm typing on a Thinkpad (only difference is the much smaller keys of course). If you are looking for a netbook with a nice keyboard, take a look at this one too.
Re Albert and Jerome0
I'm agree with you - there's no way that a netbook should be £350 as that's putting it firmly into cheap laptop territory.
Besides, if you got an netbook for about £190, then it's only about £70 to add a high capacity battery. So that's £90 less for something comparable, but with a 1" smaller screen (big deal!). Heck even if I go for a fancy 10" version the difference is still about £50 - so that Samsung is over-priced imho!
Re: Jerome0 - I too bought an AAO, (but mine cost more than £200 - darn it!), and if the battery life is the main drawback then I'd seriously recommend the 6cell battery. Okay it's another £70 and it does stick out so much that using the supplied sleeve case is impossible, on the other hand it raises the machine up nicely for typing; isn't that much extra weight; and I get about four hours from a full battery in normal Ubuntu use (and the supplied 3cell makes a nice spare).
Hopefully the manufacturers will over estimate the number of netbooks being bought for Christmas and hence there'll be some reasonably priced units in the New Year sales.
Bog standard features? Check!
Crappy intel chipset? Check!
Less than adequate screen resolution? Check!
Microsoft Tax? Check!
3G modem non existent? Check!
Stupidly overblown price? Check!
Yep, it's a 2009 netbook alright.
Microsoft and intel can go and get stuffed.
I can't wait for the ARMbooks to arrive.
Don't throw stones until you've used it
Unlike some of the other posters here who complain about the glossy screen and the cost of this unit, I would like to offer a perspective from someone who actually owns and uses one.
I purchased mine from Provantage for US$378 (£233 with current exchange rates) and couldn't be happier with it. I do not have problems with glare, and have used it indoors and outside, in bright light and dim. The battery life is great, and after a full day I still have plenty of charge left.
I have other laptops that I use for heavy computing. My primary use for this unit is for VPN'ing into my office and using RDP for remote maintenance my servers, with email and research being a secondary use. Small and cheap enough that I can leave it in the map pouch in the seat of my truck without worrying about it, and powerful enough to get the job done.
The keyboard on this unit was a huge selling point for me. You don't realize how hard it is to find a netbook with a real keyboard, that puts keys like the / and the ? in the right place, until you actually start looking. The 6 to 8+ hours of battery life that I get out of it is great, and that is with brightness turned up and running a vpn over the wifi. I spent $20 on a car adapter for it, but I've never had the need to use it, even when sitting in the truck tethered to my phone via bluetooth to get out to the internet.
I'm not a big fan of ANY glidepads, so I also toss a small bluetooth mouse in the bag that I dig out if I'm using it for more than a few minutes. I also upgraded the ram (US$32 for 2 gig, there is only one sodimm slot) because (1) is IS running windows and (2) for $32, why not?
Quite honestly, now that I have it I would even admit that I would have even paid more for it.
At first I was planning on upgrading the HD to an SSD, but now that I have it, I've found the HD to be robust enough. If it fails... well, then I'll get the SSD.
Re: What would move the form factor forward
"Netbooks need higher screen resolution. 1024x600 is serviceable but higher rez screens as standard for the platform would be very nice. I've read that Intel and/or M$ pressure the netbook makers to not exceed 1024x600 - is this true?"
More than likely.
Component cost is a factor too - you can get 10" displays with higher resolutions but they're still quite expensive compared to the more bog-standard 1024x600/768/whatever displays. For me, 1024x768 on a 10" screen is ideal, 1024x600 is a minor pain although since my netbook isn't my 'main' machine I can live with it for occasional use.