Samsung NC110 matte-screen netbook
Innovation, we've heard of it
The 10.1in, 1024 x 600 screen is a good one. It’s bright and neutral, and in these days of irritating, glossy panels it’s refreshing to note a matte finish, which means you can comfortably work without being distracted by what’s going on behind you or the glare of reflected light.
A slight irritation is that it doesn’t open very far: only to around 100°, which felt too shallow on the desks I tried it on. Being able to tilt it back further would allow for more comfortable viewing.
The lids come in many colours
It's otherwise a comfortable laptop. The price might be bargain basement but there’s a solid feel to the base, which in turn makes the small chiclet keyboard pleasant for rattling out emails. The small keys take a little getting used to, but they’re raised prominently from the base and you’ll forget about them after a few hours.
Elsewhere, Samsung keeps life simple, which is fair enough on such a cheap machine. Gigabit Ethernet is eschewed in favour of a mere 10/100Mb/s port, while VGA gets the nod over an arguably more useful digital standards such as DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort. There’s a handy SD card slot in the front of the machine, but no hardware switch for turning wireless on and off.
It’s easy to see the NC110 as indicative of the netbook’s path over the next few years. The amount of power on tap has slowly increased, the price has gently declined, but neither is really moving fast enough, to say nothing of the dire lack of innovation.
The NC110’s battery is a definite high-point, and for those who simply want an all-day machine that will handle gentle tasks reasonably well, it’s a decent deal, particularly at its current street price of £280. But would it kill netbook designers to come up with something inspired? ®
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