Asus may have invented netbooks, but Samsung has made some of the best models to grace the market. The NF110 has plenty to live up to, then. With a price tag of £280 and slick styling, the initial signs are promising.
Netbooks have a tendency to look quite similar, but the NF110 certainly stands out from the crowd. Like the Samsung NF210, the NF110's chassis has a very distinctive, sculpted shape. The edges of the chassis on either side of the keyboard curve upwards, creating an organic, wave-like appearance.
The netbook's design also benefits from the use of three different colours on the chassis. The lid and base of the chassis are finished in black, with a red highlight around the edge, while opening up the netbook reveals a matte white screen surround and keyboard. It all adds up to a very stylish machine. The netbook is also very light and fairly compact, weighing in at a mere 1.3kg and measuring just 265 by 29 by 189mm.
There are no surprises when it comes to the range of ports on offer. There are three USB ports, along with an Ethernet socket, SD card reader and VGA output. Sadly, Samsung hasn't managed to squeeze in an HDMI socket, but, at this price point, that's not a huge surprise.
A 250GB hard drive provides a decent amount of room for storing your media files and work documents. Along with 802.11n Wi-Fi, the NF110 supports Bluetooth connectivity.
Unusually for a netbook, the NF110's speakers actually sound quite decent. They're not exactly hi-fi-quality, but they're quite loud and rival those found in many larger laptops.
The NF110 has one of the better 10.1-inch displays we've seen on a netbook. Its resolution of 1,024x600 pixels may be fairly standard, but it's finished with a matte, rather than glossy, coating, so screen reflections aren't an issue. That's something your eyes will thank you for after a long day's work. The screen is also very bright, and colours are punchy, so pictures and movies look rich and vibrant. Viewing angles are excellent too, and the backlighting is pretty uniform across the screen.
Samsung has a knack of coming up with keyboards that balance usability with the small space available on 10-inch netbooks. The NF110's keyboard uses isolated keys, rather than traditional, tapered ones. Although the keys themselves are quite small, they're well spaced out and quite responsive, so, with some practice, it's easy to touch type at speed.
The NF110 doesn't break the mould when it comes to its core specification. As with pretty much every netbook, it runs Windows 7 Starter and has just 1GB of RAM onboard. It's also based around an Intel Atom N455 processor clocked at 1.66GHz.
The NF110's overall performance is pretty good by netbook standards, racking up a score of 1,328 in the PCMark05 benchmark test. But, as with most netbooks, it struggles with tasks like playing BBC iPlayer HD streams. It's sluggish when it comes to multitasking too.
The NF110 relies on integrated Intel graphics, so it's no surprise that its graphics performance is very poor. It struggled to a score of 154 in the 3DMark06 benchmark test, so you'll only really be able to use it to play very old games.
Its battery life is first-rate, though. In the intensive Battery Eater Classic test, it managed to keep running for a marathon 5 hours. That's very impressive and puts it up there with some of the best netbooks on the market. You'll get longer battery life than that under normal usage conditions, too.
The NF110 proves that Samsung hasn't lost its touch when it comes to designing top-quality netbooks. Once again, it's managed to combine great usability and solid performance in an attractive machine. If you're on the hunt for a low-cost netbook, the NF110 is definitely worth checking out.
Edited by Charles Kloet