If you really don’t need to do more than send the odd email and browse the web while you’re on the move, and perhaps open an Office document from time to time, then the Samsung NC110-AM4UK could be the ideal option for you.
Don’t be put off by the low WorldBench 6 score of 36 – the Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM aren’t designed to handle many of the tasks in our productivity tests, so a low score is to be expected. Other netbooks we’ve looked at in the past posted similar scores. Battery life is a much bigger concern for a netbook and with a time of more than seven-and-a-half hours in the MobileMark 2007 tests the Samsung is more than a match for its bulkier, more powerful competitors.
One feature of the NC110 that we were really impressed by was the screen. It might not offer the richest colours, but it has a matt rather than glossy finish, meaning that reflections won’t be a problem even in bright conditions.
But, inevitably, you will need to be prepared to make compromises if you opt for a netbook. There’s no optical drive, for a start, and playing games isn’t a realistic option. Storage space is limited – the Samsung comes with a 250GB hard disk – but you will find decent connectivity options, with Bluetooth 3.0 support, three USB 2.0 ports and VGA out for connecting to monitors or TV sets.
And while the Samsung is lightweight and low cost, the Lenovo IdeaPad costs just £100 more and has a vastly superior feature set than the NC110 lacks, all while weighing a mere 300g more. So if you want something that can occasionally double up as a desktop replacement as well as a portable entertainment centre, the Lenovo is a better deal if you’re prepared to stump up the extra.