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LG X110 Netbook
LG's 10in netbook is in a unique position. Not because it offers anything fundamentally different from other netbooks, but because it's the only mobile PC offering the company has in the UK. So with so much riding on its shoulders, will the X110 measure up?
First impressions are certainly positive. The X110 is based on the MSI Wind, but is far more than a simple rebadge like the Advent 4211. The entire chassis, including the keyboard and touchpad, have received a major overhaul and it's all for the better. Furthermore, its overall shape is now less curved and sleeker, and the plastics used feel slightly stronger. Unlike the logos on the Wind and Advent, the LG one is modestly positioned on the corner of the lid.
Another change is a small 'lip' on the lid's top edge that helps make the netbook easier to open up, revealing the re-styled interior. The power button now has a blue LED surround rather than the star-shape of its predecessors, and the curve has gone from the palm-rest, which is now even. The power and battery indicators have also been enlarged so that they're visible when the lid is closed, which is a useful touch.
As for the colour scheme, we're not overly enthusiastic about the white and off-silver 'champagne' combination. Thankfully, other options are available including black, white and pink. Despite sporting a high-gloss finish on the outside, our model's white exterior means fingerprints are only visible from certain angles - a good thing since no cleaning cloth is provided.
Aside from its shape, the biggest and most welcome physical change with the X110 concerns the keyboard. The Wind's implementation was good but its big annoyance was the Fn key residing to the outside of the Ctrl key. LG has remedied this, and has also moved down the cursor keys to not only allow a full-size right-shift key, but also dedicated Home and End keys to either side of the up-cursor. Shortcuts to volume and brightness have also been made more accessible as they are now secondary functions of the cursor keys.
Feedback is a bit on the light side but pleasant nonetheless, with a well-shaped key-surface. All of the above makes it one of the best netbook keyboards on the market, superior in layout if not in feedback to that of the Samsung NC10, though the excellent example on the HP Mini remains unmatched.
Likewise, the large touchpad is one of the better examples on the market. Design-wise it's perfectly integrated, featuring the exact same finish as the rest of the keyboard surround. The surface is just the right balance between textured and smooth, and the pad is incredibly sensitive. Both buttons are merged into a single bar, but unlike many such implementations it works perfectly as each end is easy to press and response is crisp.