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Samsung N120 Netbook - Samsung N120 Netbook

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

In terms of software, as mentioned the OS is Windows XP SP3. Though there's no Office suite, OpenOffice is free to download. McAfee is on hand for Anti-Virus, but the most useful addition is Samsung Battery Manager, which lets you fully customise various settings such as CPU speed (Maximum, Auto or Minimum), LCD brightness presets and LCD auto-dimming using an intuitive and visually attractive interface. Best of all, it lets you see just how changes to these settings should affect battery life.

Last but not least is the 5900mAh (66Wh) six-cell battery, the same capacity as found on the UK SKU of the N110. Samsung claims "up to 10.5hrs" on this, but that's a little optimistic. Still, with the screen at a perfectly usable 40 per cent brightness and Wi-Fi turned on, the N120 managed just over six hours while playing back video. This could easily be extended during less intensive usage, with wireless turned off and the screen set to minimum brightness, on which it is still legible.

This battery life is roughly in line with the N110, which while not up to the heady heights of the Asus Eee PC 1000HE is still better compared to most netbooks.

Though generally around the £380 mark, it's possible to find the N120 for under £360. This not only puts it in the same price-class Samsung's N110, but also its NC20, which houses an HD-capable 12.1in 1,280 x 800 screen in its slightly larger chassis. However, since we haven't reviewed the NC20 yet it's difficult to know how it performs. Back to the N110 then, which one you go for depends mainly on your aesthetic preferences. In its favour, the N120 offers a matte-finished lid, better speakers and a slightly larger keyboard, but also adds wider dimensions.

From a value perspective, the one to get is actually the original NC10, which despite a few minor disadvantages (including slightly shorter battery life) offers identical specifications and a similar overall experience for £60 less. If battery life is your main consideration on the other hand, the Asus 1000HE is also available for around £300.


Thanks to a wider chassis, Samsung's latest N120 netbook gives you 2.1 speakers and a slightly bigger keyboard than the company's N110, but is otherwise identical in terms of specification to both that and the original NC10. Considering it demands a considerable premium over the latter, while the NC10 is still available most people will be better served getting that for £60 less.

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Francis Phillips

June 9, 2009, 6:35 pm

There seems to be some inconsistency in the scoring in your reviews of the NC10, N110 and N120. In fact the same discrepancies appear in may reviews particulary where they are undertaken by different reviewers. In the case of these 3 machines it is very much more apparent.

In the Design category you gave the NC10 a 10, the N110 a 9 and the N120 just an 8. This is surprising given that your view of the N110 was that it was better than the NC10 albeit that some people (although not Ed) have reservations about a glossy screen.

When we come to Performance The NC10 got 9 the N110 also 9 but the N120 just 8. Why? They all have the same specification and battery life seemed much the same.

I appreciate that these machines were reviewed over a 7 month period but your conclusion at the end of the N120 review was buy the NC10 and save yourself £60. It seems to me that this machine (N120) should have scored much the same as the NC10 and N110 in all categories except value for money.

I am also a little unclear how a total score for the NC10 of 38/40 led to an overall rating of 10/10, The N110 had a total score of 34/40 giving an overall 9/10 and the N120 had a score of 31/40 giving an overall score of of 8/10. Perhaps you should move to a % score which would allow a little more finesse in the scoring as I cannot see how the NC 10 and N120 managed to differ so widely. On a % basis the N120 scored 31/40 which is 77.5% whereas the NC10 scored 38/40 which is 95% or in other words poles apart yet they are quite clearly not that far apart except in price.


June 9, 2009, 8:18 pm

Hi Francis,

Rest assured we regularly have internal debates about these sorts of issues so we certainly are aware of your concerns. Ultimately, though, scores can sometimes be relevant for only a short amount of time. So despite all three of the above netbooks still being available, the seven months between them has impacted significantly on their relative scores. In particular, if the NC10 and N110 were both to be re-judged they would probably both score 9/10 as the NC10 is a nicer design but costs a little more.

With regards the design and performance scores, I tend to agree with you.

As for the overall scores, well for a start we don't consider them as a total of all the other scores. Yes, that comes into it but ultimately it's a gut instinct - after all we consider a 9/10 a recommended so we have to think long and hard as to whether we think a product truly deserves to be recommended. In the case of the N120 we liked it a lot but would we recommend it? Probably not.


June 9, 2009, 9:46 pm

@Francis Phillips:

In the design category, the NC10 was one of the nicest-looking netbooks on the market for its time. By the time the N110 came out, there were quite a few great-looking competitors, and the N120 scores lower yet because its speakers to either side of the screen make it look a bit chunkier and slightly less classy.

As to performance, with ULV processors making their way into affordable notebooks battery life is not as uniquely impressive as it once was (http://www.trustedreviews.com/..., and now that Ion is becoming available 3D and video performance will be reaching whole new levels (http://www.trustedreviews.com/....

As to your last point, our final score is not necessarily an average of the other scores, since these only reflect specific aspects and there will usually be factors we don't even have scores for.


June 26, 2009, 6:40 am

Okay.. the 60pounds you claim you will save.. is not worth it

The N120 has better specs, better battery life, better speakers.. PLUS the most important is the keyboard.. I think it is almost a full size keyboard vs the smaller NC10 keyboard.. The only thing the NC10 has over the N120 is the matte screen.. That could be the deal breaker.. Glossy screens are horrible!!!!!!!.. I am torn between which one to buy .. very tough decision.. I might just go for the N120 for the bigger keyboard.

Thanks- Daniel


March 27, 2010, 12:16 am

Planin to buy a netbook how is this one


March 27, 2010, 11:01 am

@Rakey - just a suggestion, but reading the review should give you a pretty good idea ;)


November 6, 2010, 6:58 am

one of my friend has this laptop type, and i have to admit that i envy her lol. both of us agree this laptop has the great features, the display screen is what i love the most!

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