New Samsung netbook offers larger keyboard in 10-inch form factor

The netbook has become a bit of a phenomenon in the computer market. At the same time sales of notebook and desktop computers are slumping the growth in the netbooks market is exponential. The meteoric growth of the small low cost systems has led more than one analyst to claim the little machines are killing the notebook market; as if any of us cared that computer makers didn’t make as much off a netbook as a full notebook.

The netbook is great for many users thanks to its low price and ultra-portable stature but it has a few caveats. Two of the biggest downsides to a netbook are that they tend to be underpowered when compared to even basic notebooks and the keyboards grafted onto the Lilliputian machines are often downright tiny.

Above: Samsung N120 Netbook — More Cushion for the Pushin’

Samsung has unveiled a pair of new netbooks called the N110 and the N120. A quick glance at the specs for the machines shows them to be virtually identical to each other and use standard components for the class.

Both machines run an Intel Atom N270 processor at 1.6GHz 1GB of RAM a 160GB HDD and feature a 10.1-inch LED backlit LCD with a resolution of 1024 x 600. Those specs are exactly what you expect in a netbook. Other niceties tossed in include Bluetooth Wi-Fi a trio of USB ports 1.3MP webcam 3W stereo speakers and a memory card reader.

The two do differ in a few specifications though; the N110 has a 6-cell 5900mAh battery promising up to 9 hours of use per charge while the N120 offers a 6-cell battery with 5200mAh of power good for up to six hours of use. The two machines are slightly different in dimensions with the N110 measuring 10.27-inches (W) x 1.19-inches (H) x 7.3-inches (D) and the N120 measuring in at 10.71-inches (W) x 1.71-inches (H) x 7.4-inches (D).

The difference in measurements sounds rather minuscule but Samsung puts the extra width of the N120 to good use. The N110 has a 93% full-size keyboard and the N120 gets a 97% full-size keyboard. That should make the N120 perfect for the netbook user wanting 10-inch portability with a larger keyboard. The N110 sells for $US469 ($AU659) while the N120 sells for $US459 ($AU649) though official Australian pricing and release dates haven’t been announced yet. I think we can all agree that a larger keyboard is much more important than say having a track pad that can show YouTube videos.