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LG Netbook X110 review: LG Netbook X110

As far as we're aware, the Netbook X110 is the first laptop LG has released in the UK. Previously, it's only bothered catering for the South Korean and US markets, but the growing popularity of netbooks in this region has forced its corproate hand. Its first UK effort -- the Netbook X110, is available only with a 24-month mobile broadband contract from Phones4U. It packs all the usual features you'd expect from a machine of its ilk, but has the added bonus of an integrated 3G modem. But is this enough to help it challenge more established rivals?

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8.3

LG Netbook X110

The Good

Design; 3G modem; keyboard.

The Bad

Battery life; only available on contract.

The Bottom Line

The X110 is a very good netbook. It's comfortable to use, attractive and has the bonus of integrated 3G. However, it's only available to buy on a 24-month contract, and the fact that it has poor battery life means you won't be able to take full advantage of its wireless capabilities

Design
If there's anything wrong with the Netbook X110's physical design, we've yet to find it. The device makes a very positive first impression thanks to its gently tapering front edge and the quality of its colour finish. Ours came in a very fetching bubblegum pink, but there are also black and white versions available, both of which are worthy of your drool.

Lift the lid and you'll be greeted by the contrasting white colour scheme of the keyboard section. There's not an awful lot of clutter here -- just a set of good-sized Qwerty keys, which you'll find an absolute joy to type on. We had to sacrifice virtually none of our typing speed on this thing, so if you're looking for a netbook on which to enter lots of text, this could be a good bet. The mouse trackpad and selector buttons are a little small though, and the trackpad lacks dedicated scroll strips, which makes it tricky to scroll through documents and Web pages.

Connectivity on the X110 is par for the netbook course. LG's equipped the netbook with 3 USB ports, an SD card reader, Ethernet port, plus mic and headphone ports, most of which live on the right side. The left is home to a large vent for expelling hot air, and on the underside you'll find a set of speakers. The position of these speakers is a little questionable, since using it on your lap will likely cause your clothing to muffle the sound. More often than not, you'll probably need a set of headphones.

Features
The X110's most significant feature -- and one which isn't available in most netbooks -- is its integrated 3G modem. Every X110 purchased from Phones4U includes a dedicated SIM card, which you insert into a slot under the netbook's battery. Reconnect the battery, fire up the operating system, launch the Wireless Manager software, hit the 'connect' button and the Web is literally at your fingertips.

At the time of writing, Phones4U offers a choice of three mobile broadband packages. The fastest of these is a 7.2Mbps service provided by Vodafone, however, that service has a 3GB download cap, so if you're a heavy leecher, you might want to consider the package from 3 Mobile. This operates at just 2.8Mbps, but if high-speed downloads aren't a priority, you could benefit from a much larger 5GB download cap. The third option is a package from Orange, which has a lowly 1.8Mbps download speed and a 3GB cap.

Naturally, the X110 also comes with traditional 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, so when you've reached your download limit, you can continue surfing via your wireless home network, or at your local coffee shop. The laptop also comes with an integrated Bluetooth adaptor, which lets you connect compatible devices -- such as a mobile phone -- without cables.

The rest of the X110 is standard netbook fare. It uses a 10.1-inch 1,024x600-pixel display, has a 1.3 megapixel Web cam, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU plus 1GB of RAM, all atop an Intel 945GS chipset. One thing worth noting is the addition of a 160GB hard drive. This is of the mechanical, magnetic variety, so it's more susceptible to damage than the solid state disks found in the Eee PC range, but it offers considerably more storage than most of its rivals.

LG hasn't done anything particularly clever with the software on the X110. It ships with a copy of Windows XP Home Edition, and there is no option for a Linux version.

Performance
The X110 offers performance in line with the vast majority of other netbooks. Its Intel Atom N270 CPU scored 1447 in the PCMark 2005 benchmark, and 602 in 3DMark 2006, which is in line with devices like the MSI Wind.

The X110's battery life was quite poor. Its 2200mAh battery helped it run for 1 hour 54 minutes in our BatteryEater classic test, which pales in comparison to the 3 hours 39 minutes achieved by the latest version of the MSI Wind.

Conclusion
The X110 is a very good netbook. It's comfortable to use, attractive and has the bonus of integrated 3G. However, the fact you can only buy one on a Phones4U contract costing a minimum of £840 over 24 months means it's definitely not for everybody. If you've got the choice -- and don't mind not having 3G -- buy an MSI Wind.

Edited by Cristina Psomadakis