NbC: Samsung N120 Review

May 18, 2009 at 9:32 am

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Build & Design

The Samsung N120 looks very similar to the NC10, which is no bad thing in our view. The N120 has some understated design cues making it very easy on the eye. Each of the edges are tapered and when the N120 is closed, sit flush together.

Overall build quality is very good with the N120 having a solid feel. This impression is maintained once the netbook is opened with no creaking on the palm rests when applying force. We noticed no rattling of any kind unlike the Asus Eee PC 1000HE, which did rattle mainly caused by the keys on the chiclet keyboard.

However, we did notice some very slight creaking when opening and closing the lid that stemmed from the hinge. It seems that it comes from the plastics rubbing together, although as mentioned before, it has hardly noticeable.

Samsung N120

We had a white N120 to test and despite being equipped with a 6-cell battery and subwoofer, the netbook is reasonably slim-lined. The 6-cell battery provides a marginal tilt, although less so than the Asus 1000HE.

Samsung N120

The display does not sit flush with the case as is found in more premium models. To accommodate the large keyboard, the display is surrounded by a large bezel. I imagine Samsung must have toyed with the fact whether they should use the 10-inch screen and speakers combo or instead just use a larger display with thinner bezel. According to our measurements, the chassis would only have to be marginally increased to include an 11.6-inch display. Maybe something Samsung are working on for the future?

Samsung N120

All of the edges on the N120 are tapered which gives it a classy look. An indiscreet Samsung logo sits in the middle of the lid as seen in previous models. The huge embossed logo is left for the N310!

Samsung N120

The exterior comes in a satin finish. We really like this as it means an end to worrying about fingerprint smudges. The exterior glistens when exposed to light and the texture has a nice feel to it. Glossy surfaces may look more attractive, but once you’ve wiped your n’th fingerprint smudge off the nice effect wears thin. The matte finish is much more practical and keeps it looking new much better than those with glossy surfaces.

Samsung N120

This satin finish is also used on the interior around the palm rests. The keys used on the keyboard are of a slightly different finish and more matte in nature.

Samsung N120

A faux-chrome strip adorns each side of the N120 which is a nice touch.

Samsung N120

This chrome effect is similarly used on both hinges. I wonder whether the plastics used differ slightly as I did notice some slight creaking when opening and closing the lid.

Samsung N120

The lid does not go as far back as the Asus Eee PC 1000HE. I didn’t find that I needed to put it down any further than it was restricted by, but I can imagine in some instances, say when travelling, that it may become an issue.

Samsung N120

The hinges themselves felt very firm. Two hands are needed to open and close the lid which is the way the hinge should be. If it starts off too loose, then you could face problems later on.

Samsung N120

The lid sits flush with the chassis when closed and the small rubber points at the top of the lid ensure that it doesn’t ‘clap’ together whilst in transit.

Samsung N120

Overall we like the N120 design with the satin finish really winning us over. Even after constant use over the last fortnight, it still looks the same when first opened. That is not something you can say for netbooks with glossy exteriors.

Samsung N120

The Samsung N120 has a total of seven status indicators towards the left of the touchpad. Starting from the left, the first indicator is the num lock which sits next to the caps lock and scroll lock lights. The next two are the HDD access and Wi-Fi indicators. You then have the charge status light, next to the power indicator that sits to the far right.

Samsung N120

The same satin affect is used on the bezel surrounding the display along with the battery. It ensures the inside of the N120 keeps a similar look and feel throughout.

Samsung N120

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12,407 Responses to “NbC: Samsung N120 Review”

  1. Jez - Samsung Netbook Community said:
    May 18th, 2009 1:19 PM

    Feedback so far suggests that people are liking the larger N120 keyboard. Well played Samsung.

  2. Kronos said:
    May 19th, 2009 8:33 PM

    i would like a larger keyboard, but with a larger screen too.
    something like 11,6″ oder so – i think it would fit in the n120 case

    is this one a review smapleor have you bought it ? in Germany they sell the N110 only with the 58 Wh // 5.2 Ah battery, but the reviewers get the 64 Wh // 5.9Ah one.

    good review

  3. Tej said:
    May 19th, 2009 9:15 PM

    We tested a final retail version, as you would find in the shops here in the UK. As far as I know all Samsung N120 netbooks come with the 5900mAh 6-cell battery.

  4. MiniMax said:
    May 20th, 2009 11:29 AM

    In my view, literally, the most important aspects in regard to netbooks are display quality and weight/size. Because I will use it for seeing informations not writing that much, that I will do either at the office or home desktop. And unfortunately, the bulk of newer and announced netbooks is worse than before: the unending trend for glossy displays kills the usability at least for me. (plus that so few are available with built in 3G/UMTS modems.)

  5. Tej said:
    May 20th, 2009 11:51 AM

    No doubt, everyone has a different view as what are the most important netbook considerations. We should perhaps do a poll at some point to find out what comes out on top!

  6. ratonlaveur said:
    May 20th, 2009 9:45 PM

    The U.S. version has a 5200mah battery. Interesting as the U.S. N110 is 5900mah while most N110’s in Europe are 5200mah..

  7. Tej said:
    May 20th, 2009 10:47 PM

    I wasn’t aware of that, thanks for the clarification!

  8. Fanfoot said:
    June 11th, 2009 6:25 AM

    Sorry, but this is stupid.

    If they’re going to make it this big, the display should be BIGGER. A 1024 x 600 display has you scrolling around constantly, especially vertically. If you have room for it, a 720p display at 11″ or so would be MUCH BETTER.

    Sorry, but the size of a netbook matters. I take my 9″ netbook (too small) lots of places I would never take my 13″ laptop. Make it too big and its not a netbook anymore, at least to me. If you’re going to put a 10″ display in the thing, make it no bigger than necessary. You can find perfectly acceptable keyboards on 10″ netbooks (check out the HP 2140 for example), without resorting to this.

    They didn’t “squeeze” the keyboard into anything. They just cranked the bezel up until the regular keyboard fit. Not for me.

  9. ckjy said:
    June 25th, 2009 5:13 PM

    It bears mentioning that the N120 also supports charging peripherals while in sleep mode through a BIOS setting. In addition, the internal wireless card can be changed for one that supports draft 802.11n (the Intel 5300 is your best bet).

  10. Jet Sun said:
    June 25th, 2009 5:19 PM

    We did mention that two of the USB ports are chargeable on page 4, something that most other reviews missed. Also, not many mentioned the fact that the N120 has a multi-touch touchpad.

  11. ann martin said:
    September 8th, 2009 8:36 PM

    I just ordered the samsung N120. I would like to play dvd movies on it. what do you suggest I do to accomplish this.

  12. Eleutheria said:
    September 23rd, 2009 2:51 AM

    Thank you for your review of N120, it’s mostly convinced me to buy one – my local university has a sale, it’s priced at USD $371, and its battery is 9-10 hours (regional Hong Kong variation I’ve been told).

  13. Eleutheria said:
    September 23rd, 2009 2:52 AM

    PS. No sales tax

  14. n120 user said:
    January 24th, 2010 5:59 PM

    I have one of these machines that i picked up for $299. I’m fighting the kids over who gets to use it. The battery seems to alst forever, it’s fully functional, and yes, the screen size is a bit small but for the price i’m happy to deal with it. The screen size is adequate to watch video, and there are only a few websites that require careful scrolling and panning. This is a great airplane worker – small enough for the tray table, big enough to get real work done.

    I asked my office to buy two more for “floaters” that employees can grab on their way out the door for work trips.

    in short, i love it.