LG X110 Review

by Reads (104,580)

by Kevin O’Brien

The X110 is a stylish new netbook from LG, which offers stylish portability and optional 3G wireless for internet access anywhere you might venture. It is offered in three color schemes, including pink, white, and black to best fit your wardrobe or personality. LG claims the wide keyboard on the X110 reduces errors and gives the user a more enjoyable typing experience. Is this netbook the new ruler of netbook market segment? Read on to find out what we think about it in our review.

Our review unit of the LG X110 features the following configuration:

  • Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor
  • 160GBGB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 1GB of DDR2 RAM (667MHz) (soldered, non-upgradable)
  • Windows XP Home operating system
  • 10″ WSVGA LED-Backlit 1024 x 600 LCD
  • Ports: 3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA monitor out, headphone/mic jack, SD card reader (SDHC compatible), Ethernet 10/100
  • Webcam (1.3 MP)
  • Battery: 11.1v 2.2Ah 3-cell battery
  • Wireless: 802.11b/g, Bluetooth
  • One-year warranty
  • Size: 261.8 x 180 x 19~31 mm
  • Weight: 1.19kg (2lbs 10.3oz), 1.35kg w/ 6 cell
  • Price as configured: $499, $529 w/ 6 cell

Build and Design

Many notebook and netbook manufacturers are switching towards very glossy designs but the LG X110 seems to take it to another level entirely. LG used automotive quality paint on the exterior shell of the notebook, top and bottom, that is incredibly smooth and soft to the touch. The black gloss is contrasted with the bright white frame, keyboard, and screen trim. The finished look is classy without standing out too much and really helps to set it apart from other netbooks. The flip side to the think glossy paint is the decreased plastic clearance on items like the battery case and rails, which lock the battery in place. Fingers were injured trying to pry the battery out leaving a screwdriver with padding to prevent scratches as the only option left.

Build quality feels great from the moment you place it on a desk surface. The rubbery feet help to stabilize the X110 on uneven surfaces, and prevent it front sliding around with your hands typing away on the keyboard. The chassis has very little flex under strong pressure, but this is fairly common with netbooks and small notebooks since internal clearances are so small that parts don’t have enough room to move against each other. The screen cover feels strong enough to resist bending form books or other heavy objects pressing against it inside a backpack. The paintjob looked pristine throughout the review (not counting the fingerprints) without showing any major scratches. 

Internal access to components for upgrading is restricted without access panels, which forces you to remove the entire back cover for any upgrades. Once opened I found out that the only component you can upgrade is the 2.5” hard drive, as the RAM is soldered in place.  For a netbook of this size it is almost unheard of to not find a slot to stick in 2GB of memory.

Display

The LG X110 includes a 10” LED backlit Hannstar display panel which looks crisp and bright. Some backlight bleed was noticed on the left side of the display on dark screens, but under normal circumstances you couldn’t see it. Colors were clear and vibrant even with the matte texture screen. Viewing angles were very good, having little color inversion as you moved to steeper angles horizontally or vertically. Some dimming was noticed, but colors stayed true. With the backlight at the highest setting sunlight readability shouldn’t be a problem and with the matte texture screen glare from the sun should be minimal.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard is easy to type on and very spacious for a netbook of this size. The key sizing and spacing is very similar to a fullsize keyboard, taking little time to adapt switching from my ThinkPad. Key action is smooth with a soft quiet click when fully pressed, which is great for stealth classroom typing. LG didn’t take the route of drastically shrinking any keys, which some manufacturers have done with the bottom row or side shift keys.

The Synaptics touchpad feels great with no lag and fast response times. Default sensitivity is set high enough that little pressure is needed to move the cursor around. The surface texture is a very smooth matte texture which matches the palmrest but still recessed so you can feel the boundaries. I would have preferred a slightly rougher texture to cope with sweaty hands but I have any problems throughout the review. The touchpad button is located beneath the touchpad and has a seesaw action for left and right clicks. This design can get annoying at times since it lifts the other button slightly when the other is pressed.

Performance

System performance with the Intel Atom platform is very reasonable for most daily activities, like web browsing, typing, chatting, listening to music, and even watching movies. Photo editing software such as GIMP run smoothly, although making edits do take slightly longer than they would on a faster notebook or desktop. Gaming is the one area that is really limited on the low power platforms, with your only options being heavily tweaked games or very old games which don’t expect tons of resources.

This particular netbook uses a standard 2.5” 5400RPM SATA hard drive for storage instead of a flash memory based SSD that some netbooks use. While the drive isn’t as shock resistant as flash memory, it has a very good transfer speed and much greater capacity. This lets you store more movies to watch on a trip, backup photos from a digital camera, or just act as a library for your MP3 player.

wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
LG X110 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 124.609 seconds
ASUS N10 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 126.047 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 1000HA (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 117.577 seconds
Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 127.172 seconds
Acer Aspire One (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz)  125.812 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 901 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 123.437 seconds
MSI Wind (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 124.656 seconds  
ASUS Eee PC 900 (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 900MHz) 203.734 seconds
HP 2133 Mini-Note (Via CV7-M ULV @ 1.6GHz) 168.697 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 4G (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 630MHz) 289.156 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 4G (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 900MHz) 200.968 seconds
Everex CloudBook (VIA C7-M ULV @ 1.2GHz) 248.705 seconds
Fujitsu U810 Tablet PC (Intel A110 @ 800MHz) 209.980 seconds
Sony VAIO VGN-G11XN/B (Core Solo U1500 @ 1.33GHz) 124.581 seconds
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.2GHz) 76.240 seconds
Dell Inspiron 2650 (Pentium 4 Mobile @ 1.6GHz) 231.714 seconds

 

PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

Notebook PCMark05 Score
LG X110 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 1,463 PCMarks
ASUS N10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 1,531 PCMarks
ASUS N10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, NVIDIA 9300M 256MB) 1,851 PCMarks
ASUS Eee PC 1000HA (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 1,527 PCMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 1,446 PCMarks
Acer Aspire One (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950)  1,555 PCMarks
ASUS Eee PC 901 (1.60GHz Intel Atom)  746 PCMarks
MSI Wind (1.60GHz Intel Atom)  N/A
ASUS Eee PC 900 (900MHz Intel Celeron M ULV) 1,172 PCMarks
HP 2133 Mini-Note (1.6GHz VIA C7-M ULV) 801 PCMarks
HTC Shift (800MHz Intel A110) 891 PCMarks
ASUS Eee PC 4G (630MHz Intel Celeron M ULV) 908 PCMarks
ASUS Eee PC 4G (900MHz Intel Celeron M ULV) 1,132 PCMarks
Everex CloudBook (1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV) 612 PCMarks
Sony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7600) 2,446 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook P7230 (1.2GHz Intel Core Solo U1400) 1,152 PCMarks
Sony VAIO VGN-G11XN/B (1.33GHz Core Solo U1500) 1,554 PCMarks
Toshiba Portege R500 (1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7600) 1,839 PCMarks

 

3DMark06 measures video and gaming performance (higher scores indicate better performance):

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
LG X110 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 81 3DMarks
ASUS N10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 73 3DMarks
ASUS N10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, NVIDIA 9300M 256MB) 1,417 3DMarks
ASUS Eee PC 1000HA (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 95 3DMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) N/A
Acer Aspire One (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 122 3DMarks
Sony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Core 2 Duo U7600, Intel GMA 950) 122 3DMarks
HP dv2500t (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,055 3DMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 532 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

 

HDTune hard drive performance results:

 

Ports and Features

Port selection on the LG X110 was average compared to the majority of netbooks, with three USB ports, and SD-card slot, and jacks for headphone/mic. An ExpressCard slot would have been appreciated, but this model does offer optional 3G wireless (outside of the Canadian market) that was what you wanted to use the slot for. Our model which wasn’t equipped with WWAN didn’t have the mini-PCIe slot soldered onto the motherboard, preventing future upgrading.


Front: Activity Lights


Rear: Battery


Left: Kensington Lock Slot, AC Power, 2 USB


Right: 4-in-1 SD-Card, 1 USB, Headphone/Mic, VGA, LAN

Speakers

The speakers are located underneath the palmrest and aimed to fire downward. This can present some problems with covering the ports with clothing, muffling the little sound the speakers can create. In use they were relatively loud but lacking any bass or midrange. For watching a youtube clip or listening to streaming radio they should be more than adequate. I prefer using headphones with my notebook, which gives better audio quality in a more private setting.

Battery

We were only given the 3-cell battery for testing, which on average, gives about 2 hours and 30 minutes of running time. With the screen brightness set to 70% and wireless active, the LG X110 managed 2 hours and 6 minutes before it went into standby at 3%. Surprisingly, the MSI Wind which has the same configuration and a 2.5” SATA HD also managed 2 hours and 6 minutes, but under more stress. Compared to other netbooks the difference might be the standard hard drive compared to flash memory, which uses less power.

Heat and Noise

Even after hours of constant benchmarks and idle time the X110 stayed cool to the touch with its quiet fan. The Intel Atom processor isn’t generally known as a high power draw and high heat output processor, but some netbooks get overwhelmed with underperforming cooling systems. LG managed to design the system to handle any situation we threw at it, while still keeping the case hand and lap friendly.

Conclusion

The LG X110 offers good looks and solid performance, but it does limit future expansion for users who might want to tweak things like system memory. The only user-upgradable part inside the chassis is the hard drive, where most of the larger netbooks on the market offer at least socketed ram, some even open mini-PCIe slots. Apperance is another factor that sets the similarly configured netbooks apart and LG really did a great job with the X110. The paint quality is top notch and fairly scratch resistant, which is great for something that might be tossed around on a day to day basis. Overall this netbook works well for its intended purpose, but make sure you order the configuration you want, since you wont be able to change it much after the fact.

Pros:

  • Solid build quality
  • Beautiful paint job
  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
  • Bright display

Cons:

  • Not very user upgradable
  • 2 hours battery life with 3-cell battery


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