* Prices may differ from that shown
When it comes to getting a laptop, there are always so many important factors to think about. But if you know what your priorities are, then the choice should be just that much easier. When I decided I wanted to have a portable computer, my first priority was the size. Since I knew I would be commuting and using it on trains and in restaurants, I needed something small enough to put in a slightly (but not too) large handbag, which didn't require me taking extra luggage. This was the first reason I bought the LG X130. This also doesn't weigh all that much, only 1.7kg, which (despite some lighter ones having come out on the market since), seemed very reasonable considering the size.
Another aspect that sold me on this LG was the keyboard. I know, this usually isn't something people get picky about, but for me - a writer - I wanted something that had as big keys as I possibly could find. The best part about this keyboard is the action is so nice - not too mushy and not too hard - with just the perfect amount of give to make typing comfortable. As you type, you'll hear a lovely little clicking that isn't the least bit annoying and is quiet enough to keep from bothering others. I was also surprised that such a small device would have a 70% keyboard (meaning it is only 30% smaller than a standard desktop keyboard). This takes up easily 2/3 of the bottom part of the device, which makes the touchpad and buttons a bit on the small side. However, this doesn't bother me since I hate those things and must have a mouse. What I did notice about the touchpad is that it feels kind of papery and dry, which I do like, but this also has the distinct disadvantage of getting dirty very quickly. Good thing I prefer the mouse!
Then there was the screen size. Despite the diminutive outer dimensions, inside you'll find a full 10.1" of wide-screen to look at. Now I know nothing about video cards and things (one place said this is has 1,024x600 pixels), but considering its size, the screen looks very good to me, and even compares nicely to my flat-screen monitor on my desktop computer. Since I'm not using this to watch HD movies, or do heavy graphics or even play fancy games, it is certainly good enough for me. I can watch YouTube clips and look at webpages and pictures without feeling I'm losing any visual quality.
And speaking of video clarity, this comes with a 1.3 mega pixel smart cam fixed right above the screen. We've used this to make Skype video calls and the picture comes out so great, we ended up taking snapshots of my nephews in Texas that looked like we were in the room with a camera! Now, I'm sure these would have looked better with a more fancy webcam and screen, but I was very impressed nonetheless. My only niggle with the screen is that it seems a touch too glossy to me, so sometimes if the light is a bit strong, I end up seeing myself looking at the screen, so I might have preferred something more matt than this, had I had the choice.
Probably one of the most essential things to know about a laptop is the battery life. LG says this 9-cell battery can give you up to 12 hours of usage. Sorry, folks, but in this case, dream on! Perhaps if you're only working off-line using a word processor that doesn't take a lot of energy to run, this might be the case. However, I'm almost always connected up to the Internet when I use this, and having things like the modem running along with other software I find the best I can get is 4-6 hours, depending on what I'm doing. While it could be better, it certainly isn't the worst thing, and for my purposes (an hour here and an hour there), I found as long as I charged it up at the end of each day at home, I had a reliable machine to work on the whole of the next day.
Most people will also want to know about speed, RAM and the hard drive when looking for a laptop. While I know little about this, I can tell you that this comes with a 1.6GHz Atom, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. If that sounds only middling to you, I should remind you that this machine only works on Windows XP, which is far less heavy than Vista or Windows 7. You can also upgrade the RAM to 2GB, but I understand that you can't put in more than that. What this all means to me is that I find this to be very responsive, and I don't feel that the programs I work on open with any unnecessary delay. This also came with OpenOffice but I've since installed Office 2007, and while it may be my imagination, this seems to come up faster than the OpenOffice did. Go figure!
One of the extra features this has is called "Smart On", which is something unique to LG models, and is a way of turning the netbook on really quickly. If you use this, you essentially bypass the start-up delay and go directly to things like the internet or a movie you have saved on the hard drive, or listen to music. I've hardly ever used this, but when I have, I noticed it really does go very quickly. It is possible that this way of turning the computer on actually saves on battery life. I'm not totally sure about that but I have noticed that when the battery is getting low, sometimes this is the best way to get it to go on in a hurry. After that, you can open something you just want to work on or look at quickly before closing down and letting it rest.
Of course, this has Bluetooth, a wireless LAN, a sound card and all the normal bells and whistles. For instance, there are three USB ports (all 2.0), a serial port for plugging in an external screen, a plug for a phone cord and a place to plug in your earphones (or external speakers) and a microphone. This also has a SD card slot, which, aside from the USB ports, is the only place you can put in removable memory. That means no CD or DVD drive, so any programs you want to put onto this computer either have to be done via downloading them through the internet, or plugging something into this with the program on it (like an external DVD drive). The biggest drawback is that there is no way to plug a printer into this, so unless your printer works wireless, you can't print from this. Still, I can't really complain since what's left off is exactly what keeps this small and light and inexpensive.
Yes, I finally get to the price. I'm sorry to say that I've yet to find a price for this for you, since it isn't yet on the market in the UK. The previous versions (X110 and X120) sell in the UK at around £250-300, and one site noted that this will probably cost more in the range of £350. That looks pretty reasonable next to a similar sized Toshiba, but compared to the HP Mini or Acer Aspire, this seems pretty expensive. I'd say if they start selling it just above the £200 mark, you'll probably be able to pick one up a while later at about 20-30% less than that. If so, it might be worth it.
As far as my purchase was concerned, I bought this because of the large and lovely feeling keyboard, good enough battery life and small size and weight. Furthermore, of all the models available here that had similar configurations, this ended up being the least expensive one. Overall, I really like the feel of this laptop, it looks good (you can buy it in black, white or pink, by the way), has a nice screen clarity, is versatile enough for me to use it just the way I need it to be, and doesn't make me feel like I'm carrying around an anvil. For my purposes, it generally deserves four out of five stars, but I'm going to give it only three because it doesn't give me as long a battery life as they advertise it as having. Still, I can recommend it, especially if you can get it at a good price.
Davida Chazan © July 2010
(Sorry this is a bit longer than I usually do, but well, I think it deserved it, being a technical review and all...)
All the basic specifications have been mentioned above, but I also found the following information online:
CPU type: Intel Atom N270
CPU speed: 1600 Mhz
Graphics: Intel GMA 950
OS: Windows XP Home
Display Size: 10.1" 1024 X 576
RAM: 1024 MB
Hard Disk: 160 GB
Mouse Pointer: NO
Weight: 1450gm / 51.1 oz.
Size: (w/h/d mm) 264/178/33 mm
Size: (w/h/d inches) 10.4/7/1.3
Physical Interfaces: VGA, USB2.0 (x3)
Wireless Interfaces: 802.11b/g, BT2.0, 3G
Additional Specs and Accessories: WebCam 1.3Mp