Toshiba – NB100 review

a netbook by another name
Photo of Toshiba – NB100
£189 + VAT

It won’t be a surprise to anyone that Toshiba has a netbook in its portfolio. After all, netbooks are a popular breed of computer and there is money to be made in bringing them to market.

However Toshiba is wary of the netbook nomenclature, and instead chooses to call the range in which the NB100 sits ‘mini laptops’. The distinction seems academic as the four models currently sporting the NB100 name run on Intel’s Atom N270 processor and as such are, technically, netbooks. Perhaps Toshiba is just wary that the original Netbook was a Psion product and the ownership of that name may still be around somewhere.

The four NB100 models span a price range running from £189 to £303 (all plus VAT). There is a choice of operating systems with Ubuntu in the least expensive of the machines, Windows XP Home in the other three.

All four models have an 8.9-inch screen with a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. There is a TruBrite finish to the display which means it is reflective of its surroundings but sharp, the latter factor helping when you want to watch videos or view photos. The screen is packed into a chassis measuring 22.5 x 19 x 3.3cm. The weight is 0.9kg.

The relatively small overall size of this netbook – sorry, mini laptop – means that as ever with this format of computer the keyboard is a bit on the cramped side. This is to be expected, but what we don’t like so much is that there is a fair amount of flex. If you are a heavy-handed typist you will notice this more than the light-fingered.

Despite this, the chassis build quality is solid and the lid section has a shiny exterior, more matte on the inside. Depending on which of the four models you choose you’ll get a black, gold or silver chassis.

The least expensive of the four models on offer has an 80GB hard drive, the most expensive has a 160GB drive. The two models in between both sport 120GB hard drives.

All four models have Ethernet and Wi-Fi (b and g but not Draft-N) built in but none have Bluetooth. The most expensive also has support for a SIM card and can handle HSDPA speeds downloading to 7.2Mbps, uploading to 2Mbps. There is a VGA webcam in all models.

Connectors run to three USB ports, VGA connector and reader for SD compatible media. There are headphones and microphone slots on the front edge.

Battery life is rated at up to 3 hours 50 minutes, but we aren’t clear under what circumstances you can hope to achieve anything like that. Based on our real-world usage we’d anticipate that two hours might be closer to the mark.

Company: Toshiba

Contact: 0844 847 8944


Verdict
Toshiba may be calling its range 'mini laptops', but the NB100 lacks sophistication. Future models will hopefully address some of the shortcomings.