Toshiba NB200-11M review
This netbook holds three aces: superb battery life, a great keyboard and a nice screen. If you can get it for under £300, with or without the current cashback offer, it's a superb buy
Review Date: 20 Oct 2009
Reviewed By: Tim Danton
Price when reviewed: £233 (£268 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
If you've been wondering whether or not to buy a netbook, and you're reading this before the end of October 2009, then there's every reason to be tempted by the Toshiba NB200 range right now. Up to that point you can get £50 cashback with your purchase, which means the typical price of £329 inc VAT for this version (the Toshiba NB200-11M) drops down to £279 inc VAT (during the review, we saw it for a few pounds less at Laptops Direct). And at that price, it's a bargain.
For this laptop is built for work. While machines like the Sony W-Series and Dell Mini 10v both have irritations when the time comes to take them from your bag, the Toshiba NB200 is a pleasure to use.
The keyboard is a particular highlight. While it might look like it's been designed for style rather than substance, the keys have just enough travel and resistance to help typists race along at top speed. It's still a shade away from the excellence of the keyboard you'll find on the Samsung N110, but there's very little to choose between the two.
Note the wide trackpad too. It's a little deceptive as the right-hand side and the bottom are a scroll area rather than for controlling your cursor - so if you run your finger down the right of the trackpad, the page you're looking at scrolls downwards - but once you realise this it becomes easy to jump around the screen.
And this is another highlight. The 10.1in display has a glossy finish, which means that in office conditions you may find yourself distracted by fluorescent strip lights when the desktop backround is dark. But it also helps make the display look vibrant, with photos and video both looking good. There's no sign of the grain that afflicts lesser netbooks either: it's clear, sharp and whites look white.
Another sign of this netbook's usability is its battery life. You can buy the NB200 with a normal battery, which sits flush with the back of the netbook, or an extended one - which adds an extra 2cm to its rear. It also adds weight: with the normal battery in place, the NB200 weighs 1.18kg; with the extended battery it adds up to 1.31kg.
Despite this, we prefer the extended version, because in return you get excellent battery life: a massive 9hrs 42mins in our light-use tests. Toshiba claims the NB200 lasts for around three-and-a-half hours using the normal battery.
Bearing in mind there's an Atom inside, it's pretty speedy too. Thanks to a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280, which isn't dual-core but does support Hyper-Threading, it scored a respectable 0.39 in our benchmarks. That's enough to ensure office applications run with ease, but more demanding tasks (think video encoding and the like) will take annoyingly long to complete.
I was looking at this, or one like it (the toshiba site has a confusing matrix of variations and I was looking at a brown one) and I do like the keyboard - the dedicated pgup/pgdn keys are nice to see although the backslash has oddly moved to the right of the spacebar and been replaced with the backtick key.
I thought I found a SIM slot in the battery compartment but there was no modem - according to the Toshi site only the NB200-123 has HSDPA built-in and that has a flat keyboard and cost more. I'm beginning to think I should give up looking for the perfect netbook with 3G and get 3's new mifi unit.
By simbr on 4 Nov 2009
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