Toshiba NB520-10P review
A good overall specification makes this a great little netbook that’s built to last
Review Date: 18 Feb 2012
Reviewed By: Simon Fisher
Price when reviewed: £238 (£286 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The NB520-10P is a far more luxurious affair than most competitors; staff and students commented on its premium feel. With the lid finished in a dimpled, rubberised bronze, it exudes the feeling of quality. The only weak points are the metal grilles over the stereo speakers, which feel as though they might break if pressure were applied with a finger or pen.
The NB520-10P also has one of the best specifications on test, with a dual-core Intel Atom DN570 processor running at 1.66GHz. Despite having only 1GB of RAM, it feels slightly snappier than single-core rivals and struggles less when several applications were running at once. Its 0.21 PC Pro benchmark score is very credible for a netbook.
The LED backlit 10.1in screen is bright and makes for pleasant viewing, although there’s nothing special about its 1,024 x 600 resolution. However, the Harman Kardon speakers, integrated into the area in front of the keyboard, are substantially better than the netbook average, outputting crisp speech and music – although they’re unlikely to see much use in the classroom environment.
Toshiba has made interesting compromises with the NB520’s keyboard. While the main letter and number keys are of a good size, other keys have been shrunk to accommodate this. The Start, Alt and backslash keys are particularly small, and although they don’t get so much use, it’s hard to find them. While the keys can feel a little plasticky, students found the keyboard comfortable and accurate to type on. The textured trackpad surface is also better than the norm, and even supports multitouch gestures such as pinch to zoom or rotate.
The battery didn’t last the ten hours Toshiba claims, but it still survived a full school day. The battery pack is large, though, adding quite considerably to the height and weight of the device.
With strong performance, a rugged feel and a generally good keyboard, the T oshiba NB520-10P is a great choice for schools. Although slightly more expensive than its rivals, it feels built to last and doesn’t come with too many compromises.
Author: Simon Fisher
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