The Toshiba NB100 - Leading Innovation?
The first Toshiba mini laptop is pretty predictable on the whole. The Toshiba NB100 has a glossy 8.9 inch display with 1024x600 resolution, comes with a choice of XP or Linux, features a webcam, microphone, wifi, bluetooth (no 3G as yet), up to 120GB hard disc drive and of course an Intel Atom processor.
So What's So Special?
Perhaps, according to themselves, Toshiba have 'identified what a netbook is' but what differentiates the NB100 from the others on the market?
Toshiba, have already an impressive line of laptops, including the Toshiba Portégé R500-10U and are keen to keep its brand image and build quality together hand in hand. That’s why, Toshiba claim, people will buy the NB100 – because it’s a Toshiba mini laptop.
The NB100 is priced at the mid to low end of the market, starting with the Linux model which has only an 80GB hard drive and 512MB of memory.
The Windows XP model is more expensive but has a 120GB hard drive and a whole 1GB of RAM. The XP model does in this case seem better value for money.
Aesthetically it’s a bit of a mess. The lid looks like it’s been stuck on from another mini laptop, so the lines don’t match up. There are no tapered edges, so the whole thing looks like a box, not helping the lid dilemma and with these “rough edges”, it does seem to be more susceptible to damage.
As for the hideous battery sticking out of the back – Toshiba claim that it helps with grip but it looks to be a liability. You do get a choice of three colours but no amount of color will hide that hunchback look.
The battery itself, a 4-cell 5200mAh that Toshiba say will give you up to 3 and a half hours run time. This is pretty poor compared with the latest offerings from Asus, but on the whole an average figure among mini laptops at this level.
Not All Bad.
The Toshiba NB100 does have some good points. It's light even for a 9 inch notebook weighing in at a fantastically lean 0.99kg.
The keyboard is surprising large, perhaps helped by the battery extending out the back, so not to compromise on keyboard size like on the Dell Inspiron Mini 9.
The keyboard also extends all the way to the edges like the Dells and unlike the Dell has no missing keys. Elsewhere on the interface, the touchpad is again, of reasonable size (remember the whole machine is only about the size of a hardback book) with the left mouse button being slightly longer than the right, presumably to reflect the fact that one gets used more than the other.
Beneath the touchpad are the indicator lights, very practical and saves wasting space above the keyboard or on the screen surround.
On the whole, the Toshiba NB100 is not too dissimilar to any other 9 inch mini laptop already available. Perhaps this is a point in its favour; how comfortable are you buying from relatively unheard of brands when compared with a big brand like Toshiba?
None the less, it is uglier and slightly underpowered compared with the industry leaders. So whilst Toshiba is an established laptop make, it’s hardly front of the pack with the NB100.
If we are brutally honest then Toshiba’s slogan, “leading innovation” could hardly be more inappropriate in this case. We asked earlier 'What's so special?' - The answer - not much.
So could you do better? Yes, we would still recommend the Asus Eee PC 901 over the Toshiba or perhaps the Acer Aspire One, but, if you want a familiar brand name then the Toshiba NB100 could be what you are looking for.
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