Toshiba NB200-11H notebook

Although it wasn’t widely acclaimed, we rather liked the original Toshiba NB100 - a netbook sticking to the small and cheap ethos as the original netbooks. The NB200 represents a slight departure from this, falling more in line with its rivals.

As such, you’ll find the now-default 10.1-inch screen, 6-cell battery and Windows XP in place. The overall design is classier than the NB100, with a more upmarket feel that should appeal to the wider market. It’s available in black or brown, depending on configuration, and silver, pink and blue in the US, the NB200 also offers an attractive patterned finish.

Our review sample, costing £367, featured a brown finish, with black reserved for the slightly cheaper NB200-11L. Priced at £332, the only other difference is the use of a slightly slower and marginally more power-hungry Intel Atom N270 processor.

The 10.1-inch screen is impressive, with LED backlighting helping to offer bright colours and good contrast. The jump in size hasn’t seen an increase in resolution, however, with Toshiba using the ever popular 1024 x 600 pixel panel. It’s capable enough, with space for a webpage or single document, but as with all netbooks it’s simply not cut out for working with more than one window. A glossy finish sees reflections in brighter conditions, but we didn’t find it overly problematic.

The bigger screen brings a much larger keyboard with it, and usability increases as a result. It features an isolated design, with keys sticking out through individual holes in the chassis, making it easier to type at speed without the fear of hitting an adjacent key. Accurate and offering good quality, the keys could offer a slightly increased travel. The touchpad is large and responsive, also offering buttons that are bigger than average.

The quality of this machine impresses most, with robust plastics used throughout the chassis, and a cohesive and usable design. The large 6-cell battery protrudes from the rear of the chassis, but it makes a convenient carry handle and doesn’t raise the height of the netbook during use. As with most of the features on this machine, the 1.3kg weight is average.

Along with an Intel Atom N280 processor - which is slightly more power-efficient than the more popular N270 chip - the NB200 managed to run for over 8 hours between charges, making it a great choice for those needing all-day usability. 1024MB of memory and the reasonably resource friendly Windows XP OS results in smooth performance, although don’t expect to carry out multi-tasking. The 160GB hard drive provides plenty of storage space, although lacks the robust nature of the SSD options found on earlier netbooks.

Peripherals can easily be added via the NB200’s three USB ports, and Bluetooth is also in place for wireless connections. 802.11b/g Wi-Fi offers wireless connections to networks and the internet, with 10/100 Base-T Ethernet provided for fixed connections. A memory card reader offers easy access to SD and MMC Flash storage, and there’s a VGA-out port for hooking up an external monitor. An integrated webcam above the screen rounds off the specification.

Verdict

The jump from an 8.9-inch form factor in the NB100 to the 10.1-inch design here places the NB200 firmly in line with its rivals. Aside from the excellent battery life, it has no stand-out features, but it still remains a highly attractive and well-made netbook. It may not move the game on, then, but it’s among the best netbooks currently available.