Toshiba NB205 Review Part 1

9 09 2009

After being laptopless for 6 weeks while my Dell Vostro was getting repaired, and then getting it back and finding it makes my backpack much heavier than I remembered, I came to the decision to buy a netbook.  After looking around reviews and the Internet for a while, I found the Toshiba NB205 to be one of the highest rated netbooks, and it also had the features that I wanted: long battery life, nice keyboard, and under half the weight of my Vostro.

First off the specifications,

  • OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3
  • 10.1″ WSVGA (1024 x 600) LED-backlit display
  • CPU: Intel Atom N280 (1.66GHz, 533MHz FSB)
  • Graphics: Intel GMA 950
  • LAN onboard 10/100 Mbps Ethernet controller
  • Wireless: 802.11b/g and Bluetooth V2.1
  • Memory 1GB (DDR2 533MHz)
  • Storage: 160GB hard drive (5400rpm) and SD/SDHC media card reader
  • Webcam: 0.3 Megapixel
  • Dimensions 10.4 x 8.3 x 1.0/1.27 inches (W x D x H)
  • Weight 2.93lbs with 6-cell battery
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium-Ion
  • Warranty: 1-Year Parts and Labor, 1-Year Battery
  • Price: $390

The keyboard is indeed nice, after a few minutes if getting used to it I can easily type on it as fast as the keyboard on my Dell Vostro, or any other laptop keyboard. The only complaint I have on that note is that the tab key seems too small for me. I would rather have a larger tab key and a smaller caps lock key, maybe swapping the two even. As it is, it is still quite usable, it just takes a while to get used to if you’re the type that alt+tabs between windows and tabs between forms on a regular basis. At the moment you’d be hard pressed to find a keyboard on a netbook as easy to type on as this one.

Battery life also is a great feature, with it lasting easily over 8 hours while just browsing the web with a reasonable screen brightness. I’ll do some experiments to find exact numbers when I get a chance.

Speaking of screen brightness, it goes quite high and still maintains a fairly vivid image. I’m unsure what the battery life will be like if you turn it up all the way, but you can easily turn it up and see the screen well even in bright rooms or outside in the shade.

The only complaint I have so far is that the right edge of the touchpad where the scroll bar is used seems somewhat less responsive than the middle of the touchpad. This is common among touchpads, and I found that if you go into the control panel -> mouse -> advanced scroll settings and increase the area of the touchpad used for the scroll bar, as well as the scroll speed, then it seems to work well enough.

As for speed, the little 1.6ghz Atom is quite responsive for basic tasks. As with most computers lately, it is shipped with a bunch of “helpful” applications that take over power management, wireless configurations, etc. Disabling these as well as the Norten antivirus demo improves boot time and performance.

Probably this weekend I’ll repartition the hard drive and see how easy it is to get a small Linux distro running on it.

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