Best Netbook Yet? Hands-On With the Toshiba NB205
On paper the Toshiba NB205 looks like most of the other netbooks we have seen over the past year (10.1-inch display, Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM and Windows XP), but in person it really stands out. With a unique design, stellar keyboard and trackpad combo, and a long-lasting battery that’s rated for a whopping 9 hours of endurance, Toshiba’s NB205 is a breath of fresh air. Updated: We have posted a full review of the Toshiba NB205. Check out our impressions, gallery and hands-on video below to see why we think the NB205 could top the rest. We have been seeing better and better looking netbooks, but the Toshiba NB205 is hands-down one of the most stunning we have seen and have had the chance to use. Toshiba is offering two different versions of the NB205. The $399 version we used has a well-designed lid with raised horizontal lines. Our model was Sable Brown and had an overall professional look. It will also come in Royal Blue, Posh Pink, and Frost White. The $349 version will be offered only in black, and will have Toshiba’s smooth fusion finish (rather than the raised pattern). Beyond the attractive lid, the hinge is super elegant with a shiny bronze covering. Where we were really impressed with the NB205 is under the lid. The metal island keyboard on our model (the cheaper version will be plastic and non-island style) is one of the best netbook keyboards we have seen and rivals that of the HP Mini 2140. The keys are not only sturdy and comfortable, but also correctly placed to allow a touch typist to get right to it. Similarly, the touchpad on the NB205 is one of the best we have seen on any 10-inch netbook. The large pad is smooth and makes it easy to navigate the desktop. Its two dedicated right and left mouse buttons are comfortable and far from stiff. The NB205 packs Intel’s Atom N280 processor, 1GB of RAM and an 160GB hard drive which boots Windows XP Home. Our unit had the older N270 Atom processor so we opted not to benchmark the system, but it did provide the typical netbook performance we have become used to experiencing. The NB205′s 160GB hard drive is protected from sudden drops by a 3D accelerometer and it will come standard with a 6-cell, 5800-mAh battery, which Toshiba says will get about 9 hours of endurance. However, the battery protrudes further from the back of the system than most 6-cell-equipped netbooks. Toshiba has added a other twists to make their netbook stand out from the others. The display is LED-backlit, which is nominally greener than CCFL-backlit screens, and helps the system last longer on a charge. Also, all three USB ports on the NB205 will feature Toshiba’s sleep-and-charge technology, which lets users recharge peripherals even if the netbook has been turned off. Toshiba demonstrates that being late to the game doesn’t mean you can’t get in it. The NB250 has a standout design, solid feeling chassis and stellar keyboard. While we can’t make a final call on the new netbook until we run our tests and see how long it lasts on a charge, our initial impressions have us extremely optimistic.