GCN LAB REVIEW: NETBOOKS

Toshiba's Mini is the class of the netbook field

The Toshiba Mini NB205 N210 delivered the best performance at the lowest price and easily won the Reviewer’s Choice for this roundup

Netbooks in this review

Netbooks prove worthy of a second look
The Lab tests six netbook models and finds they have outgrown their low-grade reputation.

Dell Latitude on the go
The Dell Latitude 2100 offers extra portability options at a smart price for students.

Fujitsu designed to shine
Fujitsu M2010's bright screen and impressively loud speakers make it a good choice for multimedia use.

HP Mini but mighty
HP Mini 5101's enhanced communications features make it ideal for wireless or LAN networking.

IdeaPad ideal for budget conscious
Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2's low cost and light weight make it a good value for those watching their wallets.

Sony Vaio netbook a multimedia power
The Sony Vaio W-series is a bit pricey at $500, but it has a lot of extra features and would do well for a user who deals with multimedia on a variety of devices with different types of storage.

Toshiba's Mini is the class of the netbook field
The Toshiba Mini NB205 N210 delivered the best performance at the lowest price, and easily won the Reviewer’s Choice for this roundup.

Reviewer’s Choice

Toshiba’s Mini NB205-N210 has a well-designed interface, great performance and terrific price. Although its 10.375-inch-by-8.375-inch footprint is the largest in the review, its thickness of 1.375 inches makes it the thinnest we tested. Weighing in at 2 pounds, 14 ounces, the Toshiba is in the middle of the pack in weight.

The Toshiba’s keyboard had the largest keys in the review. They extend to the edge on either side. In addition, it has the largest touchpad in the roundup, even to the point of having significantly larger buttons. All in all, using the Toshiba is a pleasurable input experience.

We found the display screen to be the most susceptible to glare among those we tested. Even the light reflected from a white piece of printer paper was visible. Fortunately, the display was bright enough to allow us to see through the glare most of the time, and the screen's image was visible when looking from either side.

We were pleased to find that the Toshiba came with a hard drive movement sensor. If the netbook experienced sudden or violent movement, it would automatically park the hard drive. The power management software was also detailed, allowing users to specify brightness settings at varying levels of battery life. Of course, for our testing, we had it set at 80 percent brightness at all levels.

The Toshiba Mini, with its Intel Atom N280 processor, did well in our performance benchmark tests, earning a score of 260.4, the best in the roundup.

However, what amazed us was how well it did in the battery life test. The Toshiba lasted 6 hours, 17 minutes, outlasting its nearest competitor by 1 hour, 47 minutes. After a while, we began to think that there might have been some fluke — perhaps the Toshiba was accidentally plugged in — but we found nothing of the kind. It simply lasted a long time.

We got yet another pleasant surprise when it came time to look at prices. Toshiba is selling the Mini NB205-N210 for $350, the lowest price in the roundup. This netbook would do well in almost any environment, especially if it must run on batteries for an extended period. It earns our Reviewer’s Choice designation and our admiration, hands down, for this review.

Pros: Excellent battery life, good performance.
Cons: Screen prone to glare.
Performance: A
Battery life: A+
Ergonomics: A
Portability: A-
Features: A
Value: A
Price: $349

Toshiba, 800-597-4512, www.toshibadirect.com

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

Reader Comments

Fri, Jan 15, 2010 anna New York

Hi,I agree with many of your points, but have you noticed problems when watching hulu/youtube? How about sudden loud hard drive noises when going on sites with ad vidoes?

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