Product Type: Toshiba Netbook
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Toshiba NB200-10Z: a compact and powerful netbook
Toshiba NB200 -11H
Member Name: ReviewKing05
Toshiba NB200 -11H
Date: 26/06/10, updated on 13/07/10 (212 review reads)
Advantages: - Smart design - Chiclet keyboard - Able to play I-Player videos seamlessly
Disadvantages: - Poor speakers - Screen's tendency to gather dust
(Please note: having performed a Google search, it seems to me that the 11-H shown here has been phased out in favour of the 10-Z, which has the same specs and design as shown in the above picture and overview.)
The Toshiba NB200-10Z is a stylish and compact netbook which can perform the majority of general computer tasks seamlessly.
*What's in the box?*
The box contains the netbook itself safely housed in a dust cover and polystyrene fixings, accompanied by an 'Easy start guide' and a comprehensive User Manual (which you'll definitely need to keep at hand during the setup process). The battery is housed in the box too, as is the DC charger. Disappointingly, this laptop did not come bundled with a neoprene case (or any case for that matter) so I recommend getting one to protect it. I bought a Belkin case which fits it perfectly.
The Windows operating system is pre-loaded onto the system and the set-up process is automatically started as you power on the laptop for the first time. I had never dealt with this process before but found it painless and over rather quickly, which I was very pleased about.
A key positive of this netbook, and giving it a foothold over opposition such as the Eee pc, is its impressive design. With a textured, brown exterior and a silver finish on the inside, the netbook has the appearance of a more expensive laptop. On the front, LED indicators give you a quick-glance look at whether your wi-fi is on or your laptop battery is low, while a lit indicator on the hinge shows you when the power is on. The minimalist style is brilliantly pulled off and is a real highlight of the machine. The only drawback is that the large battery hangs out of the back of the device when attached, meaning that it isn't flush with the rest of the netbook. Nevertheless, this is not a deal-breaker and it looks fine when the laptop itself is open.
*Keyboard and trackpad*
The chiclet keyboard is different to other netbooks in that each key is placed separately, as opposed to being directly adjacent to the next. The result is that typing is much easier, as you will rarely hit a key you didn't intend to click. The response of the keys is very good, and the size of the keyboard is a real plus, being only slightly smaller than a full-size one. Touch typing is fine after extended use, and overall the keyboard cannot be faulted.
A cool feature is the 'Function' key, or 'Fn'. This small key opens up the limited keyboard to a wide range of features. The 'F' buttons at the top also function as 'Fn' keys (much as shift differentiates the choice of character on certain keys e.g. @ instead of '). For example, to raise volume, you hold Fn + F4. Of course, a netbook is too small to have a Numpad. The solution? A selection of Fn functions on the main keyboard, triggered by holding the Fn key when you press them. As a language student, the numpad is key to typing accents and after I got used to the system it was intuitive and a welcome addition to the netbook.
The trackpad is excellent, of an ideal size which is easy to use but unobtrusive. I also find the two independent left and right click buttons better than a unified button as some other netbooks sport, as the response is better and you know exactly what you're clicking.
As on most laptops/netbooks, the speakers leave a lot to be desired. Tinny at times, and not reaching a great degree of volume even on the highest settings, those intending to play music regularly may consider purchasing some USB speakers. The internal speakers are fine for short periods of use (to listen to Youtube videos on the internet for example) but for intensive music use they would be less than adequate for most users. Luckily, the easily accessible headphone port makes this less of a problem, with integrated Realtek technology giving you a wealth of options to make listening on headphones a pleasure.
Start-up is very quick, and a big plus for a portable device. When I tested it, it took 2 minutes and 15 seconds from clicking the power button until the OS loaded, the antivirus software kicked in and the netbook was completely ready to use.
The 10.1 inch glossy screen is of a pleasingly high resolution, making it perfect for viewing videos on the go. Though it can be hard to see in direct sunlight, in most instances it is an easy to view screen. Unfortunately, it can become dirty fairly quickly if not frequently wiped clean, as with many glossy appliances. The screen size is perfect for using office software too, with it easy to see all icons and taskbars.
The 1GB of RAM is more than enough for smooth operation during even rather intensive sessions. Typically, I have a word document, multi-tabbed Firefox screen and iTunes on and the netbook has never crashed due to low memory. In terms of processing power, the netbook performs well with the majority of tasks as it has an Intel N280 processor attuned to netbook needs. BBC I-Player programmes stream seamlessly, as do Youtube videos, and for the majority of websites this laptop is incredibly efficient. If you are looking to play HD video, though, look elsewhere. The processor simply cannot handle high definition, and when played, videos simply stutter and take an age to load. Nevertheless, this is to be expected of a netbook and HD functionality would be a big ask indeed.
The pre-installed software is by-and-large rather poor and unwelcome. The Wi-fi assistant was clumsy, difficult to navigate and harder to use than Microsoft XP's client. It took me a good while to realise that I didn't have to use Toshiba's own software, but a few searches online told me to use XP's client and I haven't looked back. Toshiba also bundled loads (and I mean LOADS) of unwelcome third-party games. These 'WildTangent' games are easily uninstalled and don't noticeably strain the computer's memory but it was annoying that they were bundled in the first place. The W-LAN connection is brilliant and easy to toggle on and off using the shortcut keys on the netbook. The laptop also sports Bluetooth and the Toshiba software is very useful for this, allowing easy connection to my mobile phone; the transfer of photos between the two was very smooth.
With two USB ports to the right of the netbook, it is easy to attach an external DVD drive. Having tried this, I have found it easy and very useful, enabling you to use existing CD software you have and also enabling you to watch DVDs, which the NB200 handles brilliantly. Furthermore, there is a 'Sleep and Charge' USB port to the left of the machine. Though this can be used as a regular port, it also enables you to charge USB appliances while the laptop is off, a neat feature not found in other competitors.
Battery life is a big plus of the NB200-10z, with it lasting almost all day in certain instances. Of course, when using power-intensive programs the battery will drain after several hours but if you are simply word processing this netbook can outlast many of its rivals. Regardless, you can use the supplied charger as a DC power source, meaning you don't need your battery attached to use the netbook if attached to the mains. Nevertheless, I have never had an issue with battery life on the machine. The battery takes a few hours to charge, but for the use you get out of it this is more than satisfactory.
A unique function distinguishing this netbook over others is the hard-drive protection technology. It has an installed G-sensor which notices when there are sudden movements to the netbook and temporarily parks the drive heads of the hard drive to protect your data and stop long-term damage. It's no solid state drive like those found in some other netbooks, but which other netbooks get 160GB of storage in such a small device?
After extended use, the device can become rather warm, so it's advised that you use it on a table in these instances, rather than on your lap. If you load data-intensive applications on the netbook, the fan becomes noisier as it adapts to the demand but still remains incredibly quiet. Once the application has loaded it will revert to its normal operation.
As with all netbooks, portability is essential, and this netbook achieves this with flying colours. It can fit snugly into most backpacks and bags and considering the fairly powerful processing power it is a brilliant machine to have on the go.
It is difficult to find much to say against this netbook, with it performing well with even some pretty intensive tasks (think I-Player) and seamlessly integrating with office software. If any negatives are to be found, it is in the glossy screen's tendency to attract dirt and the disappointing speakers. Yet, for the general user looking to watch the occasional video or write the occasional Word document on the move, this machine will not disappoint.
This netbook can be bought for £330 at Micro Anvika, though I paid around £300 from Amazon.co.uk when it was on offer.
Summary: A very impressive, compact netbook which can handle most applications efficiently.
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