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My school does a ne tbook scheme where every pupil gets a net book. My year group were given the Toshiba NB500 in black. At first I was very happy with the net book but over time things started to go wrong.
At first look the net book looks OK. It has a matte dimpled lid which feels quite flimsy. I would say it does have a very good keyboard for a net book and a nice clear glossy screen but they would have to be the only good things about the net book.
Over time the net book has seemed to get slower and slower, I cannot be sure whether this is because of all of the software my school has downloaded or the net book. Another fault was the wobbly hinges, this lead the screens to wobble about 10cm each way, which of course no one was happy about. Thankfully it was a manufacturing fault as the net books were built with to small screws and have now all been repaired with bigger screws.
The net book it nice and light at 2.5kg so it is very easy to transport and comes with an average quality webcam, just no software to use it with. It also has an ok battery. It says on the details it lasts 8 hours but this is before all of the software is downloaded on to it. With software it lasts around 4 hours.
Toshiba makes a bold statement with this netbook. It isn't glossy like a Dell, Acer or a Samsung, but it oozes quality all over.
I've been trying out various netbooks and yet to my liking there hasn't been one standout. I lean slightly towards the Acer Aspire ONE, but this in my opinion is superior. I am not one for glossy looks and I hate smudges and fingerprints to appear on the casing only for me to have to clean it every so often. This is where Toshiba scores first.
The outer shell is a nice matte finish (I bought the brown one to be different) which is pockmarked with dimples. This serves not only as a unique look, but it also aids in grip and the material used is very scratch proof. It feels rugged and very safe for this very reason.
Even though it has a 6 cell battery, it is pretty light and at around 2.5kg its easy to carry around. However it is a bit on the bulky side but it can be forgiven for that. What sets this netbook apart from the rest in the class is that most of the ports are situated on the left side - thus making the right side very clutter free. You have the AC slot, VGA out, ethernet, 1 USB, and audio jacks, while the right hand side houses 2 USB ports. 3 USB ports on a netbook this size - well thats pretty darn good. Now having a cooling vent on the left means that most of the heat is dissipated on the one side which already houses most of the cabling - meaning you are less likely to plug in new devices on that side. Toshiba scores again here with clever design.
On the front there is a nice red status LED. Most netbooks use green or blue LEDS and this made for a nice change - its a minor detail, but I liked it a lot. There is also the customary card reader on the front so it makes for easy access unlike some other netbooks which house it on the left or right. So another point here.
It scores once again for having the POWER button accessible without needing to open the lid. That is to say it sits nicely just behind the of the screen where the battery is usually located. Once again Toshiba thought out of the box and appears to have innovated rather than just imitate.
The quality continues to ooze as the very same matte dimpled plastic is also used on the inside. You open the lid and below the keypad is the same material and the trackpad is seperated with two click buttons - again unlike most other netbooks in this class. If I were to say something bad about it, perhaps its a bit on the shallow side and rough but nonetheless it is very responsive and precise. Where it lacks perhaps in the aforementioned areas, it makes up for in multitouch so you can easily zoom in and out much like you would for example on an iPad.
Another area where it shines is the keyboard. It is fairly sized and very easy to type on. The depth isn't as much as say the Acer Aspire One's keys but it somehow feels much better to type on. Keystrokes have a dull sound and isn't soft, but it isn't sharp and springy like other keyboards.
Although the CPU is said to be a Dual Core 1.66GHz, in reality it is a single core CPU with hyperthreading. However most netbooks use the Atom N450, Toshiba here uses the N455. To be honest I cannot tell the difference, but video playback at 720p is absolutely stutter free.
The 10.1 inch display is sharp and clear, and being LED it is particularly bright. I don't want to dwell too much on the 1GB ram and 250GB HD as I have done in my other reviews for other netbooks, but I would like to point out that the HD is almost silent and makes the netbook quiet overall. Nor would I want to talk too much about the VGA webcam except that it does what its supposed to and it does it well.
Finally I would just like to reiterate that this netbook is an absolute pleasure to use because not only is it stunning to look at, it is also very functional; it just feels well thought out. It feels robust, well built and there is an air of quality about it that some glossy looking netbooks lack.
If you want a netbook and you have £209, head on over to Amazon and get yourself one of these; you won't look back!