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It's difficult to think of a single major notebook manufacturer who hasn't also brought out a netbook by now. Unfortunately, in their haste to get on the mini-mobile-PC bandwagon, many of them have sacrificed considerations like ergonomics. Initially, it would appear Toshiba's NB100 netbook is yet another casualty of this trend, but let's find out how it actually holds up in this and other regards.
Toshiba offers several different versions of its netbook, being available with a choice of Ubuntu or Windows XP Home, 512MB or 1024MB of memory and hard drive sizes of 80 or 160GB. Of course, core components like an Intel N270 Atom processor running at 1.60GHz and Intel integrated GMA 950 graphics remain constants. There's also a selection of colours available, though unfortunately these are tied to specific configurations.
Our particular model is the NB100-128, a Windows XP version which features a Champagne Gold finish and is configured with 1GB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive.
In terms of extras there's not much here; you don't get a carrying sleeve as with the Samsung NC10 or MSI Wind. What you do get is a helpful illustrated Quickstart guide, an extensive user manual and a Toshiba Recovery DVD including Windows XP Home Edition. Though the usefulness of this latter item with a machine that has no optical drive is arguable, it's better to have it than not, especially considering external USB-powered DVD-Rewriters are only £50 these days.
At 1048grams (rather than the 999grams Toshiba advertises), the NB100 still resides at the lighter end of the netbook scale. In terms of looks, it's not quite as generic as most netbooks. It has a chunky two-tone design that's reminiscent of Fujitsu-Siemens' Amilo Mini and thankfully it's just as solid, with excellent build-quality throughout. Uniquely, the base extends further than the lid and protrudes 1.5cm past its hinges. Its four-cell battery extends even further and can be used to carry or hold the netbook.
On the outside, the lid and a section of trim around the base are finished in the aforementioned Champagne Gold, which does look very attractive. It's high-gloss but does an excellent job of disguising fingerprints. This is nicely offset by the matte black used for the rest of the machine and it's good to see that Toshiba hasn't given in to the temptation of making the palm-rests and other high-maintenance areas glossy.