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Toshiba can't be blamed for the lack of evolution in the netbook platform, however infuriating it might be. Until someone deigns progress necessary (or nVidia ION systems begin to hit the shelves) all any company can do is make the best product possible under the limitations created by Microsoft and Intel. Toshiba has done just that with its second netbook, the NB200.
Unlike its first outing, the ill-timed NB100, this Toshiba is a 10in machine - just like most other netbooks these days. Toshiba has clearly thought carefully about how its range is positioned, with cheaper all-black versions filling in the sub-£300 market, while the more luxurious 'satin brown' ones like the NB200-10Z we're looking at hovering around £349 or less. In this case it's £339.99, though this price is discounted from the £349.99 SRP.
For the money you get all the usual features. This means an Intel Atom N280 running at 1.66GHz, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. There's 802.11g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity and 10/100 Fast Ethernet for wired networking. Like many netbooks of late the 10.1in display has a glossy finish, while the 1,024 x 600 native resolution is as it ever was.
However, Toshiba also brings a few surprises to the table. Remember when netbooks came with SSDs to ensure data security? Yeah, it seems a distant memory, but while Toshiba hasn't gone so far as to use solid state storage, it has installed a G-sensor to enable free-fall protection for the hard drive. Whenever excessive movement is detected the drive heads are locked to help protect the hard drive. It's not quite as good as good as an SSD, which has no moving parts, but given no other netbook we can think of sports such a feature Toshiba should be praised for this move.
Another neat addition is a powered USB port on the left so that you can charge USB devices even with the netbook turned off. We've seen this feature in some recent notebooks but not in netbooks and it's a welcome addition, especially given netbooks are by their nature portable.
Outside of this particular feature, though, connectivity is completely unremarkable. On the left there's a VGA out, line-in and line-out jacks, an Ethernet port and the powered USB port. On the front is an SD card reader, while the right-side houses the other two non-powered USB ports, the power input and a lock-slot.
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