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Toshiba NB200-10Z - 10.1in Netbook - Toshiba NB200-10Z
Moving to the audio visual side of things, the NB200 sports one of the better netbook displays we've seen. It particularly impressed with its deep blacks, vibrant colour production and extremely sharp text. It's still not a patch on a proper monitor - it relies extensively on static dithering to produce the full-range of colours and shades - but for a netbook it does the job nicely.
Quite the opposite can be said of the speakers, or speaker in this instance. It's housed on the bottom and is weak, tinny and almost pointless for anything but basic status chimes and the like. In fairness we're not too bothered by this, headphones are normally best where netbooks are concerned, but if you do like to listen to music out loud sometimes this isn't the netbook for you.
As ever, the final piece in the puzzle is battery life and the recipe for success here is pretty simple: big battery = long battery life. Toshiba has duly obliged by providing a 63 Watt-hour capacity unit. This is large enough that it does stick out the back, but this actually proves quite useful as a handle to carry the machine by and doesn't lift the chassis up as acutely as the likes of the Eee PC 1000HE. At 1.3kg the NB200 is about the right weight, too - any heavier and it would become a bit cumbersome.
Toshiba's quotes nine hours of potential battery life and in the right circumstances we can believe that's possible. In video playback, with wireless radios turned off and brightness set to 50 per cent, we managed nearly eight hours. Turning up the brightness, surfing the Internet or using a 3G dongle will reduce these figures, but even in extreme scenarios you'd be hard pressed to get less than six hours.
Toshiba's excellent power management tool is a big help here, too. Not only does it have a large selection of presets, including those for DVD playback (useful for video in the absence of a DVD drive) and presentations, you can also make your own presets and tweak the CPU speed level and cooling - among many other things.
Like any good netbook the NB200 is faultlessly quiet and remains pretty cool, only getting slightly warm when used intensively. It's also incredibly well put together. Indeed, we'd wager the NB200 is the best made netbook we've reviewed, perhaps only matched by the Samsung range. Combine this with the durable finish and the free-fall protected hard drive and you've got a netbook that should last longer than most.
Though it's bound by common restrictions, Toshiba has managed to add one or two unique features of its own and delivers in the all the right areas. There's no shortage of good netbooks these days, but the NB200 is definitely one of the best.