Toshiba may have been late to the Netbook party, but last year’s NB200 was definitely worth the wait. At a time when Netbooks were all starting to look the same and, quite frankly, getting a bit boring, the NB200 came along and rekindled my interest. So good was the NB200 in fact, that it walked away with the Best Netbook of 2009 award. With that in mind I’ve been wondering what Toshiba’s next crack of the Netbook whip would be like, and today I found out.
As well as making a big fuss over Cell TV, Toshiba announced the NB300 and NB305 netbooks. Before I go into any detail I should point out that the only difference between the two models is the finish of the casing – the NB305 features a “unique and attractive 3D textured cover design with a matt finish” (Toshiba’s words not mine), while the NB300 sports a more traditional glossy finish. No pricing was mentioned, but I imagine that the NB305 will carry a price premium over the NB300.
The headline feature of the new NB300 series is the battery life, which Toshiba quotes at 11 hours on the six-cell battery. I’m keen to test this myself, but if that figure is anywhere near accurate, this could become the machine of choice for the mobile power user – in fact I could have done with one of these today, since finding a power socket in the woefully small CES Press room was like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Not only does the six-cell battery now provide improved battery life, but it also sits flush with the chassis now. If you used a six-cell battery with the old NB200 is stuck out at the rear, spoiling the look of the machine and making it more bulky. According to Toshiba, the protruding battery was the most common complaint with the NB200, so the issue has been addressed on the new machines.
The touchpad has also been improved and now features multi-touch, which will surely become a standard feature on notebooks and netbooks eventually. The excellent full size keyboard remains, as does the 3D impact sensor for the 250GB hard disk (the old model had a 160GB drive). There’s 802.11b, g and n Wi-Fi and three USB 2.0 ports, with one being a sleep and charge port.
The screen is a 10.1in affair with LED backlighting and a pretty standard 1,024 x 600 pixel resolution. And if you want to stay online where ever you are, there will be an option for integrated HSDPA, which will save you having to carry a USB dongle around with you.
Toshiba quoted a European launch date of Q1 2010, so hopefully a review sample will land on the TrustedReviews doorstep shortly after we return to the UK – snow permitting!