Opening the NB100 up reveals a mostly matte black interior, with the small power-button and accenting around the sides and touchpad the only exceptions. To be honest, after the classy and relatively attractive exterior, the interior of Toshiba’s netbook looks plain and dull. This is not helped by the thick bezel around the screen with its integrated speaker grille, or the touchpad which thanks to being a slightly different shade of black than the rest makes the whole affair look somewhat cheap and toy-like.
Another negative that becomes immediately obvious when opening the NB100-128 up is that the keyboard has tiny, cramped keys and our favourite bugbear: the right-Shift to the outside of the upward cursor key, just like on the original 7in Eee PC. Somehow, though, Toshiba has managed to make the keyboard even worse, with squishy and occasionally unreliable feedback.
Nor is the touchpad much of a step up. It’s quite a bit smaller than the off-black champagne-bordered section suggests and feels just as cramped to use as the keyboard. In a nice touch, Toshiba has made the main left-click button wider than the right one, but goes and spoils it by making both touchpad buttons a little thin and difficult to press.
When it comes to connectivity things are pretty much par for the course. On the left are a single USB port and a lock slot. To the front are 3.5mm microphone and headphone connectors, with the built-in microphone located right next to them. Along the right are a memory card reader and second USB, while the back houses D-SUB and LAN ports.
The highly reflective 8.9in 1,024 x 600 screen is slightly above average. It’s bright, crisp and clear, and viewing angles are reasonable. But it does suffer from strong contrast shift, meaning tonal accuracy can be off no matter how ideally you’re positioned. However, if you can get past this it provides a pleasant entertainment and work experience.
Audio-wise, things take a few steps back again. Not that the speakers on most other netbooks are anything to write home about, but the Asus Eee PC has shown (or made audible, rather) how it can and should be done. Having said that, they’re perfectly adequate for an episode of your favourite TV show and there’s always the option of using headphones.
At the heart of it all lives the same 1.60GHz Intel N270 Atom processor as found in most other netbooks currently on the market, which is capable of handling everyday tasks but will struggle with things like decoding 720p video and other CPU-intensive tasks. 1GB of memory should be just about enough to keep Windows XP happy, though you will want to avoid heavy multitasking. So as with every netbook we’ve reviewed to date, everyday usage is fine but it obviously won’t keep up with notebooks when the going gets tougher.
The 120GB hard drive is average for a netbook, since there are plenty of models on the market that offer 160GB, but then again there are ones that only have 60GB. In terms of networking, Toshiba hasn’t been overly generous. Ethernet is of the non-Gigabit variety, Wi-Fi is only up to 802.11g and Bluetooth is completely absent. One point that’s remarkable is how quiet the NB100-128 stays during use. Most netbooks are fairly silent little things, but the Toshiba is practically inaudible even under load. Despite this, it never gets uncomfortably warm.
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