On the software side, the NB100-128 doesn’t leave you wanting for much. For office use there is a trial version of Microsoft Office 2007, or if you don’t fancy paying for a license a perfectly competent version of MS Works 9.0; other bits worth mention are a trial version of McAfee Anti-Virus, Picasa 2 picture editor and Toshiba DVD Player – again an interesting addition considering the lack of optical drive!
Toshiba could have scored a major win in terms of battery life if it had included a six-cell battery. However, it’s not fair to criticise the company too much, since the four-cell model provided is slightly better than the usual 3-cell affair found on the likes of the Acer Aspire One. And the NB100-128 makes the most of it too, clocking in at three hours and 20 minutes of video playback with screen brightness at 50 per cent and wireless turned on.
Not only does this beat other 8.9in netbooks like Fujitsu-Siemens’ Amilo Mini and Dell’s Inspiron Mini 9, but just like the former it has a Silent Mode, activated by pressing a keyboard shortcut. This lowers the CPU clock and voltage to make for an even quieter machine (as if that was needed) and more importantly also increases battery life. With this enabled, wireless off and screen brightness at a usable 20 per cent, the NB100-128 managed just less than five hours of use.
Finally, we come to value and market positioning, and this is where the NB100-128 really falls down. Though there’s a £30 cash back offer on the NB100-128 from Toshiba at the moment, this expires at the end of the month. Without this, the average price for this netbook online is £280. Like with the 8.9in Amilo Mini its keyboard is the main caveat – but at least in addition to being a good £20 cheaper on average, the better-looking Amilo has an ExpressCard slot and Bluetooth in addition to interchangeable covers (if that’s your thing), all of which more than makes up for the smaller hard drive and slightly less impressive battery.
In terms of features, however, the biggest competition at the 8.9in screen size is from Acer’s Aspire One. It might lose out in battery life, but has a much nicer keyboard. It’s also about £20 cheaper for a configuration which offers a bigger 160GB hard drive.
Toshiba’s £280 retail price is also getting awfully close to the £308 required to get you a Samsung NC10, which despite being slightly larger and heavier beats both netbooks in almost every way, scoring our coveted Editor’s Choice Award and Best Netbook of 2008.
Toshiba’s NB100-128 is a small, light and fairly rugged netbook which runs very quietly. But despite getting more out its four-cell battery than most, it can’t keep up with six-cell netbooks in the battery life stakes, looks dull once opened up and its awful keyboard combined with a below-par touchpad means using it might be more pain than pleasure. A higher price than the competition doesn’t do it any favours either.
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