Toshiba NB550D

Score

Pros

  • Great speakers
  • Stylish, classy design
  • Soft-touch lid and palm rests
  • Full HD video and HDMI
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Only 1GB of RAM
  • No USB 3.0
  • Slow CPU

Key Features

  • Review Price: £302.15
  • 10.1in, 1,024 x 600 screen
  • AMD Fusion C50 CPU & HD6250 GPU
  • 250GB HDD
  • HDMI-output
  • 1GB RAM

When we reviewed Toshiba’s original NB520 netbook, we were blown away by the design, but rather disappointed by

the utterly lacklustre specifications. Now, however, the company has fitted one

of AMD’s delectable new Fusion processors inside the same sexy chassis, adding

vastly superior graphics and HDMI-out in the process. Ladies and gentlemen,

please put your hands together for the NB550D.

 

Starting off with its design, it’s identical to that of the

NB520, which is a good thing. Unlike the smooth soft finish on the likes of the

Lenovo ThinkPad X220t, Toshiba has added a dimpled pattern to the lid that

makes it look a little more like padding than a coating. Regardless, it’s not

just lovely to hold and lends a secure grip, but also prevents unsightly

fingerprints.

Most of the NB series is available in black, red, blue,

green and the brown of our previous NB520 sample, but with the NB550D you’re

limited to brown and blue. This time around, we’ve received the blue model, and

though it doesn’t exude quite the same feeling of understated class as the

bronze finish, it’s still very attractive and certainly stands out.

 

The lid’s blue hue is complemented by the touchpad buttons

and narrow speaker grille surrounds on the inside, while the rest of the base and the screen

bezel opt for black. Thankfully, that lovely, dimpled finish extends to the

palm-rests, making typing a very comfortable experience if your hands are small

enough that you can rest your palms on them properly.

As with the previous model, build quality is impeccable, and

Toshiba is definitely punching way above the NB550D’s £300 price point when it

comes to looks and feel. This premium impression largely continues when it

comes to ergonomics.

As with the NB520, the keyboard is shallow but responsive and

truly edge-to-edge. However, this time around we found feedback to be somewhat

inconsistent between keys, and the space-bar was slightly looser and noisier

than we would have liked. Shortcuts could also have been placed a little more

intelligently. Mind you, it’s still one of the better netbook keyboards around,

but the Lenovo ThinkPad X100e shows how it should be done.

 

When it comes to the touchpad, its slightly rough texture

can become just a tad unpleasant after extended use, but it’s otherwise

nice enough. It’s also large enough to use some multi-touch gestures and its

buttons offer a nice click, though after the amazing frosted glass pad on the

Samsung Series 9 900X3A, it all feels slightly underwhelming.

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