Review Price £359.00
As there's nothing separating the NB305's hardware from most other netbooks, it performs predictably. Running Windows 7 Starter Edition, which we've found to be a decent replacement for Windows XP, it ticks along okay provided you stick to fairly basic tasks - e.g. playing music, watching standard definition video, web browsing. However, while some 720p video is playable, it stretches the hardware to the limit. HD flash video, meanwhile, is to be avoided.
This lack of performance differential makes the finer details on a netbook far more important and none more so than the keyboard. Like the NB200, the NB305 employs an isolation-style keyboard that sports a truly superb layout. Every key is where you'd expect it to be, while the cursor keys - so often an obstacle on netbooks - are slightly withdrawn from the rest of the arrangement. Key actions are clean and snappy, though they are slightly shallower than on ordinary keyboards and this takes a little getting used to.
Another element that makes the NB305 more usable than many of its contemporaries is the touchpad. It's nice and large, which makes it very comfortable to use, while the two buttons are separately hinged and offer excellent tactile feedback.
A good keyboard and touchpad, in addition to the excellent design, hold the NB305 in pretty good stead, but it does have one feature most netbooks don't have: hard drive fall protection. Like most such systems it takes the form of motion sensors that detect movement, locking the hard drive heads should it be detected. We wouldn't describe this as a knock-out feature that makes the NB305 far superior to its peers, but if you're particularly prone to dropping things then it's worth considering.
On the audio-visual side of things the NB305 is a mixture of good and bad. Its speakers are dreadful; they're small, tinny and lacking in volume - facts not helped by their positioning below the front edge of the chassis. By netbook standards, though, it's to be expected and the display makes up for the audio shortcomings. It's bright, sharp and produces decent colours, though it does have a glossy, reflective finish that can prove irritating when outdoors. Unsurprisingly, it also retains the standard 1,024 x 600 screen resolution found on most other netbooks.
Finally we come to battery life, which has always been the most important factor for netbooks. Like the NB200, the NB305 doesn't disappoint, though the 61 Watt-hour capacity battery doesn't match up to Toshiba's 11-hour claim. Playing back video at 50 per cent brightness and with Wi-Fi (and Bluetooth) disabled, it lasted six and a half hours. This is a good result and you could expect something close to nine hours depending on use, but in the same video test the Samsung N210 lasted slightly over eight hours.
Toshiba has produced another great netbook for those with more refined tastes. It delivers good battery life, looks very stylish and is great to use. However, it's a little on the expensive side and suffers from the same limitations placed on all netbooks.
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