Review Price £322.00
Specifications, Performance and Connectivity
Where the NB550D really sets itself apart from its cheaper siblings like the NB520, however, is when it comes to specifications.
Star of the show is AMD's brand new Fusion Brazos architecture, which successfully combats Intel's Atom. Here it consists of a dual-core, 1GHz C50 CPU and Radeon HD 6250 GPU. Don't be misled by its lowly clock speed: in the vast majority of tasks, the C50 will feel just as snappy as Intel's dual-core 1.5GHz Atom (as found in the NB520 or Samsung NF210).
On the graphics front, meanwhile, AMD is in a whole different league. Unlike its rival's solution, the Radeon HD 6250 will allow for Full HD video acceleration, flash-based HD video and even some light gaming.
Unfortunately, Toshiba hasn't really pulled out the stops and given the C50 2GB of RAM to play with. Instead, you're stuck with the same 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 250GB hard drive and Starter Edition of Windows 7 that occupy most other netbooks. This is a real shame, but considering the NB550D is only £20 more expensive than the NB520, we suppose compromises were inevitable. Also, upgrading these yourself is really easy and there's no warranty void sticker over the access panel.
Thankfully, another area where the AMD chipset makes its presence felt is in connectivity. The basics are the same as the NB520, including three USB 2.0 ports (one of which supports Sleep & Charge to charge your external devices with the netbook turned off), SDHC memory card reader, Ethernet port and 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, while on the wireless front you get both Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 3.0. Naturally the NB550D also supports Toshiba's Sleep & Music functionality, for more on which you should have a read of page three of the NB520 review.
However, unlike the NB520's analogue VGA video output, the higher-end model offers HDMI. Along with the Radeon HD 6250's Full HD (1080p) video playback abilities, this lets you hook up to monitors or televisions and turn this Toshiba into a portable entertainment centre.