Toshiba NB550D Review

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 Specifications

  • 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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