I’ve always been a fan of Toshiba’s netbooks. They offered just the specs the others did, but with some extra features and looks closer to my taste, with none of the glossy parts other netbooks have.
That’s also the case with the NB305, the new series of 10 inch netbooks from Toshiba, with improved hardware (PineTrail) and buffed features.
It is at the moment one of the most complete devices available. Good specs, ergonomic keyboard and touchpad, good battery life, nice design, all of these are here. However, the Toshiba NB305 is not perfect and has its own faults, the biggest problem being the price, which is at least 10% above the competition. But is well worth!
- nice matte body (although there’s a glossy version too, for “fingerprints lovers”)
- very good build quality
- now only weights 2.6 pounds, making it one of the lightest 10 inch netbooks out there
- good keyboard with chiclet independent keys and a nice metallic feel
- properly sized touchpad, separated from the rest of the body and with two click buttons
- 6 Cell battery offers up to 11 hours of life on paper (around 9 in practice on Windows 7) – plus, the battery is not part of the body and no longer sticks out in the back
- standard PineTrail hardware (N450 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 250 GB hard-drive)
- performance levels are good, within this class averages
- comes with Windows 7 OS (or XP for the cheaper version) and some useful extra-software
- good connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR (and optional 3G in the future)
- good sound quality and volume (unlike the predecessor)
- available in multiple colors and two price/equipment versions
- display is still glossy, but there’s less glare than on the Acer or Asus devices. Still, it would have been nice to have a matte display.
- there’s only a 0.3 MPx camera, so if you care about that, there’s room of improvement in this area
- the top versions sell for $399, and that makes the Toshiba NB305 one of the most expensive 10 inch netbooks on the market right now
Overall, Toshiba did it once again with the NB305. It might not be the best in terms of performances, it might not provide the best autonomy and it might not be the most affordable, but all in one, this netbook is the most comfortable to use of all. It’s light so can be carried around easily, offers still good battery life, comes with perhaps the best keyboard and touchpad seen on a netbook yet and is not a fingerprints and scratches magnet. All these should just be enough for the extra bucks you’ll have to get out of the pocket. At least for me they are.
Available versions and where to buy them
There are actually two different versions of the NB305. There’s the fancy model, with all the above features, that sells for $399 between $349 and $379, based on color scheme (Royal Blue one is the most affordable). You can get this Toshiba in Blue, White or Brown and you can see more about the devices in here (with pics, reviews and the option to buy them for the best prices available online).
Also, there’s the improved version of this Toshiba Mini NB305, with better hardware: new N455 Atom processor and DDR3 memory. Everything else is the same, hence price is only a little bit bigger: around $369 .
And if you happen to live in UK, you can get this Toshiba for $324.99 pounds these days, but this is the upgraded version, with the same N455 CPU. However, only the Brown version seems to be available there.
And there’s also a cheaper version, the NB305-N310. This one sells for $299, is available only in Black but lacks many of the features above: has a smaller 160 GB hard-drive, comes with Windows XP instead of Windows 7, lacks the chiclet keyboard and offers a shinny and smooth lid case.
I for one would go for the best version though, it’s not like i buy a new netbook more than once every year and a half, and those $50 are really not that important if you consider the long term investment, don’t you agree?