Toshiba NB305 review – most comfortable in its class, but a little pricey

Andrei Girbea May 19, 2012 Reviews 16 Comments

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!

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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

Conclusion

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?

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About The Author

Andrei Girbea, aka "Mike", Editor-in-Chief at TLBHD.com. I absolutely hate carrying around heavy stuff, that's why I'm fond of mini-laptops and portable computers. I'm primarily using such devices and have been testing them for many years now. Get in touch in the comments section below.

16 Comments

  1. Annan July 5, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I’m in the UK and am looking for somewhere to buy from without large shipping and custom charges! Amazon.co.uk doesn’t sell the NB305-N410 or N310.. but does sell NB305-106, which looks similar.

    Is this the same? It seems only available in brown.

    • Mike July 6, 2010 at 3:02 am

      Yes Annan, this version from UK: http://amzn.to/aNCa7m is the same as this version from the US: http://amzn.to/c5aZz8 . And you seem to be right about the white/blue versions not being available there :( . Still, the Brown one actually looks quite sleek, I’ve seen it live a couple of times.

  2. Annan July 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    The white version does seem to be available in the UK, but its been renamed as NB305-105 (Snow White). Not available through Amazon though, need to get it from a supplier.

    I’m looking for a blue one though. Why the heck don’t they call them the same names and have the same colours in all countries!?

  3. Annan August 24, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Not to confuse anyone, but there’s another model which seems exactly the same as the two other brown models called NB305-10F.

    The NB305-106 is currently out of stock on amazon but the NB305-10F isn’t. (UK brown models)

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Toshiba-NB305-10F-Netbook-1-66GHz-Windows/dp/B003V4AQRE

    • Mike August 24, 2010 at 9:29 am

      Annan, that’s actually the same link as the one I’ve put :) Anyway, I see they made it more expensive, it was 330 pounds lat time i checked

  4. Teresa November 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    What is the difference between NB305-00F & NB305-01E? I have found these on ebay & wanted to know the difference. Any help would be great! Thanks!!

    • Mike November 16, 2010 at 3:16 am

      From what i could find, the only difference is color. Brown for of 00F and Blue for the 01E.

  5. Teresa November 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Cool!!! Thanks!!

  6. J Waymack November 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    On a key issue (no pun intended) the keyboard for the Toshiba NB305 is alternately described as being wonderful or terrible depending upon the review.

    PC World comments…

    Unlike the higher-end version’s (Toshiba NB305)keyboard, with its tiny, oddly shaped Chiclet-style keys, the NB305-N310′s keyboard has a comfortable, regular keyboard.

    And TechWorld wrties

    But somehow the Toshiba NB305 has lost some of the stand-out quality of its predecessor. First the keyboard picks up the trendy Scrabble tiles – but small ones that feel very toy-like in action.

    While CNET writes

    The bad: The keyboard, while wide, has awkwardly sized keys for touch-typing;

    The above review is not alone in describing the keyboard as the best ever seen, but leaves me wondering what is the truth of the matter.

    • Mike December 2, 2010 at 4:48 am

      J, I have the NB205, which is the previous generation, and also tested the NB305. In my eyes, the later is better.

      Now, perhaps in the mean time there are better keyboard on netbooks (the one on the Vaio M for instance is currently top of my list, from the netbooks I have tested). Still, the NB305 does offer some of the best keyboard/trackpad combos you can get on a 10 incher, that’s for sure.

      In the end though, all these appreciations are subjective. Different people enjoy different things…

  7. Nicky June 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Toshiba is becoming famous for terrible customer service. Any comments?

    • Mike June 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      I can’t say anything about this as i’ve yet to need theri customer service, but maybe other can comment…

  8. natasha May 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for the review!

    Do you think an anti-glare screen protector thingy might help? I am trying to figure out if there is way to cure the glossiness (which is just gross, I wonder why they do it…).

    • Mike May 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      good anti-glare protectors do work, as long as you manage to stick them on properly. I’d say don’t go for the cheap ones and apply them slowly, making sure you get rid of all the air bubbles during the process.

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