The Bottom Line
Sep 3 2011 - Toshiba's updated mini NB305-N600 offers a nice balance of keeping the old and giving it some new. It retains the same superb build quality and excellent keyboard and trackpad combination of the original. The Atom dual core processor does help performance a bit but it is still held back by the traditional memory limits and it fails to overcome the challenges of HD video. The battery pack trails behind the competition but it still is long enough for many users to not really be a big issue. Pricing has also come down somewhat but is still higher than the competition. Still, when it comes to quality, it is hard to top the mini NB305.
- Excellent Keyboard And Trackpad
- Dual Core Processor
- Exceptional Build Quality
- Above Average Cost
- Battery Life Below Some Similarly Priced Offerings
- Intel Atom N550 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 1GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 250GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 10.1" WSVGA (1024x600) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
- Intel GMA 3150 Integrated Graphics
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, VGA, 4-in-1 Card Reader
- 10.5" x 7.6" x 1.4" @ 2.6 lbs.
- Windows 7 Starter, Office Starter, Norton Internet Security
Review - Toshiba mini NB305-N600
Sep 3 2011 - The Toshiba mini NB305-N600 is basically an updated version of the previous mini NB305 netbook. This means externally, the netbook remains completely unchanged from the previous model which is a good thing. The keyboard and trackpad design of the mini NB305 remains one of the best on the market. The isolated keyboard offers a spacious layout with nice feedback that is accurate and comfortable. The trackpad is one of the larger on the market with dedicated left and right buttons rather than the rocker bar many use.
All of the changes to the mini NB305-N600 come internally to the system. Mainly, it has been upgraded from the Intel Atom N400 series of single core processor to the new Intel N550 dual core processor. This isn't the fastest of the new Atom processors so it has a slightly lower clock speed than the previous N450 but it makes up for this with the second core. This does help a bit for some applications but for the most part, the system is held back by the single gigabyte of DDR3 memory that is required by the Windows 7 Starter operating system license. If the system is upgraded to two gigabytes, it would benefit greatly compared to the past single core model.
Now, one might expect that the second core would benefit the HD video capabilities of the Atom based netbook realm. Unfortunately, the extra general processor core is held back by the GMA 3150 integrated graphics that carries over from past models. There may be times when 720p video will play alright but more often than not it will drop frames making viewing HD video an uncomfortable experience. The display remains the same with the 10.1-inch size and offers some very nice viewing angles among the 10-inch class netbook segment. It does use a glossy coating still which can make it difficult to use outdoors or in certainly lighting due to reflections and glare.
Storage remains unchanged from past version and is in line with just about every netbook on the market thanks to the restrictions imposed by Microsoft with Windows 7 Starter. This means that it uses a 250GB hard drive with a traditional 5400rpm spin rate. Performance as a whole is adequate but does fall behind the cold boot and application loading times found on HP's netbooks that offer 7200rpm drives.
The battery pack remains the same as the past mini NB305 with a six cell battery pack and a 48WHr capacity rating. This is slightly lower capacity than some offerings from HP and ASUS. Thankfully, the dual core Atom doesn't appear to impact the overall running time compared to the past single core version. In video streaming playback tests, it is able to run for just over five and a quarter hours before going into standby mode. This falls about an hour below what can be achieved by the aforementioned competitors but it still should provide near all day computing for many users. Toshiba advertises over eight and a half hours but it likely won't be able to achieve that much.
Previous Toshiba mini NB305 netbooks had the disadvantage of being priced above the average comparable netbook. Thankfully, prices have come down somewhat from the past model but it still is on the higher side. Typically, it can be found for just under $350. Toshiba does put together one of the best overall netbooks on the market when it comes to build quality. It certainly feels much nicer than most of the netbooks that cost roughly $20 to $50 less.