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Toshiba Mini NB205-N312/BL 10.1-Inch Royal Blue Netbook - 9 Hour Battery Life

Toshiba Mini NB205-N312/BL 10.1-Inch Royal Blue Netbook - 9 Hour Battery Life

Are You Interested in Toshiba Mini NB205-N312/BL 10.1-Inch Royal Blue Netbook - 9 Hour Battery Life Yes, I think that interesting .

BuZZ from Customer Shopping

BEST Netbook on the market!!!5
UPDATE:
Just in case you decide to order a case for this netbook, keep in mind that the dimensions in the Amazon description or Toshiba's website (10.4 x 7.6 x 1.27 inches) are the dimensions of this netbook WITHOUT the 6-cell battery. If you look at the side-view photo in the Amazon description area (the one with the 7.6" measurement right below it), you'll see it's pictured without the battery. I just measured mine and with the 6-cell battery protruding from the back, it's actually 10.4 x 8.4 x 1.27 so many of the cases you find on Amazon made for 10" netbooks may not fit the NB205 with the 6-cell battery. Okay that's it for my update... read on for my original review...

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I just received my Toshiba NB205 yesterday and after spending many hours "playing" with it, I can easily say that, hands down, it is the BEST Netbook on the market today!

At the end of next week, I'll be traveling overseas and I wanted a small and lightweight laptop that I would be able to use to watch movies on the plane, transfer vacation photos and videos to, and use the internet for researching stuff from my hotel room. I currently own a 15" Macbook Pro but decided I didn't want to take it with me since it's a bit bigger & heavier and I can't afford to lose it. That's when I began researching these Atom-based Netbooks.

When I started researching, the Toshiba NB205 had not yet been released but there were still many netbook models out there by other manufacturers. I had originally considered the Samsung NC10, Acer Aspire One AOD250, Asus 1000HE, and Lenovo S10 as they all were pretty much equipped with similar configurations (Atom N270/N280 1.6 or 1.66Ghz cpu, 10" screen, 1GB ram, 160GB HD, 6-cell Li-Ion battery, Windows XP Home) and priced in the $350-400 price range. I won't go into too much detail about what I liked or didn't like about the other products but I had pretty much narrowed it down to either the Samsung NC10 or the Acer AOD250. Then I came across a pre-release review from Laptop Magazine on the Toshiba and decided to wait on my netbook. It was definitely worth the wait considering this is the first netbook I've come across that actually had noticeable differentiating features. When you compare all the others, it's kind of hard to choose from one over the other because they're all so similar!

The 4 biggest selling points on this Toshiba NB205 that had me wait for it was the 9-hour battery life, the look & feel of the keyboard, the size of the trackpad & buttons, and the overall aesthetics of it.

The whole point of buying a laptop this small and compact is for its portability factor. When you have to lug a brick-based AC adapter with you in fear the battery in your laptop won't last as long as you need it, it sure interferes with how portable carrying a laptop really is. A 9-hour lithium-ion battery will definitely solve that problem. Most of you are probably wondering how realistic that 9-hour rating really is... Let me just reassure you all, the battery life is GOOD! I brought it to a full charge, then unplugged it from the adapter and watched two movies on it (more on the movie playback capabilities later) and did 4 hours worth of web surfing afterwards -- all off the power from the battery on a single charge! You students out there can now bring it to all your classes and not have to look for a wall outlet! Oh, btw, I had the screen brightness set to 1/2 (level 4 brightness setting) and turned off the Bluetooth.

Netbooks are known for smaller keyboards and even worse, SMALL trackpads and trackpad button(s). In addition to the smaller size, many of the netbooks I saw in person at my local Fry's Electronics had very "cheapy"-feeling keyboards -- they just felt real fragile compared to the keyboard on my Macbook Pro. Enter the Toshiba NB205. Finally, a netbook that has a keyboard with keys that had the look and feel of a Mac keyboard and a robustly solid build to it. In addition to the look and feel, the keys were also pretty darn close in width to my Mac keyboard (both my Macbook Pro's keyboard, and my desktop Mac's keyboard). I'll try to post some comparison photos on Amazon this weekend for all those interested. The trackpad and buttons on the NB205 is also the biggest I've seen in the netbook category. Toshiba did a tremendous job in getting this right. Most of the other netbooks had really small trackpads and little miniature trackpad button(s) that felt real flimsy. Another feature that I like with the trackpad that's not stated anywhere is that the very right edge of the trackpad can be used for scrolling web pages or other documents (similar to the one on the Samsung NC10). This feature is not obvious as there are no arrow indicators like there is on the NC10 but it does support it!

I won't go into the aesthetics of this unit since you can pretty much see how amazing this netbook looks from the Amazon photos (I'll also add my own photos this weekend so you can get a better feel for the size, etc.) but let me now shift focus on using it.

Although I upgraded the memory on the unit to 2GB (I installed the Crucial 2GB 200-pin SODIMM DDR2 PC2-6400 800MHz Memory Module and it works great with the NB205!), all the testing I performed and am about to describe was done with the stock 1GB memory.

The very first thing I wanted to make sure this unit can do is play back, at the very least, DVD-quality movies (i.e. 480P movies (720x480 resolution)). One thing I'd HIGHLY recommend everyone who's interested in watching movies on their netbook do is download the FREE media player called VLC (Google "download vlc"). VLC is very lightweight and will play back movies a lot smoother than Quicktime or Windows Media Player; and given the inherently slower speeds of these Intel Atom processors compared to the Intel Core 2 Duo processors, using the VLC media player is your best bet. Using a free program called "Handbrake", one can convert their Bluray or DVD movies to AVC/h.264-encoded movies, which is what I used to convert some of my Bluray collection into a format that can be played-back on my NB205. Since it's out of the scope of this review and would require a tutorial guide of its own, I won't be able to explain how you would go about converting your Bluray or DVD movies. Anyhow, I first converted my Bluray edition of Valkyrie to a 720x480 resolution with a conservative 864kbs bitrate. The NB205 had NO PROBLEMS playing it back... It played back with very smooth video and the audio was synced up perfectly throughout the entire movie. So I decided to convert the movie again.... this time, using more aggressive settings... I converted it to a resolution of 1024x600 (since this is the native resolution of the NB205's screen) and a 2048kbps bitrate. Again, the NB205 was able to play the movie without a hitch. I didn't bother trying to convert the movie to 720P since the native resolution of the screen is only 1024x600 (it would be equivilent to 600P but 600P is not a standard). If you're planning to watch movies on the NB205 with someone else, you'll be happy to know that watching it from a 45 degree angle is very acceptible. Beyond the 45 degree angle, you won't be able to really see much so don't expect to have more than 3 people watching from it (why would you have more than 2 or 3 people watching off a 10" screen anyways!?).

Given it's capability to playback movies very smoothly, anything else I was going to throw at it would be child's play. Anyhow, I was reading that this laptop does get hot but after playing back two movies on it, it was not unbearable when resting it on my lap. So it doesn't seem like overheating problems will be too much of a concern for this laptop (but only long-term usage can really confirm this).

Another cool feature the NB205 sports that I'm not sure is available on all the other competitor models is a built-in accelerometer. It works the same way as the iPhone accelerometer but it's in the NB205 purely to detect if the laptop is about to take a fall. When it detects motion, it quickly moves the hard drive heads away from the hard drive to prevent any mishaps in case the hard drive is currently reading from or writing to the hard disks. Using a Toshiba software utility that's installed from the factory, you can change the sensitiviy threshold of the accelerometer or turn it off altogether.

There are obviously a lot more features that the NB205 comes with but I'm not going to explain each one simply because they're self-explanatory (such as bluetooth, wifi, etc.) but you can find out more about those features in Amazon's description of this product.

One final note before I conclude my review... Toshiba released two main models of the NB205 on the same day... the NB205-N310/311/312/313 (which is the model I have -- the NB205-N310/BN to be exact) and the NB205-N210. I think if you want to save $50, the NB205-210 would be a good choice as well -- provided you don't need Bluetooth or the Mac-style "chiclet" keyboard. For the extra $50, though, you also get the much sleeker, unique Toshiba-styling of the NB205-N31X series.

So if you're in the market for a very portable laptop, and you're considering a 10"-based netbook, the Toshiba NB205 is packed with features, enclosed around a very aesthetically pleasing body, and is very competitively priced!!!

Great Netbook5
Went out last night to look at netbooks for the hundredth time. After looking at the same ole boring models, plastic, cramped, creaky, cheap feeling, I came across this beauty. A very sturdy model, well made, and I was hooked on first site. After thinking that it was just an visual thing, I started to type away on the keyboard and what a thing of beautiful engineering. The Home, End, PrtSc keys are all in the proper place at the upper right, some other netbook keyboards required the use of the Fn key to use those keys (this model includes separate page up and down keys too). The screen is nice and bright, I was able to compare it side by side with a Dell mini and the Eee 1005HA and the Toshiba came out on top!!! Lastly, the touch pad is top of the line. It is not too small and there are separate L and R buttons located on the bottom of the pad like a "normal" laptop. As you know some other manufacturers make one rectangular button on the bottom or one on each side of the track pad...this one is, again, top notch.
For the money, you can not go wrong with purchasing this laptop. Great feel, sturdy build, awesome battery life, and you just feel good using it :) Hopefully this helps in your decision concerning a netbook purchase.

Early thoughts4
I just got my NB205 last Saturday. So these are initial, early impressions.

#1 (terrible first impression): It took all afternoon and into the evening to get the unit talking to my LinkSys WRT54G wireless router. The wireless communication was connected, the router had assigned an IP address, but the NB205 refused to get it. It sat at "acquiring IP address" until it timed out. I have a static IP block reserved on my router, so I gave the NB205 a static IP address and filled in the gateway and DNS server IPs, and it *still* wouldn't talk. In technical parlance, it wasn't just a problem with ARP - the entire transport layer simply wasn't working.

A wired connection to the router worked fine. But that wasn't a workaround that I was prepared to accept.

I researched on the Web and found that various Toshiba models seem to have a lot of trouble with wireless, and that there are probably a hundred different things that people said finally got theirs working.

What finally worked for me was to turn off WEP security on both the router and the NB205. That immediately got them talking, at the expense of breaking all of my other wireless links (two computers and a Wii). Then I turned WEP back on, and they stayed talking. No problems since. EDITED: after over two months, still no problem. It was just the one-time startup.

#2 (good): The battery life is pretty danged long. Maybe not the claimed nine hours, but seven or eight (with WiFi turned off and using power-saver profile). I suspect that a good part of that comes from using an e-IPS display.

#3 (bad but expected): The manual is provided on the hard drive, not in print. The manual is disorganized and mostly useless. This seems to be par for the course for modern computers.

#4 (very slightly bad): The manual says that if you shut the unit down by closing the lid (sleep mode, hibernate, or whatever) that when you open the lid it'll start back up. It doesn't. You have to press the power button. EDITED: It will come back on automatically if you've left it plugged into AC power the whole time. It doesn't if it's unplugged, which for me is pretty much "always".

#5 EDITED: (very annoying until I figured out what was wrong): I had given up on using Sleep/Standby mode because about half of the time when I turned it back on the unit completely rebooted. Hibernate mode always seemed to work. The problem turned out to be that one of the latches for the battery pack wasn't locked, and the netbook would lose power if the unit was lifted in a way that tried to separate the pack from the main unit. So it was my own error, but I learned to pay attention to those latches.

#6 (generally good): I got this netbook specifically for writing. The keyboard seemed to be the best available in the netbook form factor, and I'm finding the keyboard to be quite usable for extended typing sessions. A couple of keys got relocated into funky positions, though. (Maybe other netbook keyboards do the same, I don't know.)

#7 (good): The touchpad is the first one that I've found to be actually usable.

#8 (mildly concerning): I had to turn off the vibration alerts because every time I click the touchpad, it sets off the vibration detector.

So... good keyboard, good touchpad, good display, good battery life. That's what I needed, and it's working out well. But I have collected some scars from the rough edges of getting it set up and the power on/off arrangements.

FIVE DAYS LATER (an update): I'm really enjoying this little guy. I finally got everything configured the way that I want, and I love working with it. My only day-to-day complaint is a silly one: I sometimes write while lying down, with my legs bent and the netbook propped against my legs, and in that position the clicker buttons on the touchpad rest against my belly and tend to click when I don't want them to. :-) I've learned to use Fn-F9 to disable the touchpad while I'm doing that.

About Toshiba Mini NB205-N312/BL 10.1-Inch Royal Blue Netbook - 9 Hour Battery Life detail

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #23 in Personal Computers
  • Color: Royal Blue
  • Brand: Toshiba
  • Model: PLL20U-00Q01D
  • Dimensions: 1.27" h x 10.40" w x 7.60" l, 2.93 pounds
  • CPU: Intel Core Solo 1.66 GHz
  • Memory: 1000MB DDR2 SDRAM
  • Hard Disk: 160GB
  • Processors: 1
  • Native resolution: 10.1
  • Display size: 10.1

Features

  • Intel Atom N280 1.66GHz Processor
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 160 GB Hard Drive
  • Windows XP Home, 5800 mAh 6-Cell Battery
  • 10.1" Display

Toshiba Mini NB205-N312/BL 10.1-Inch Royal Blue Netbook - 9 Hour Battery Life Description

Our affordable, super-compact 10.1-inch Toshiba mini NB205 is a stylish companion PC that raises the bar when it comes to portability. It’s also the first mini laptop that lets you enjoy all the benefits of today’s fast-moving digital world, putting you in touch with your favorite people, sites, networks and digital media in ways and places you never imagined. Though small enough to throw in a purse or bag, it’s designed with smart features like a full-sized keyboard and touchpad, long battery life, USB Sleep-and-Charge ports and a hard drive impact sensor that protects your data. So it picks up where smart phones leave off and makes many of today’s netbooks seem like a waste of time. What’s more, to take the worry out of taking it along, the Toshiba mini NB205 also comes with international limited warranty coverage, plus our award-winning service and support.


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