Toshiba NB200-11L Inverness
Toshiba's smart entry into the netbook market has an unfussy design, with a subtle, diagonal pinstripe pattern on the glossy lid. Inside, the matt black plastic has a slightly glittery finish. The tubular hinge assembly has the power button set into its centre, and the six-cell battery protrudes from the rear.
Samsung's impressive netbooks finally have some competition when it comes to battery life. The NB200 ran for an extraordinary nine hours and 12 minutes in our light-usage tests. This is one of the best results we've ever seen. It's enough to last you for the duration of a transatlantic flight, never mind a train commute.
One reason for its amazing performance is its LED backlit screen, which uses less power than standard fluorescent-lit displays. It's also very bright, and we found the colours natural and contrast good. The 10in screen has a wide bezel, which makes it seem a little smaller than it actually is. It uses a glossy finish, which makes colours sharper but picks up reflections from bright light sources.
We were initially impressed by the keyboard, which uses practically the entire width of the case. Closer inspection revealed an unusual key layout, however. For example, the backslash key is placed to the right of the space bar. The Ctrl, Function and other utility keys along the bottom are half-width at only 12mm wide. Although the letters are big enough, touch-typists may have trouble when using these smaller keys. The keyboard's action is also much too light, and we felt little feedback from the keys, making touch-typing rather frustrating. The touchpad is much better, with a large, smooth area and big buttons set right on the edge of the case.
In other areas, the NB200-11L ticks all the netbook boxes: it has three USB ports, along with a 160GB hard disk and 802.11b/g wireless networking. Its N270 Atom processor is the most common processor used in netbooks, and offered no surprises in our benchmarks. It provides similar performance to other netbooks - enough for email, web browsing and light office tasks. Windows XP is installed, and you also get Microsoft Works 8.5.
The NB200-11L has all the features you'd expect in a netbook. The superb battery life and smart design are definite advantages, but the keyboard could be frustrating for those who will be doing a lot of typing. If a five-hour battery life is sufficient, MSI's Wind U100 is a better, and cheaper, choice. If longevity is important to you, then we recommend spending the extra £41 on Samsung's N120.
1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1GB RAM, 160GB disk, Intel GMA 950 graphics, 10.1in widescreen LCD, Windows XP Home Edition, 32x263x212mm, 1.3kg, one-year international collect-and-return warranty
Power consumption: 0W standby, 7W idle, 15W active
A smart design and excellent battery life make the NB200-11L appear great value, but it's let down by a mediocre keyboard.
Author: Barry de la Rosa