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Two weeks ago, on a Saturday night, my son Tyler and I went netbook shopping. I know, I know — most folks spend Saturday nights in front of the television, out at the movies or taking in a show. Not us. We go netbook shopping. What […]

toshiba-nb205-netbookTwo weeks ago, on a Saturday night, my son Tyler and I went netbook shopping. I know, I know — most folks spend Saturday nights in front of the television, out at the movies or taking in a show. Not us. We go netbook shopping. What can I say? It’s a father-son bonding ritual in our geeky house.

It took me more than an hour before I settled on the new Toshiba NB205. As far as netbooks go these days, there really aren’t many differences. The vast majority use an Intel Atom processor, run Microsoft Windows XP on 1GB of RAM and offer plenty of hard drive storage space for a little laptop. They all include Wi-Fi, several USB ports and most include some type of memory card slot. The Toshiba NB205 is no exception — but it has three sweet features that make it better than the MSI Wind netbook I purchased last year.

The 3 Features That Won Me Over

netbook-trackpadsTake for example, the trackpad and mouse buttons on the NB205. Instead of one single mouse button used for both left and right clicks — common on netbooks — the NB205 has two distinct buttons. And the size of the trackpad is extremely generous. Compared to the trackpad on my MSI Wind, the NB205 offers nearly double the usable size. It’s actually larger than the trackpad on some full-figured notebooks I use.

Then there’s the Toshiba Power Saver utility, which manages energy settings at the individual component level. That sounds complicated, but the software provides a handful of pre-configured power schemes that do the heavy lifting. When using the utility on the “Long Life” setting, I can work online for nearly eight hours with the NB205’s included 6-cell battery.

Lastly, there’s those USB ports. Like most other netbooks, the NB205 includes three of them. But Toshiba enabled one port with a “sleep and charge” function, which provides power to it even when the device is off. I wouldn’t use such a feature when running this netbook off of the battery, but it comes in handy when I want to, say, charge a phone when the netbook is plugged in. When my netbook is off but connected to an electrical outlet, I can top off the batteries in my handheld devices.

And Now That I Own It…

How much do I like my purchase so far? Even with the included 1GB of RAM —  a standard for netbooks running Windows XP — the NB205 is handling my daily web work with ease in XP. I will be upgrading to 2GB of memory later this week, bringing the RAM in line with what most full-featured notebooks offer these days. As a Microsoft TechNet subscriber, I have early access to the RTM version of Windows 7, so I installed the OS on a second partition for a dual-boot solution. Upon booting the device, I simply choose to run in either XP or Windows 7. When running Windows 7 on the netbook, I find that I’m getting XP performance combined with the additional features of Microsoft’s newest operating system.

Although my computing needs are light, I’m impressed enough with the device that it’s the only one I’m using for my daily work. For 10 hours a day or more, this netbook is now my primary computer. I am taking advantage of the VGA port — a standard inclusion on most netbooks — to drive a 24-inch, 1920×1200 external display in my home office. Netbooks are made to be portable, but why not use a larger display when immobile?

Toshiba-nb205-keyboardTyping on the NB205 is actually a joy, both when mobile or stationary. The island-style keys run nearly edge to edge on the chassis, providing a nearly full-sized keyboard experience in a portable package. Unlike some earlier netbooks, the layout is correct and even offers dedicated Page Up and Page Down keys — which comes in handy when working on the 1024×600 screen, since that resolution requires a fair amount of scrolling.

Toshiba offers the NB205 in four different colors — Frost White, Posh Pink, Onyx Black and Royal Blue. Regardless of the color you choose, the NB205 retails for $399 direct.

By Kevin C. Tofel

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  1. Sounds promising, but Toshiba really needs to drop their crazy non-standard keyboard layout. Notice the ~ key is to the left of the space bar? No no no, that’s sacred space for alt-X shortcuts.

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  2. That Toshiba looks exactly like my 1001HE as far as the keyboard goes and I agree – typing on it is a breeze.

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  3. Correction — 1000HE

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  4. [...] Kevin at GigaOM is in love with his Toshiba netbook, there are some things which I think give the 1000HE the [...]

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  5. yet another ad made to look like a post.

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    1. I’m not sure I follow. I’ve been using netbooks since the first one hit market in October of 2007. I routinely review any and all that I can get my hands on, which is most of them. I’ve purchased three — the original ASUS Eee PC 701, the MSI Wind and now the Toshiba NB205. All were bought out of pocket from my personal funds. I don’t get reimbursed for them, nor were they provided from the respective companies.

      To recap: I researched what the best netbook is for my needs, went to my local Best Buy, bought it out of pocket and shared my reasoning with the readers. In other words — I blogged the experience. Exactly how is that “yet another ad made to look like a post?”

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      1. Don’t mind this one, Kevin. Your article is full of detailed and useful information. Because the article doesn’t complain about anything, he believes that it’s an advertisement for the netbook.

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  6. Great post. I bought one myself thinking with the Best Buy 14 day return policy I could check it out…. Well on Day 14 I decided the Toshiba had earned a home and it stayed. I love the battery life, the bright screen, and one thing the blogger didn’t mention, it has built in blue tooth, a feature missing on other competing products. I also looked at the 11.6in screen Asus models, but the far greater pixel count on the marginally larger screen to me was a negative. The toshiba offered greater clarity on the screen and the extra battery life bonus.

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    1. I believe that Bluetooth is only available on the higher-priced Toshiba netbook models. The basic model does not have it included.

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  7. I bought mine almost in the same week you did..by the way great review also it’s old but I like geeks talk :)

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