After being overtaken by the likes of the MSI Wind, and Acer Aspire One, Asus is again back on top with it's Eee PC 1000H - the current reigning champion, with it's classy keyboard, hard drive space, great battery life (though not the cheapest on the block).
Dell has already thrown its hat into the mini-ring with the Inspiron Mini 9 and 12, so we were keen to see how Toshiba's new mini stands up to the Eee 1000H.
Toshiba's entrant is the NB100, a relatively classy looking machine that covers most bases - Atom CPU, 120GB HDD, 1GB RAM, reasonable keyboard, Windows XP. It's an 8.9in unit, so not the biggest in its class (see the 1000H, or Wind for that), but it's reasonably light at a tad over 1Kg.
|Toshiba's NB100: Toshiba has a tough fight on its hand against the ASUS Eee PC 1000H|
Battery Life, the battle goes to Asus
We tested the NB100 with PC Authority's battery benchmarks, which test notebooks in a complete idle state until they run out of juice, then again running a series of intensive application tests.
In the light use test we clocked the Toshiba NB100 at 2 hours and 49 minutes - well behind the ASUS Eee PC 1000H, which clocked in at a whopping 6 hours and 3 minutes. The heavy-use test saw the NB100 manage an admirable 2 hours and 22 minutes. It's not a bad score, and more than enough for most train or bus commutes. Still, it's clear that this is one area the NB100 differs drastically to some of the competition. The ASUS Eee PC 1000H managed a huge 4 hours and 22 minutes in the same test.
The battery story gets more interesting when you take into account that some other new netbooks coming onto the market that come with two batteries - in the case of the N10, you get a 3 and 6 cell battery. We spoke to Toshiba, who told us the NB100 comes with only one battery. Let's be clear, this won't worry most people who only use the NB100 on short commutes. But as netbook prices creep upwards (the NB100 is a $700+ machine) we'd like more battery life for our money, please.
|We clocked the Toshiba NB100 at 2 hours and 49 minutes for light use - well behind the ASUS Eee PC 1000HToshiba's NB100: Toshiba has a tough fight on its hand against the Eee PC 1000H, but better than the 3 cell MSI Wind.|
Mind you, the highly rated MSI Wind U100 actually did worse than the Toshiba NB100 in our tests, managing a measly 2 hours and 30 minutes in our light use test and less than 2 hours in our heavy use test. The Wind can be found for much cheaper than the NB100 (for the moment), and there are reports that 6 cell versions are avilable which will get you better battery life.
Performance passes muster
On the upside, the NB100 is reasonably responsive. We were disappointed with the laggy Dell Inspiron Mini 9 which was weighed down by startup apps - our Toshiba review unit also suffered the curse of being overloaded with startup apps, but it seemed to cope marginally better, running Office 2007 and several IE tabs at the same time, without falling over. That said, we're not entirely pleased with the performance of several Atom machines we've seen of late, this one included.
An other biggie if you're buying a mini-notebook - too small a keyboard and netbooks can be unusable. The NB100's keyboard is just big enough for our liking - it's not the wide keys of the HP Mini Note, nor is it the shrunken keyboard of the Dell Mini 9 (which removes the Fn keys). There are easier keyboards to use - the MSI Wind and Asus Eee PC 1000H are two - but the NB100 does the job.
|The NB100's keyboard isn't the biggest on the block, but it passes muster|
Interestingly, Toshiba has decided against SDD for now, in favour of the old school hard drive. Storage is not to shabby, matching the Acer Aspire one with a 120GB HDD. Looks good to us.
At $730 (listed for $713 on the Toshiba web site), the NB100 is a tough call. The ASUS Eee PC 1000HD (80GB) seems to offer better value on paper, with longer battery life, a better keyboard and bigger screen, and can be found for less than $600. Then there's the MSI Wind, which officially priced at $699, but can be found for much less. Acer's Aspire one, and Dell's Mini 9 also both retail for less than the NB100.
The NB100 covers all the basics for a netbook - XP, 1GB RAM, Atom CPU, and 120GB HDD. We can't help thinking the $700+ starting price and relatively uninspiring battery life mean it will have a hard time usurping the Eee PC 1000H - though for basic commutes, it'll do the job.
Battery life is turning into a major selling point, as we discover when we tested Toshiba's new mini NB100 netbook.
• Toshiba: www.toshiba.com.au
• Price: $730 • CPU model/brand: Intel Atom N270 • CPU speed: 1.66Ghz • Memory capacity: 1GB • Hard drive capacity: 120GB • Flash drive capacity: NA • Internal optical drive: NA • Optical drive type: NA • Graphics type: Integrated • Graphics: Intel GMA950 • Screen size: 8.9in • Screen resolution: 1024x600 • Weight: 1.05Kg • Dimensions WDH: 225x190.5x29.5mm • Ethernet: 10/100 • Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g • Bluetooth ports: Yes • USB ports: 3 • Memory card reader: 2-in-1 • Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP Home • Webcam: 1.3Mp • Manufacturer: Toshiba • Supplier: Toshiba