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Toshiba NB520-108 review

Surprising audio performance and battery life from this solid netbook

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1024 x 600
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Good sound quality
  • Solid build quality
  • Excellent battery life
  • Features

Against

  • No DVD drive
  • Dodgy keyboard

Netbooks aren't usually regarded as multimedia machines, with their tiny speakers, compact screens and lack of power. However, Toshiba's NB520-108 aims to smash this trend by featuring designer speakers from audio experts harman/kardon, and the result is surprisingly good.

The Toshiba goes for an understated design with a bevelled dark-brown lid and black interior. We found no flex in any part of the 1.3kg chassis, which thankfully isn't susceptible to picking up dirt or scuff marks.

The chunky battery does add a bit of extra width, so this netbook is just as thick as the MSI Wind U160DX, but it still fits into bags without much trouble.

Despite an initial scepticism, we were really impressed with this netbook's speakers, which produce a powerful and clear sound. Music sounds great, although the speakers are positioned in the palmrest, so your hands cover them when typing.

No DVD drive

Combined with the bright and colourful screen, this netbook isn't a bad way of enjoying films. However, bear in mind that there is no DVD drive, as with most other netbooks, so you will need to carry all of your media on the 250GB hard drive.

Performance is simply average, with a standard Intel Atom N550 processor proving adequate for word processing, browsing the web and similar tasks. However, what sets this netbook apart is the ten-hour battery life, which will happily keep you going on even tedious long-haul flights.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 601 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 67
3DMark 2003: 675

The integrated graphics will capably run only basic multimedia applications, such as stripped-down photo-editing software. Video editing and even watching HD movies is beyond this netbook, and anyone who needs that level of graphical power should consider the Acer Aspire One 522 instead.

Usability is fairly decent, with a firm keyboard that stretches the whole width of the chassis. Our only issue is the space bar, which has to be pushed down fully in the very centre to register.

The touchpad is well sized and perfectly responsive, with two separate buttons for left and right-clicking.

Three USB ports allow you to hook up peripherals such as external mice, and one of them supports Sleep And Charge. A VGA port can be used to attach the netbook to a TV or monitor.

Tosh nb520

Wireless networking is supported via 802.11n Wi-Fi, and there's an Ethernet port for physically connecting to a network.

The NB520-108 is a great little netbook, with a truly impressive battery life and surprisingly powerful speakers. The only quirk we found was the temperamental space bar.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNetbook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity250 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelGMA 3150
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time10 Hour
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Product FamilyMini NB520
Operating System Architecture32-bit
Processor ModelN550
ColourMetallic Brown
Operating SystemWindows 7 Starter
Brand NameToshiba
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypeAtom
Screen Size25.7 cm (10.1")
Screen Resolution1024 x 600
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.32 kg
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots1
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 250 MB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruBrite
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Height35.5 mm
Width262 mm
Depth190 mm
Screen ModeWSVGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesNB520
ManufacturerToshiba
Product ModelNB520-108
Product NameMini NB520-108 Netbook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineMini
Aspect Ratio128:75
Manufacturer Part NumberPLL52E-00E00SEN
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Marketing Information

Premium netbook computing. The NB520 is a stylish 25.7cm (10.1") netbook that combines dual-core processors with Harman Kardon speakers and Dolby Advanced Audio for impressive performance. It features a lightweight design weighing less than 1.33kg and offers up to 10 hours battery life. The textured rubberised design is available in a choice of blue, brown and lime green colours.

Maximum Memory2 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Mini NB520-108 Netbook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year