Review by LiveFromMichigan:
Well, it looks like I’m first. I have this dream of having a laptop in every room that I use a lot in the house. Mainly my living room and bedroom. I already had two work laptops in my home office and call me lazy but I was tired of carrying the one I use out of the office, up and down the stairs, running out of battery and having to go get the power cord. I decided a netbook might be a good choice for my minor chatting and surfing.
I couldn’t decided between this model and the HP Mini 311. I ended up ordering the HP and buying this one at my local store. This model is very slick looking. I got the Blue one and its very elegant. You wouldn’t mind being seen out with this laptop.
When I got it home I took it out of the box. The battery was already in the netbook but had 0 power so I needed to charge it. I haven’t yet tested how long the battery lasts, I’ll come back to update that.
Out of the box the laptop had me name my netbook then it found my wireless router right away. That was really nice not to have to configure anything. I just put in my routers password and I was on. No work, no hassle no headache.
My unit is running Windows 7 starter edition. I see the Win7 has moved the programs you are running to the bottom of the screen, similar to Mac’s Dock. Microsoft could have made them look a little better but that has nothing to do with this netbook.
I had a few concerns owning a netbook. My husband has one of the original eee Asus Netbooks and I can’t type on those to save my life. Not to mention they get hot enough to cook on. So going in I knew I did not want these two issues.
I have on a pair of thermal (like long johns) material PJ’s and this netbook has been surfed on and chatted with on Aim for the last 7 hours straight. I played a 7 minute youtube video about 10 times trying to get the bottom of the netbook hot. The netbook is a little warm but it never got so uncomfortable I needed to put a book under it. I can’t tell you how happy I am about that.
The trackpad is nice and wide but I have on accident hit it a few times. I think once i’m use to typing on it, this will improve. If not, hopefully I can disable it.
The keyboard is the chicklet style I believe they call it. Similar to those on the MacBook. They are really pretty silver finish but they are also smooth and a little slippery. I think my biggest gripe with this is that they are evenly smooth across the keys. I think a dip in the keys would have given these a better feel. Still for a netbook the spacing on them is quite usable.
I really like the blue and silver color scheme of this netbook. Its small and light weight and I think I can fit it in my purse. And with 9 hours of battery life, I can see why netbooks are really taking off.
So far I’ve only ran into one issue. I had about 12 IE tab windows in total open and I was in chat and I hit a slow down where IE barely responded. At the time my memory was nearly 800MB. I think once I take this up to 2 gigs then it will be fine. I’ve since installed Google Chrome and its been even more snappy.
This unit has a generous amount of USB connectors. At 3 it has more then my MacBook has which is great in this tiny package. It also has a ethernet port, Mic and Headset jack, and of course a SD/SDHC card slot.
With its long batter life, like weight, great style, I think I am going to enjoy carrying this around and not minding it.
My youtube video up until I had to much running actually played quite well. I didn’t notice any slow downs until I over taxed the system.
This notebook is almost perfect. The biggest gripe of all I have is the sound. Its nearly non-existent on this netbook. I think the biggest issue is the placement of the speaker. Its underneath the netbook and gets covered by your lap. Nothing a headset can’t solve but I thought I would point it out.
**Update** I wrote this at 3am and in my rush to get to bed, I forgot to mention two important things.
1. The screen. The screen is just gorgeous for a netbook. Its bright, and colorful and even when you pull it off of AC power to go to the battery it dims a little but not so much that it becomes uncomfortable.
Keep in mind it does have a terrible 1024 x600 which only affects how much scrolling you’ll do. As far as text goes, its very sharp and readable.
2. The Battery. I’m currently using the Netbook on battery and I find that it remains cool. It hasn’t heated up on me after about an hour of use.
The next part about the battery is that it juts out the back about an inch so that its not flush against the netbook. This will probably mean you may have to get a bigger case besides the 10.1 inch size. Even though the battery sticks out the back, it does sit flat on a flat surface. The battery doesn’t raise the back end up at all.
** End of Update One**
As promised I said I’d be back after testing the battery. I unplugged the AC power at exactly 12 Noon. Between 12 noon and 12 midnight, I’ve had a 2 hour nap, and 1 hour watching my favorite TV show. The netbook set idle and went into sleep mode during those times. Before I went to sleep I stuck my iPhone on it so it could charge it. This took my battery down to about 94% by the time I awaken again. It is now 11:55PM or five til midnight. That’s 12 hours being off AC power. I am at 13% battery life.
Subtracting time for my nap and TV watching, I had roughly 9 hours of battery life. This was only using it to surf and chat. I haven’t run youtube videos or anything like that. I didn’t do any energy savings to try and get more life from it. I used whatever it defaults to and I’m really happy with it. Before when I tried to conserve battery the screen would be so dark I could barely see it. This has been a pleasure to use.
I’ve used it on my lap all day. No heat issues. The palm rest stays cool and the bottom is barely warm. I’ve yet to install any ”real” programs on here besides Aim. I will attempt Microsoft Office 2007 once I have that 2GB stick and i’ll let you all know how that goes.
I have a 2GB stick coming tomorrow. I will update more later.
Also, I’m completely use to the keys now. My one point off is for the sound. Its REALLY low. It is a netbook, but if sounds important to you without using a headset, this isn’t the netbook for you.
**End of Update 2**
I plugged the net book in last night a little after midnight at 10% remaining charge. I find while the battery last a long time, it takes a long time to charge. I took about 3 hour and 40 minutes give or take a few minutes to go back to 100% charge. Still, for the battery life you get I think thats small, however it may stop you from wanting to buy a second battery.
Another side note, I’m finding a few of my XP/Vista programs won’t install. Microsoft messenger and Aim installed fine. My 3m Post-it-notes (XP and Vista compatible)won’t. This isn’t because of the netbook but because of windows starter. Apparently if you upgrade to one of the the other Windows 7 offerings, their is compatibility with XP and Vista. Windows 7 Starter is crippled because of this. They’ve even taken away your ability to change your desktop background, you have to pay the 80 dollar premium if you want these features. I thought I would point this out, while 80 for an Upgraded OS is not bad, it is expensive when its nearly 1/4 the cost of the netbook. XP while old was still a full OS and I myself never had a problem with it getting the job done. If you wait until there is a Windows 7 Version you’ll be fine but it could mean buying software over you already own, making Microsoft’s upgrade cheaper in the end.
I just popped in 2GB of memory. I can confirm the one spot that gets warm on the netbook is the memory. I’m very surprised I feel no heat from the hard drive.
This review has turned into a book. I may comeback if I find anything worth while to inform you about.
**End of update Three**
Per request, I’ve started testing video playback. I played a couple of YouTube videos and the playback was pretty smooth. I didn’t notice any jerkiness and it was actually better then I thought it would be. I also watched a few clips on Hulu and as long as it wasn’t in full screen mode, playback was pretty smooth. In full screen model I notice some very subtle frame drops or skips. I say subtle because I was studying it to see if I noticed anything. If I hadn’t been looking for it I’m not sure if it would have hampered by experience or not.
I finally tested a pair of headphones and Music playback was smooth and nice and loud, so a headset won’t be an issue with this Netbook.
I noticed when I’m installing programs that the memory does heat up. Thats the only time I noticed it heating up beyond its normal temps. I wish I had a temp monitor so I could see what idle temps are. If I find one I’ll post it.
If you want better Video playback, go with the HP 311. The Nvidia ION 9400 is going to be a lot better for video and output in HD.
**end of update.**
**Update December 10,2009**
I wanted to revise and add a new negative to my review. First the sound I discovered once I plugged my headset in and the realtek manager pops up showed the sound wasn’t all the way up. So my sound isn’t as weak as I thought. However it is still low just not nearly as bad as I first thought.
My main negative, I notice every now and then when using the touch pad that it won’t response to my finger swipes. This last for 1 to 5 seconds and then its fine again but it is annoying when it happens. I would say it happens several times a day now for me. I did some searching around and it seems this is a issue a lot of people are having. It cropped up on Toshiba’s forums if anyone wants to do a search on it.
Since my sound isn’t quite as horrible and now I have this touch pad issue, I’ll leave my review at 4 stars. Hopefully Toshiba will come up with a fix.
**End of Update.**
I think that about covers it. Feel free to comment and leave questions and I will answer them if you need help deciding if you want to buy it.
I will be real curious to see how this stacks up against the HP Mini 311 when it comes in.