Toshiba NB305 review

Price when reviewed

While many netbooks blur into an identikit haze, one proving all but indistinguishable from another, Toshiba’s NB200 was one of the few which dared to buck the trend. Now, like every other netbook manufacturer around the world, Toshiba has given its netbook darling a lick of paint, toned down the less attractive bulges around its figure and added Intel’s latest Atom processor for good measure. Behold, the Toshiba NB305.

It’s still unmistakably familiar, Toshiba’s logo boldly emblazoned across the grooved, cream white lid, but the NB305 has emerged both sleeker and sexier than its predecessor. The battery, a once unsightly blemish jutting out from its rear, now softens into a gentle bulge on the underside, a choice which tilts the NB305’s keyboard forward just a tad. The rest of the makeover is more subtle, but no less effective. The once lumpen base softens into a wedge-like design, its chamfered corners and thin front edge cutting a more stylish dash.

The temptation to fiddle just for the sake of it might have been simply too much for some manufacturers, but Toshiba has studiously left the NB200’s keyboard well alone. Those wide, squat keys look odd, but give them a chance and you’ll be glad you did. Keys fall under the finger with refreshing ease, and the spacious layout and good feel are the making of the NB305. Even the wide trackpad and large, individual buttons beneath are significantly better than many of the netbooks on the market.

As the priciest model in Toshiba’s netbook lineup, the NB305 also boasts 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth, while all the usual ports and connectors are in evidence. Three USB ports adorn the NB305’s flanks, while an SD card reader, a D-SUB output (no, there’s still no HDMI) and a cluster of useful status lights are dotted around elsewhere. There’s even a motion sensor to park the hard disk’s drive heads when vibration is detected: a decidedly sensible feature for a netbook.

Toshiba NB305

It’s not that the NB305 doesn’t suffer from the usual netbook afflictions. The 10.1in display, for instance, is just as cramped as ever thanks to its 1,024 x 600 pixel resolution. Image quality certainly isn’t a problem, though: the glossy finish gives images plenty of punch and colours are about as vibrant and well-handled as you’ll find on any netbook currently on the market.

Intel’s Pine Trail platform is also a bit of a damp squib in real-world terms: there’s no more performance on tap than with the previous generation Atom platform and not even a sniff of extra grunt in the graphics department. You can wave goodbye to HD video from YouTube or iPlayer for a start. A result of 0.31 in our benchmarks drums home the message: set your sights on basic tasks such as internet, email, perhaps a little music, and you won’t come away disappointed.

Some might complain that Windows 7 Starter has to take some of the blame for sapping the Atom’s already limited horsepower, but we’d struggle to justify a return to the days of XP Home. Microsoft’s stripped-down version of Windows 7 feels snappy enough in use, and the slick interface and supreme ease-of-use really are a great match for a low-powered netbook. It doesn’t seem to affect battery life badly either, the NB305 managing to last 8hrs 41mins in our light use battery tests before finally expiring.

Many netbooks can match the Toshiba NB305 when it comes to features, performance or battery life, but it’s the Toshiba’s all round panache and pleasing usability which nudges it a whisker ahead of the netbook pack. Admittedly, such accomplishment comes at a higher price, but we think the extra is eminently worth paying.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions266 x 193 x 36mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.8kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N450
Motherboard chipsetIntel NM10
RAM capacity1.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,024
Resolution screen vertical600
Resolution1024 x 600
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 3150
Graphics card RAM0MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity233GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskFujitsu MJA2250BH G2
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A
Battery capacity5,600mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use8hr 41min
Battery life, heavy use4hr 44min
Overall application benchmark score0.31
Office application benchmark score0.31
2D graphics application benchmark score0.34
Encoding application benchmark score0.30
Multitasking application benchmark score0.28
3D performance (crysis) low settingsN/A
3D performance settingN/A

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Starter
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition

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