Toshiba NB510 review

Price when reviewed

The netbook fad may have died down, but Toshiba is one of several manufacturers keen to prove there’s life in the form-factor yet. Its little NB510 looks strikingly similar to last year’s model from the outside, but it’s the first to sport Intel’s Cedar Trail update to the Atom platform.

Cedar Trail isn’t a huge update, but it does bring some improvements. It brings a die-shrink to a 32nm fabrication process, a change that promises lower power consumption and less heat output. It now has support for faster DDR3-800 and DDR3-1066 RAM (the previous models topped out at DDR3-667), and although the CPU architecture remains relatively unchanged from the previous Pineview platform, the integrated GPU gets a big boost.

Cedar Trail waves goodbye to the old GMA 3150 and ushers in the all-new GMA 3600 and 3650 cores – tweaked versions of PowerVR’s SGX 545 chipset. Where their predecessor struggled even with standard-definition video streaming, the new generation introduces Full HD hardware decoding. It’s a change that means you can expect to see HDMI ports appearing as standard on Cedar Trail netbooks.

Toshiba NB510

The Toshiba NB510 uses the slower of the two Cedar Trail processors, the 1.6GHz Atom N2600, and after just a few minutes it’s clear CPU performance is as modest as ever. Put to the test with our Real World Benchmarks, the new Atom delivered an overall score of 0.21 – exactly on a par with the previous generation.

But the GMA 3600 GPU is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Testing Crysis on a netbook is faintly ludicrous, but where it wouldn’t even run on last year’s models, the Toshiba NB510 limped through our 1,366 x 768 Low detail test with an average of 6fps. It’s not enough to turn the Atom into a gamer, but the extra power may just about be enough for basic titles.

It’s video playback that sees the biggest improvement, however. All of our local Full HD test clips played smoothly, and although YouTube HD content was choppy at 1080p, dropping the resolution to 720p delivered a much smoother frame rate. Equally, HD content from BBC’s iPlayer didn’t fare too well in our initial tests, but a Flash update buoyed the frame rate to a watchable standard. Video playback still isn’t perfect – there’s the odd dropped frame here and there and the scaling leaves HD images looking a bit rough around the edges – but it’s a huge step up from the last generation.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions262 x 187 x 35mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.5kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N2600
Motherboard chipsetIntel NM10
RAM capacity2.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
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 3600
Graphics card RAMN/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity298GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical drivenone
Battery capacity4,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
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
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks1
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 46min
Battery life, heavy use5hr 45min
3D performance (crysis) low settings6fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.21
Responsiveness score0.39
Media score0.15
Multitasking score0.09

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Starter 32-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition

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