557 of 562 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2010
Color Name: Frost WhiteVerified Purchase
I have been in the market for a netbook for over a year now. I have spent many a hour pouring over reviews online, watching youtube unboxings and reviews, and actually doing a lot of hands on in retail stores with all of the options out there. I am thrilled to say that after only 24 hours with the Toshiba NB305-N410WH, I know that I waited for just the right one.
The reviews for its' predecessor (the NB205) had put that netbook on the top of most professional reviewers list. And, indeed in my own hands on tests, it was right at the top as well. My main concern was the battery that stuck out of the back on that model. I had come close to overlooking this drawback, as I was so pleased with the rest of the model. What kept me from it was a concern I had read from some reviews indicating that sometimes streaming video would skip or get stuck (a universal concern on most netbooks)either due to processor or graphics.
Here is why I LOVE this little fella:
* The battery issue has been totally adressed, and in fact, upgraded. They have redesigned it and no more ugly bulge of battery sticking out of the back. Plus, they now say it has an 11 hour battery. My test of this gave me around 9.5 hours doing very basic surfing and setup. Not quite 11 hours, but am still elated with 9.5 hours. I can now really feel comfortable about leaving the power cable at home for the day. (however, the power cable is actaully fairly small) (Update 1/21/10--In further testing of the battery life, I seem to now be averaging more like 7 hours under heavy usage, meaning video watching and constant use. I am still more than happy with that. Light usage will give you more like the 9.5 hours I mentioned.)
* I'm extremely happy with the performance. Everyone needs to keep in mind that netbooks have never been designed for processor intensive tasks, but this little guy rocks! The new "Pinetrail" Atom N450 platform seems to be a great fit for this netbook. The graphics engine is updated, as well. I have had absolutely no delays in any streaming video on YouTube or Netflix. (I did notice just a bit of stuttering in Hulu only when watching something full screen but this isn't an issue for me.) Surfing is snappy and responsive, just the way that I like it. For anyone that may have been on the fence about getting a netbook because they were concerned it might not perform, hop right off that fence and get the NB305. Seriously, I have a Macbook Pro and Dell laptop and this one has instantly become my "go to" for surfing on the couch or from bed. And, I know this will be the one I now take anywhere out of the house.
* The overall look and feel of the NB305 is truly "best in class". My big gripe with a ton of netbooks out there is their glossy covers-especially the black, but even other color glossy covers are fingerprint magnets. They just always look smudged and feel cheap to me. I got the textured white model and just love it. Even though I am sure it is all plastic, too, it just looks more expensive. The cover totally repels fingerprints and just "feels good". The keyboard and trackpad have received universal love in the previous model and I absolutely agree. The keyboard is extremely easy to type on. No issues at all for me there. The trackpad is truly a selling feature as it is multi-touch. I have this on my Macbook Pro and LOVE it on this netbook. I love being able to do the 2 finger scroll up and side to side. It really makes surfing the web a joy. (I now curse my Dell for not having this.) This model actually reduced it's weight to 2.6 lbs making it super easy to take with you. The bottom does heat up a bit but I never felt uncomfortable having it directly on my lap. (Update 2/20/10: Ok, there have been times when it has been uncomfortable on my lap. Especially if you are blocking the vents, which is easy to do when on your lap. I now just set it on the protective sleeve I bought for it and we're good to go.) This new model has sleeker look than previous models, a little more streamlined in the front. Overall, form factor gets a big A+.
So, there are a couple areas for improvement, however, I don't think they are "deal breakers" given the other areas where the NB-305 excels:
1) The speakers are not great. Actually, they're pretty bad compared to my Mac and Dell. This is definitely an area to improve on, but have found this to be true of all the netbooks I have been able to hear. I'm not saying that you can't hear what you are watching, but I will plan on using earbuds for watching video or listening to music.
2) I'm a little bugged that these just come with Windows7 Starter and not Windows7 Home Premium. I feel a little "punked" into having to pay an extra $80 for the upgrade (which was extremely simple and fast, by the way. I was able to do it right online--no need for external optical drive). Some people will be fine with Windows7 Starter as it does allow you to do basic functions, but I ultimatley had to cave in and upgrade. You aren't able to personalize things in Windows7 Starter, which was a minor but grating flaw. (On a side note, I am really liking Windows7 Home Premium. This netbook handles it fine.)
3) I'm kinda concerned that this did not come with any restore cd's. Yes, I realize that this doesn't have a cd/dvd drive, but I guess I just like the comfort of having them if needed. I know that I should back up the system on my own, but I guess I just am not sure what happens if the OS crashes or hard drive has to be replaced. I think there must be new ways to restore, nowadays. I guess I will hopefully never cross that bridge.
4) (Update 2/20/10: It does get quite warm around the vents. This may or may not be an issue for you. I can deal with it.)
Overall, I think you can see that I am obviously extremely happy with this purchase. If you have been waiting to buy a netbook, I would give this one some serious thought. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!
(UPDATE 1/19/10: I did upgrade to 2GB of memory and would recommend it. I didn't really need to, but can't resist trying to upgrade my gadgets, and everything is just a little faster and I just watched Heros on Hulu full screen and didn't notice issues that I had before. I didn't even mind the speakers come to think of it--although the speakers are still the only weak link hardware wise. Installing the memory is a snap. You just need a tiny Philips screwdriver to remove one screw from back cover, pop out the old, pop in the new, replace the cover and boot it back up. It was recognized by the netbook with no problems. There is a video on YouTube on doing this to the NB205 model and the process is exactly the same for the NB305. Still very happy.)
(UPDATE 2/20/10: The type of memory that I got was the one that Amazon usually suggests: Crucial Technology CT25664AC800 2GB 200-pin SODIMM DDR2 PC2-6400 Memory Module.
I also purchased CaseCrown sleeve: CaseCrown Double Memory Foam Netbook Pouch (White Faux Suede) to Carry the Toshiba Mini NB305 10.1-inch Netbook Very happy with that, too. Fits like a glove and makes it super easy to transport the NB305 and feel it is very protected.
Overall, still extremely happy.)
676 of 728 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2010
Color Name: Black Onyx
I regretfully gave the Toshiba NB305-N310 three stars after thorough research and intense hands-on evaluation. For the hardware alone, it clearly deserves five stars. But I was generous in only deducting two stars for the software and its nefarious intent.
If you are capable of, and have the time for, a complete reinstall of Windows or Linux and reinstallation of some number of the thirty-seven drivers and utility files from the Toshiba Website, then you will have a five-star netbook.
If you are not, then this netbook, like so many others, will not really be your friend. Or else it will be like a bad friend who spies on you, monitors you, deceives you, and leaves your home wide open while housesitting.
My reasons and criteria for finally selecting this netbook will undoubtedly be different than those of others. But I assure you, I have considered even those elements which did not concern me as well as issues and reviews concerning the other NB305 models that I did not purchase: The NB305-N410 in White, Blue, and Brown.
I will review the Toshiba NB305-N310 while at the same time describing the differences between it and the NB305-N410 models (which are simply different colors).
In advance, I will say that the essential differences between the NB305-N310 and the NB305-N410 are, respectively:
Keyboard Type: Flat Squares --- OR --- Embedded Buttons
Hard Disk Size: 160 GB --- OR --- 250 GB
Lid Texture: Shiny and smooth --- OR --- matte
Color Choices: Black --- OR --- Brown, Blue, or White
Operating System: Windows XP SP 3 --- OR --- Windows 7 Starter Edition
Initial Price at Amazon: $349 --- OR --- $399
A lot of netbooks brag about full keyboards, yet the PageUp, PageDown, Home, and End keys are still embedded under the four Arrow keys and require also holding down the "Fn" key to use them. This has been a main sticking point for me.
A few netbooks, like the Samsungs, only embed the Home and End keys and give the other two their own physical keys. The Samsung NC20, though, also provides independent keys for all four functions. It also has a nice 1280 pixel wide screen and a satisfactory battery life. But for me, its 12" size would have failed my personal requirement of getting a netbook that was smaller than my existing 12" laptops.
But note that the NB305 comes with two distinct keyboards.
This N310 comes with one type. While the three colors of the N410, like the NB200 Series that is the predecessor of this NB300 Series, come with a different type.
There is some confusion in the nomenclature in the specs, in the early reviews, and even in my own understanding.
Some say the N410 has a chiclet keyboard. Others say, "No, the N310 has the chiclet keyboard. The N410 has a 'piano' keyboard." In the end, they may both be chiclet varieties, but they are quite different.
So let me describe them to you in layperson's terms.
The N310's keys are flat, black, plastic squares with white characters. They attach to the base as on a normal keyboard, by sitting on unseen stems. All you see are the flat, square keys and a narrow space around each side, exposing the tray beneath. They are like keys on a normal keyboard except that they are mostly flat and level with the palm rests and are not like little towers rising up from the base.
The keys on the N410, on the other hand, are smaller, leaving much more room around them. And they rise up through holes in the open netbook's surface much like buttons on a home or cell phone.
Some claim that the extra space around each key makes it more difficult to accidentally press adjacent keys while typing. Sure, but only because it is also harder to hit the key you are actually aiming for.
I found both keyboards acceptable, Even feeling that the N410 was a bit cooler looking, but concluded, like some of the reviewers of the N410, that it was a bit unresponsive, quirky, and slow for doing a lot of typing.
For me, this was the biggest reason for getting the N310 instead of the more expensive N410, despite its having a smaller hard drive.
Let it also go without saying that, for both keyboards, there are no ergonomic issues about size and comfortability. As netbooks go, they are among the very best keyboards out there. I highly recommend both types, at least in Toshiba's implementation of them.
The NB200 Series predecessor began life with a flush battery that unfortunately didn't provide much battery life. Toshiba tried to rectify things by including one that stuck embarrassingly out of the back and defeated the whole purpose of such a portable device.
Be thoroughly assured that the battery on the NB300 Series no longer sticks out of the back. Though it does have a slight downward curved protrusion under the laptop such that it raises the back of the laptop, but in a totally useful and acceptable manner.
I'm getting between 9 and 10 hours and I have the display at its brightest and most other power-saving features unused. So with some parsimony, you can probably get the advertised 11.08 hours. Very nice.
But this does include my having disabled services, deleted and uninstalled programs, and cleaned up a lot of clutter and startup programs.
I am a bit surprised that Toshiba did not upgrade the resolution on the NB300 Series but stayed instead with the 1024X600.
For portable writing and Internet research, it is more than satisfactory. Besides, the brightness and quality is otherwise superb, and the lower resolution adds to the battery life.
It has not proved to be much of a problem, at all. I keep reminding myself that it wasn't long ago that the 1024 pixel width was considered spacious. Of course the height does not match the height from those days: 600 instead of 768.
If resolution is a major issue, though, consider the aforementioned Samsung NC20 with a nice standard 1280x800, or the Acer line which pioneered the 1366 resolution.
MOUSE TRACKPAD AND BUTTONS
Like everyone seems to agree, the trackpad is huge for a netbook. It is almost twice as wide as the one on my XPS M1330 laptop. It provides for multitouch for you people who like to pinch things. And the buttons are large, front-sloping, and very nice to press.
I haven't bought the 2 GB upgrade yet. I need to do some more research. Toshiba, Amazon, and retail store salespeople are all recommending the 667 GHz. But some reviewers mention that 800 GHz will also work and provides a better experience. So I'm waiting to confirm.
But, you know what, everything's been totally cool like this for now. Just an occasional slight drag on some videos which I'm sure will disappear with 2 GB.
The hard drives were 160 GB and 250 GB respectively. No big deal. It will just make things a little more cramped when I repartition and place Linux Mint alongside Windows XP, as I do on all PCs.
The N310 only comes in black. The N410 comes in brown, blue, or white. Its lid is matted and does not attract fingerprints. The N310's lid is a shiny black with a faint diagonal pattern on it. It does attract fingerprints. But if you minimize how recklessly you touch it and wipe them off as they occur you won't face the kinds of apocalypses other netbook users complain of.
The inside of the N310 is a pleasant matte black aluminum around the screen and around the keyboard and on the palm rests and trackpad buttons. The inside of the N410 is silver aluminum, while the frame around the display matches the exterior color.
The netbook sits about 10.5" x 7.5", the height varies from 1.5" at the back to 0.5" at the front. And, of course, 3.5" in the middle (just kidding).
The weight is advertised at 2.6 pounds. And I'll take their word on it, but it seems heavier than my 4.5-pound XPS M1330 laptop. But what do I know? I gained twenty pounds and didn't know it until I stood on a scale.
Unlike a couple of reviewers of the N410, I have not found the unit to get hot at all. And the air vent on the N310 is on the side. Though one reviewer said the N410's vents were underneath, I am not certain about that.
Across the palm rest, between the trackpad and the first row of keys is a half-circle dip that runs like a trench across the width of the keyboard. It is handy to rest your fingertips in when your are using the mouse.
It also has nicely-gripping rubber feet.
Three USB ports (one can charge cell phones, etc),SDHC Card Reader, 10/100 Ethernet, Wireless B, G, and N, Video Out, Mic and Headphone ports, speakers under the front corners, and a WebCam with its own Mic.
The AC adapter is small and manageable, if you need to bring it along. and its two-piece cord is of sufficient length.
SOFTWARE - OPERATING SYSTEM
As I said earlier, the N310 comes with Windows XP Service Pack 3 while the N410 comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition.
Operating system was, along with battery life, small size, and keyboard, a high priority. I did not wish to get any netbook with Windows Vista or Windows 7, unless I knew I could reinstall it with Windows XP.
I'm sure I could have put XP on the N410 after the fact since it comes on the N310 and all these NB300 Series models have identical processors, motherboards, and video cards. But the keyboard finally clinched it for the N310 and luckily, that was the one that had XP.
During the Vista period, most netbooks still came with XP. Now, with the emergence of Windows 7, what few gains in performance that newer netbooks have achieved have been squandered by Windows 7's resource demands and Vista-like performance and essence. XP is still the smarter choice for a netbook.
Windows XP came on a single 700 MB CD. Windows 7 requires not just a DVD, but a Dual Layer one, twelve times the size of a CD.
And if that were not enough, you only get the so-called Starter Edition. Imagine, for the first time, an operating system that only allows three programs to be open at a time and doesn't allow cosmetic or other user changes.
Had I decided to get the N410, I would have immediately reinstalled Windows XP Pro onto it, anyway, and dual-booted it with my favorite Linux, Linux Mint.
SOFTWARE - OTHER
Following closely behind the Windows 7 Starter Edition disappointment is the sheer excess of installed Toshiba and third party applications and the outright offensive levels of tracking and spying they have been designed for.
The junk includes cluttering trial versions of Microsoft Office 2007 and Norton Internet Security, Microsoft Works, all the many violations committed by Adobe, like Flash and the Reader, and all the offenses by Sun Microsystems' popular Java.
I am still wading through the thirty-seven drivers and utilities that Toshiba, themselves, installs, most of which are running at startup and further draining resources.
But, clutter and resource drains aside, the even bigger problem with the software Toshiba foists on their customers is that it is pernicious in its efforts to spy on, track, and monitor you.
Adobe and Java both install BHOs in Internet Explorer.
Toshiba's tfbPinger is a shameless spying service that has been made almost impossible to remove, located in multiple places so, like a virus, it can recreate itself after attempts to remove it. It is constantly trying to connect to somewhere. It's not my job to find out where, just to put an end to it.
Toshiba also welcomes and installs a set of games from Wild Tangent. In the earlier days of Windows 98 and 2000, theirs was one of the most difficult "viruses" to remove from client's computers. Though, this time, they were, surprisingly, better-behaved during removal than some of the other Toshiba applications and services. I guess they've gone legit.
Even the Webcam lights up occasionally, as if taking a picture of me, then tries to connect to the Internet. I guess I should be flattered. But I'm not. Now I know how Robert Pattinson and Elijah Wood feel. I wish.
And Update programs from all the unwanted software are constantly trying to "check for updates."
There is also a folder in the root with a name like DC6986B7885R807F36D7845CDF that is almost impossible to enter, modify, or delete (it appears to be the repository where the uninstalled Windows resides, since Toshiba does not provide you with reinstallation CDs or DVDs).
And of course, the nefarious Google Toolbar is preinstalled without even asking to accept any license terms.
Certainly no new machine enters our offices or attaches through our network that has not been first stripped down to its bare essentials, repartitioned and reformatted, and then reinstalled with known software and applications.
Whichever model you buy, get the drivers from the Website and reinstall a pure copy of your preferred Windows or Linux.
But if you, instead, intend to work the mess, start by installing a bidirectional firewall that will block all the constant attempts by Toshiba and the other software to secretly contact unknown Websites, to do surreptitious updates, and to turn your computer into a wide-open server (Java in particular).
Then, slowly unravel the mess by uninstalling software, disabling dangerous services, and removing programs from the startup folders and registry (especially the update programs that are always running).
If you don't intend to secure it, but just to put it to use in your daily life, then your privacy will be an illusion and you will have actually spent money to enslave yourself in some yet unknown manner.
I have, as I said, deducted a mere two stars for either the evil agenda behind the type of software installed or the trouble required to remove or replace it. Both are unacceptable, but, obviously, we have entered that age, in the convergence of politics and technology, where the computer makers like Toshiba and others probably collect additional income from the designated third-party spying entities, and who knows exactly who else, in order to install those parties' tracking and spying applications and be done with it.
So there you have it. A Japanese company gladly complying nefariously with entities in the US against our better interests and to our ultimate detriment.
If you've got reinstallation software that you trust, and you don't mind taking the time, then this is a great netbook. If not, I don't know what to tell you. And I don't know how possible such independence and autonomy will be in the future.
Windows XP, the last Microsoft operating system that, with some time and effort, can be made safe and secure from cyber criminals and from institutions that should know better. After that, we're all on our own.
With increased DRM, unfair licensing terms, and the continuation of Product Activation, I, for one, have moved most of my machines to Linux. Linux Mint in particular. It runs great dual-booting on all my newer laptops and even on my older desktops.
It is the antithesis of the trend to use our technology, more and more often, as a tool of enslavement and disrespect. It may be the only hope, despite the wonderful advances in hardware, for the future of free and unfettered computing.
82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2010
Color Name: Royal BlueVerified Purchase
I will admit this is my first netbook but I do have two laptops and two other desktops in the house. The keyboard is absolutely great on this machine, it is what attracted me to the Toshiba initially. I have had this machine for about a week now and so far there is nothing that I can really complain about. The battery life is incredible, although I have yet to try to drain it. Today the machine was on, but not in constant use, for over six hours and it still showed 40% battery life. The screen is very good and even though only 10.1" I am forgetting that I'm on a small machine. Very spacious hard drive at 250GB. This prompted me to permanently move my iTunes collection to this machine so that I can update my podcasts and sync regularly while travelling.
I purchased the machine primarily as a personal and entertainment machine while travelling for business. I am able to keep it next to my full size work laptop while responding to email or other tasks and easily "jump" over to it to access Gmail or Facebook (prohibited on the company issued laptop). I have also used it to stream Netflix while in a hotel with little issue, any issues were mainly to poor wifi coverage in the room.
Toshiba has done a very nice job of setting up a variety of very useful Function+F key shortcuts. Mute,Lock,Sleep,Power Mode,Hibernate,Brightness,Wifi can all be accessed with a quick keystroke.
The sleep mode actually works very well and "wakes" to a ready to use state in mere seconds.
Win7 Starter is really not bad, little functionality has been removed so as to keep the user from bogging down the system with too many option but still I find very usable and you really don't miss the removed functions. You can look a very good comparison matrix by Paul Thurrott at his Winsupersite Website
Since this machine is upgradeable to 2GB of RAM I most likely will just to pepp it up a but right now I LOVE THIS MACHINE and recommend it highly to anyone, even if a little on the pricey side!
I've been using this machine for several weeks now and am completely satisfied so far. I have had no problems what so ever. I intend to upgrade to 2GB of RAM but have not yet and can only believe the performance will get better. On the heaviest days of usage I can usually get 7-8 hours on the battery. I have been using this machine to stream Netflix usually without issue with a strong WIFI signal. I have installed Office 2007 and have not had any problems. I have Skype installed but have not used it for voice calls yet. I will be taking this to Mexico. I will update again on the performance then!
Toshiba Mini NB305-N410BL 10.1-Inch Royal Blue Netbook
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2010
Color Name: Java BrownVerified Purchase
Let me start by saying that I read nearly every review on Amazon for this product before buying it. Some of the reviews actually seem to be for related Toshiba netbooks which have slightly different features. I am not sure if this is due to users posting reviews in the wrong place, or Amazon aggregating reviews for closely related products, but potential customers should make sure the reviewer is actually reviewing the correct product when considering their praise or criticism.
In any case, if you are considering a netbook, and you actually KNOW WHAT A NETBOOK IS, and what it should be used for, you will be happy with this netbook. I have owned it for several days now and I am loving it. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject:
1. The keyboard:
It is great. I have not yet sat down to serious long hours of typing. I will though, as this netbook will be my main tool for finishing my thesis and eventually writing my dissertation. For the page or so I have written on it, it has been extremely comfortable. I have found in the past that I can adjust pretty well to typing on weird keyboards. I had a first gen EeePC and I was able to get used to that horrible thing. This keyboard, however, required no adjustment. I was typing pretty easily from the beginning.
2. The screen size:
Works for me. It is a little cramped on certain websites, but a quick F11 to make the browser full-screen seems to usually do the trick.
3. The speed:
Here, and on point 4 (OS), is where my review may not be helpful to all readers. I immediately purchased the crucial 2GB memory upgrade. It actually arrived before my netbook did. I started up the machine right out of the box and ran through the first time setup before shutting down and installing the RAM, though. Everything seemed to be decently responsive. Nevertheless, people concerned with speed should read the next portion of my review where I talk about...
4. The operating system:
Windows 7 Starter seemed to work fine. Since, however, I am a grad student and get somewhat of a discount on Microsoft products, I opted to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional pretty soon after purchase. I have to say, I did not notice a huge leap in speed going from 1GB to 2GB of RAM on Windows 7 Starter. Yet when I upgraded to Windows 7 Pro, there was a noticeable overall improvement in the performance of the machine. I cannot explain this, as I am pretty sure that Windows 7 Starter has the same architecture as Windows 7 Pro. If anything, you would think the stripped-down Windows 7 Starter would be designed to operate efficiently within the limited resources of a netbook. In any case, I am not knocking Windows 7 Starter-- it is the standard for netbooks-- and it seemed to work fine. I just noticed an improvement when I upgraded.
5. other software stuff and notes
I also installed MS Office 2007 Pro from the web with no problems. That and web browsing are going to be my main uses for this netbook. I have yet to attempt an install of Adobe Acrobat Pro from an external DVD drive, but I will soon (the external drive is old, from my first-gen EeePC, so I hope it works). I have watched a lot of streaming Netflix content on this without any significant problems. I think that is a pretty good measure of the machine.
The battery life is amazing. I am reasonably sure it doesn't quite live up to the ideal 11 hours under my normal usage. Still, the battery lasts so long I don't even really know what to do. I am used to having to set a routine to charge my gadgets, like plugging in my iPhone before I go to bed, etc. This machine, however, has so much battery life left that it is actually confusing me. I am guessing for my usage, I'll be charging it every 1.5 to 2 days.
7. Speakers or The Worst Part of This Netbook
Everyone has said it on here and I will repeat it. These speakers are pretty miserable. Not even just the speakers, but the maximum volume level as well. I knew it going in, so I cannot complain too much. I am able to watch Netflix stuff at night lying in bed, but only just. I am sure if there was any background noise (a fan, etc.) it would not cut it. The key though, is that this is a netbook. The combined forces of physical constraints (size and weight) and pricepoint make anything more substantial than these speakers nearly impossible. My advice is to get a good set of headphones, and also perhaps a nice compact set of speakers. I have a folding JBL On Tour speaker unit that is amazing for its size. I actually use it for most of my television watching on a regular basis.
8. Aesthetic appeal
I find this netbook quite beautiful. Though it is listed as "Java Brown" I do not think that is an accurate color name. I would have been totally happy with "java brown," but the color of this netbook is more metallic. It is more like a burnished deep copper or bronze color on the outside, with closely spaced diagonal lines etched into it. When opened, the deep copper color which surrounds the screen is more glossy and the diagonal lines are a pattern of slightly lighter color, not etched. Very nice overall. It also just feels sturdily built.
In sum, I am very satisfied with this netbook. I hope my review helps!
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2010
Color Name: Royal BlueVerified Purchase
Interesting to read all the reviews here. The ratings go from a 5-stars down to 1- star. Makes one wonder, doesn't it? So, like all others, I did my homework and was on the fence between 4 or 5 netbooks (Acer Aspire One A150X, Asus EeePC 904HA, Dell mini 9, HP Mini 1000, Lenovo ideapad S10 , MSI Wind U100-016). Then, my son got a NB205 from his girlfriend for his birthday. I asked him to let me work with it for a little while and I was hooked. I touched, fondled, but not spindled or stapled about a dozen display netbooks all over town. For my needs and my taste, the NB305 is absolutely perfect. Mind you, I have a specific use for it - I work at different sites on different days and have to be able to pull out a computer quickly, enter data, generate billings and reports, do some quick research wirelessly on the Web, send and/or receive some quick email. Like that. It's a business tool for me. For simple communication, scheduling, IM-ing, texting, or looking up contacts I use a smartphone. For serious computing I have superfast desktop PCs with large monitors at both my home office and work office. So, when I went looking for a netbook, I knew exactly what I wanted and what I was going to with it. A netbook is not a PC, not a powerful laptop, and not a mainframe. It's a small tool that does what it needs to do and it does it well. People who complain about slow processing, inadequate graphics acceleration, poor sound, strange keyboard layout, limitations of the OS, etc. either did not do their homework as well as they thought they did, or are unreasonable in their expectations. But, if you do understand what a netbook is for, I don't think you can do much better than the Toshiba NB305-N410. At least not at this time and not for this price.
I am not going to describe all its features, since many of the reviewers have done that admirably. You should read the reviews at CNET, PCMag, LaptopMag, Consumer Reports, etc. Definitely go to a site where you can twirl the thing around in 360 so you can see it from all angles, see the ports, and appreciate the layout. Better yet, go to a store and handle it.
Some people complained about receiving units DOA. Others about esthetics. There is nothing in the World that pleases everyone. I don't know how many of these things are assembled everyday. In statistics, one in one hundred is considered zero. So, even with the strictest quality control there will be some potential lemons. Mine arrived in mint condition, fired up and worked like a charm within a few minutes and it has been functioning flawlessly for the last several months. I got rid of all the bloatware, boosted the RAM to 2 gigs for less than $50, installed the software I needed, got a folding full-size keyboard, a small wireless mouse, a light foldable elevator stand and, voila, I have a nice little ergonomic workstation on the move. I already had an external DVD-ROM drive for installing my own software. I can work a full day without worrying about needing to recharge the battery; I hook up automatically to any available WiFi network, do all the work I need to do, all in comfort, no fuss, no muss. I am eminently pleased with the NB305's performance, its utility, its esthetics (I dislike those shiny things that are magnets to finger prints, so I won't get an iPhone either), and its comfort. The keyboard is excellent, if I choose to use it, the screen is large enough for my trifocals, I don't get any glare, but then I don't set it up with the screen facing lights or a window.
The NB305 is a perfect little device that does exactly what it's supposed to do and does it better than most others in its class. Personally, I am delighted with my purchase and the more I use this little machine the more I like it.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: Java Brown
While many consider themselves tech gurus, I'm an end-user. My concern is is "what is it going to do for me?"
Buying a netbook came after many months of deliberation and review. My first intent was to buy a e-reader, but after seeing few at the local coffee shop and other gathering places, I considered that I would get more versatility with a netbook, and still have access to reading, if that was really what I wanted. But what to buy?
Like most purchases, my first reviews started on YouTube and followed the Internet trail. Spend any time at all, and it soon becomes apparent that the Toshiba NB305 and the Asus Eee 1005 are always at the top, both interchangeable from one moment to the next.
After getting teched-to-death I eventually decided (all things being equal) there were four things important to me that seemed to stand out with the Toshiba over the Asus:
1- The keyboard. Toshiba claims that their keyboard is closer to a full-sized keyboard and I tend to agree. It only took a short time for me to get the feel of the Toshiba board and I am quite comfortable with it. I'm a very rapid typer and I didn't want to waste time hunting and pecking.
2- Durability. The Toshiba "feels" more secure. I bought the brown version, and the aluminum face around the keyboard and the cover strike me as being sturdier. I have no basis for whether it is or not, but first impressions......... the Toshiba also has a feature that puts the hard-drive into a "locked" or safe mode if the computer is jarred, and I understand that is a beneficial function to me. Makes sense.
3- Fingerprints. I know, a pretty lame reason for buying one over the other, but the truth be known that when I looked at both models for the first time I couldn't help but notice just how badly smudged the Assus was. That certainly wasn't a problem with the Toshiba. Combine it with the overall feel of the Toshiba and I really felt that the Assus was more cheaply built. I may be overreacting, but that seems to be a comment made by numerous reviewers.
4- Battery life. Both state that you can get 10-11 hours of battery life, and you may. At this point, I have gotten around 9-10, but I can't say if that is standard. I was loading programs onto the system and that may have attributed to a drain on the battery. I downloaded a battery "gadget" and it says my battery life is around 8.5...we'll see. I've not completely drained the battery and really don't foresee the time when I will. Four consistent hours on a computer will surely suffice for me.
What don't I like:
Keep in mind that a netbook is what it is. Windows Starter won't allow you to change the wallpaper on your screen (unless you want to get really hi-tech and likely really screw up your computer) so what you see is what you get. No biggy. I've taken it to some local Wi-Fi hangouts and it connects easily to the Internet. The internal mouse works fine, but I'm not a big fan of those things... I'm working on it... so I have connected a regular one. It works fine and I have the option of one over the other.
The bigger pain is that they don't have a recovery disc. The Assus has a function that allows you to restore you computer by striking the F9 button several times, but no such luck with the Toshiba. Also remember that you don't have a CD drive. You have to add an external one if you intend on adding any programs from discs. You can get one for around $60 bucks, but you may only use it only a few times. I should have thought of that. I got around that by loading a program onto an external drive on my larger PC, downloading it to a flash drive, and using that to load onto my netbook. Time consuming, but it worked. I don't know if that process will work on every program.
Right now my netbook is fun. I'm happy with the purchase of the Toshiba, and feel like for $50 more, it was worth it for the physical comfort I get over the Asus. I watched some YouTube and some streaming video, and it worked fine. My general purpose for getting it was to access the Internet and word processing. For that purpose, it does fine.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
Color Name: Frost WhiteVerified Purchase
I have owned several notebooks and desktops in my lifetime; my most recent notebook gave out a few months ago after three years, and my desktop computer is a couple of years old but still holding strong. I wanted a netbook for portability and as a second computer option (in case the desktop is ever temporarily offline for any reason).
I started seriously looking at picking up a netbook last year, back when the n280 chip was standard. None of the netbooks at the time quite lived up to my expectations in terms of features and form. I decided to wait for the new chipset.
After quite thoroughly comparing over 15 different netbooks all running the new 1.66ghz Intel n450 chip, I ordered the Toshiba NB305-N410WH and after nearly a week with it I feel very comfortable with my purchase; it's my new best friend. (For what it's worth, the runner-up was the Asus Eee PC 1005PE-PU.)
I love the texture of the NB305 -- it's not glossy so it doesn't stupidly attract fingerprints. I don't usually like white things, especially for electronics, but this one carries well (I figured the white would go nicely with the beautiful silver keyboard) and I don't see it getting dirty easily like most white things do.
I have installed more software than I expected a netbook to be able to handle, and it has managed my multitasking admirably. Occasionally I ctrl+shift+esc myself to check the task manager and manage whatever's running up the CPU or RAM processes, but I do that even more often with big powerful desktop computers. Internet has been very snappy, and I have had zero issues with setup and ongoing connection.
I spent the $50 to purchase 2gb stick of RAM. I'm pretty sure that's made a good difference, though the machine was keeping up quite well running multiple apps even on just 1gb of RAM.
I will probably pick up a $20-25 bluetooth usb adapter at some point.
The touchpad has been very properly responsive. Check the settings/update your synaptics touchpad drivers if you want to make sure to have the full featureset of gesture controls; I love them. Of course, as all the pro reviews have noted, the keyboard is excellent; it looks great and feels great.
The screen is really good despite its small size. The 1024x600 is better than I expected. For the most part, I'm (surprisingly) perfectly content not to be on a bigger screen (I've been otherwise used to a dual-monitor setup with monitors 21-24", but I've felt no urge to connect the NB305 to an external monitor).
The sound quality of the speakers is rather weak; fortunately, sound quality with headphones plugged in is good and there are interesting/effective sound customization features that are easily adjustable.
I'm estimating my battery life so far to be at roughly 8+ hours at pretty much maximum performance (aside from my screen, which I like at ~4.5 brightness level even when plugged in).
I found Starter Wallpaper Changer, perfect little app that provides precisely what Microsoft shamefully blocked. I also found instructions online to change the background image of the login screen. So my netbook is now highly attractive both outside and in. :)
Though my desktop computer is still technically the more powerful machine, and I'll certainly still turn to it for more hefty tasks, I've already been using my NB305 as a primary machine, and I see myself potentially using it more often than my desktop from here out.
I am very pleased with my NB305.
Now I'm on a quest to find the perfect case(s) for my netbook. (I want to be able to take it with me everywhere!)
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2010
Color Name: Black OnyxVerified Purchase
I love this netbook. It is my first netbook.
I bought it recently and received it 6 days ago. I also bought and promptly installed the 2 gig memory card. I have been using computers for personal pleasure since 1986 (an apple 2e was my first pc). One can never have too much ram. I am strictly a user. I don't mess with programing. I also don't play electronic games.
I mostly use the internet browser, word processor and the spreadsheet program. I also use the internet for shopping and keeping up with the family (facebook) and for education. I buy ebooks, so I use my netbook as a reader. I buy music and have used this netbook to download and listen to blues, jazz, and pop hits from the 60's and 70's (I'm 63 years old). But, I mostly use my ipod for my music.
This netbook has done a superb job for me. The keyboard feels good. This was the one feature I worried about. I weigh 300 + pounds and have large hands. I worried needlessly. I find the keyboard comfortable. It has a nice feel to it.
I use headphones on this pc because I use it in public. The music sounds great. I use my imac at home. My wife and I are retired and we get out of the house almost every day. Unless I have errands, I go to barnes and noble because they have good service good coffee and free wi-fi. It is a pleasure to carry this lightweight pc.
I failed to promptly create the recovery disks. Big mistake. I installed the linux os, jolicloud. It seems to be a great product. However, my installation did not play well with windows. When I restarted I did not have access to windows. Jolicloud ran great. Except for a couple of windows-only programs I can do without windows and live with linux only. But I need windows to run those windows-only programs.
There were less costly solutions but I took the easy way out. I visited the local naval exchange store and bought a Windows 7 upgrade. I runs great on this netbook. Installation required a call to ms support because I did a "clean" install. This is my first experience with windows 7 and I like it. I was prepared to download and install all the drivers but windows 7 was great in this respect. I have not come across any feature that has required a driver install. I just knocked on wood. One upside to the clean install is that I did not have to remove all the extra junk that comes with a new pc. This makes the cost of the windows upgrade almost worth it.
I should have bought the toshiba NB305-N410. For and addition $50 I would have gotten a larger hard drive and window 7 starter. I rarely use more that 3 programs at once. This is a limitation on windows starter.
I also installed linux mint. No problems with it yet. I am writing this review using mint and openoffice writer, a great program. I use it on my imac also. I use ms word but prefer openoffice writer. I have used other linux distros; linux mint seems to be the most polished.
So, create the recovery discs promptly. Also, if you can afford the additional $50, buy the NB305-N410.
Lastly, remember that this is a netbook. The screen is small. I go from a 24 inch imac to a 10 inch netbook. This has not been a problem for me. And I have poor eyesight. Bottom line: I love this netbook.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2010
Color Name: Royal Blue
Okay, I like others have thoroughly researched and taken my time to buy a netbook. I was first intrigued with the Toshiba Nb205, but had issues with the battery sticking out, so I waited until a newer version was released to see if the issue would be resolved, and it was.
The Toshiba NB305 is a more slender and attractive upgrade from its predecessor and many netbooks on the market. I was a Mac guy for years, before they became mainstream and when they were focused on quality and customers. I was tired of spending thousands of dollars for a macbook that would be practically obsolete and depreciate rapidly within a year, thus, I began to look into other options. Both Nokia's mini and Toshiba's mini, fit the style and boldness that I ounce admired in Macs, though I'm sure they took their blueprint from Mac and ran with it.
The Toshiba NB305 along with Windows 7, is a better choice for me personally, than buying a new Mac laptop. It costs a fraction of the cost of a Mac laptop and it looks just as good as a Mac. I only use it for my small business, versus using it for creative endeavors that I think a Mac is far superior for. I initially bought 2gb of ram to upgrade the netbook, but didn't really need it for what I am doing now. The netbook does most task with ease, with just 1gb of RAM. There isn't a problem playing videos on Youtube or streaming video. All of my programs load really fast and I have no complaints, as far as performance, with just 1gb RAM. I'm not saying that it is without flaws with only 1gb of ram, but it isn't a big deal. If you are on a budget, save the additional $50 on upgrading the Ram until you test it out for yourself with just the 1gb of RAM, it might not be that big of a deal. The battery life is as stated. The screen is bright, colorful and vibrant. The speaker's sound isn't as low as some make it out to be, I can watch and listen to a video online at a comfortable level. I adjusted the volume to its peak and have no problem hearing.
The keyboard is the only thing that I have to get use to. On one hand, the keyboard is just like typing on a full size laptop, as a matter of fact, my whole experience on the NB305 is comparable to working on a full size laptop; sure the screen is smaller, but the display's brightness, vividness and text ratio make it a comfortable experience, so I forget that I am typing and using a smaller machine. But, although the keyboard is full size and has a nice touch, it is set up, somewhat awkward, in my opinion. I can't put my finger on what's off, but it occasionally throws off my typing, as some other reviewers have mentioned. But, I think it is something that I can get use to.
I didn't have a problem with an over sensitive touchpad, as some others have mentioned, I actually had the contrary experience, in which my touchpad wouldn't respond well to gestures and movements. But, if you have a problem either way, you can make ALOT of adjustments to your touchpad. I think many that have mentioned these problems, have overlooked that there is a more detailed adjustment program beyond the standard Control Panel mouse standard settings. There are settings within the touchpad software, "Synaptics," which settings are within the Control Panel mouse settings, that give you very precise settings for your touchpad to get it working the way you want.
Toshiba also has their own software loaded, with some useful applications. They also have an option to create a recovery disk, so I'm not sure if this is the missing recovery disks that some reported missing from this netbook?
As far as Windows 7 starter, I was at first reluctant a few months ago to buy any netbook, because of the misinformation about Windows 7 starter. Aside from not being able to change the desktop and a few codecs missing for DVD playback, both of which you can search the internet and get around these issues, if you need to, otherwise there isn't any hindrance or major limitation with Windows 7 starter. Most of the other added features in the full version are for faster processors and not netbooks. I am able to open many windows and programs simultaneously, without limitations. I think there is more of a psychological block that many have, knowing that Microsoft is trying to be greedy and they feel restricted and cheated. My way of thinking is, I am content with what I have and will not give in to their psychological agenda and the need to feel that I have to upgrade to fit in. Trust me, the program is fine as it is, for basic and intermediate duties.
Overall, I am pleased with my new Toshiba NB305 and believe that it is a netbook that can stand the test of time, with its upgradeability, style and solid build.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
Color Name: Royal Blue
I had been looking at the various netbooks for a while and really liked Toshiba's NB205 but just couldn't get around the negative comments on battery placement and speaker quality. The NB305 was specifically designed to address these concerns - different battery placement and two speakers instead of just the one on the 205.
As for things this shares with the 205: The chiklet keyboard just rocks - space between the keys goes a long way towards cutting down on the mistypes that you get on the keyboards where the keys are merging one into the next. It may not matter to many people but if you have a long haired cat or dog that sheds and likes to spend time in your lap the fact that this is a much easier keyboard to keep pet hair out of is a huge plus as well. Having two separate mouse buttons instead of one rocker bar is handy for those of us who like to actually use the right click. Keyboard layout as a whole is very "touch type" friendly so those who actually learned how to type on a real keyboard or -gasp- typewriter can actually use this keyboard. Portability is also another huge plus, when it's closed this little guy doesn't have much more of a footprint than a decent sized hard cover book and while I realize that this just means it's a netbook as somebody who still remembers his high school computer lab having IBM PS-2's it's still amazing.
In an effort to make this a true review I'll also hit a few of the things that are shortcomings for the NB305. Is this going to let you watch high def movies - no. Is this going to let you play World of Warcraft or other graphic intensive games - no. Are you going to be able to multi-task 5 different RAM intensive applications - be serious you only have 1G of RAM or 2G if you upgrade.
The reason I'm giving such a great rating to this netbook is that having said all of the things that the NB305 - and for that matter netbooks in general - can't do the simple fact is that I don't want to do and wouldn't expect to do those things on a 10.1 in screen to begin with. If you want to play games there are laptops targeted for that market, if you want to watch HD video get a laptop with a blue-ray not something that doesn't even have an optical media drive. You can get a laptop that plays games - full discloser I have one, handles HD video and/or serves as near "desk top replacements" and you can get them for not a lot more than you will spend to get the NB305, what you will not get is the portability. Personally I want something to check my email, check headlines on the web, watch the occasional You-Tube, do word processing, handle I-Tunes and allow me to use a Citrix client to access the work related apps on a server when I'm away from the office and still fit in my briefcase. This little guy fits the bill and looks good doing it - thanks Toshiba.