The Toshiba NB520 gets the title of being the world’s first netbook to sport a Harman Kardon speakers, a name very well known in the high-fidelity audio industry. Check out our full review after the jump.
There are so many netbooks out there that also come with Intel’s dual-core Atom processor and they’re all almost similar to each other. Some are a bit thinner, some are lighter while others are more affordable than the rest of the pack.
Toshiba wanted to differentiate its new line of netbooks from the rest of the pack so they added the expensive but impressive Harman Kardon speakers. Toshiba has been doing this with their regular line of laptops but putting it on a netbook seems a bit of a stretch.
The netbook is relatively thin and light with the battery bulging downwards to give the unit some ample ventilation below. The lid of the netbook has that matte finish peppered with pimpled/dotted patterns and smooth, rubbery texture to keep it from becoming a fingerprint magnet.
The surface texture extends all the way into the palm rest area where two large Harman Kardon speakers are placed. The keyboard uses up the entire spread, maximizing the entire area and giving the individual chiclet-type keys more room. The wide trackpad is a little rough and the click-buttons beside it are wide, easy to use and separated between the left and right buttons.
The 10-inch LED display is bright and crisp though it feels like the over-all area of the screen is smaller than usual as there’s a lot of un-used space on the top bezel where the mic and webcam is situated.
The Harman Kardon speakers are simply impressive — great volume range, powerful clear sound and some fair amount of bass. I must admit it’s one of the best pair of speakers I’ve seen (or heard) in a netbook and can even easily match the ones in most regular laptops. Playing music and video on this netbook when out on a trip will not be disappointing.
With Intel’s new dual-core Atom processor, netbooks now have more processing power than before. The biggest difference I noticed is with playback of YouTube HD videos — the dual-core netbooks can now play 1080p smoothly when older, single-core netbooks would produce choppy playback. The other noticeable improvement is with multi-tab browsing on Chrome — before it’s very hard to open multiple tabs in quick succession (you have to wait for the first tab to completely load the page).
Here’s the screenshot of the Windows Experience Index:
The Atom N550 gets a sub-score of 3.4 which is very close to the rating of an Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 (see WEI chart here). That’s way better than the 2.3 sub-score those single-core Atom processors used to get.
Toshiba NB520 specs:
10.1â€³ display @ 1024 x 600
Intel Atom N550 @ 1.5GHz dual-core
2GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
Intel GMA 3150 Express Chipset
320GB SATA HDD
Windows 7 Starter
Harman Kardon Stereo Speakers, Dolby Advanced Audio
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
3 x USB 2.0
2-in1 card reader
6-cell Lithium Ion battery
Battery life is typical of this class of netbooks — I am able to get between 4 to 5 hours when WiFI is on and over 5.5 hours when it is off. The removable 6-cell Li-Ion battery is rated at 48Whr (around 4320 mAh) could have been packed to have a higher capacity like other netbooks (between 5200 to 5800mAh) to give the netbook more juice. The USB sleep-and-charge function is great for charging your gadgets even when the netbook is turned Off.
Over-all, the Toshiba Nb520 is a pretty capable netbook that’s not really any different from most other dual-core netbooks in the market (specs-wise). It’s got great design and solid build quality . What separates it from the rest is the Harman Kardon speakers. If you’re not big on sounds, this could be an in-significant add-on; but for those who find themselves bringing along an X-Mini speakers to pair with their netbook might appreciate this addition.
Suggested Retail Price:
Php23,990 (1GB & 250GB HDD)
Php25,990 (2GB and 320GB HDD)
Available colors are in Striking Lime Green, Warm Brown, Daring Sunlight Copper, Joyful Blue and Sophisticated Turqoise.
Note: The Toshiba NB520 was announced back in December then launched in the Philippines last March. Since then, Toshiba also had the NB550 which runs on an AMD Fusion chipset but that model has yet to reach the Philippines.
Disclosure: Toshiba Singapore
is was an advertiser on this blog.