Toshiba NB520 with Harman Kardon Review

Toshiba NB520 with Harman Kardon Review

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:
10.1″ display @ 1024 x 600
Intel Atom N550 @ 1.5GHz dual-core
2GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
Intel GMA 3150 Express Chipset
Windows 7 Starter
Harman Kardon Stereo Speakers, Dolby Advanced Audio
VGA webcam
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
3 x USB 2.0
2-in1 card reader
6-cell Lithium Ion battery
1.32 kg

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.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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30 Responses

  1. jammic says:

    aww di kaya ng budget, mukang maganda to. Guys ano ang maia advice nyo na netbook sa price na 13k?

  2. Gelo says:

    These are currently sold at the Toshiba iServ Megamall.

    NB505 (1GB / 250GB) = 20,990
    NB520 (2GB / 320GB) = 23,990

  3. I can get a descent laptop for 24k in the US and ship it here.

  4. jp says:

    sana nilagyan man lang ng magandang video card para saktong sakto sa laro :D

  5. Kevin says:

    Somewhat bad positioning of the speakers. How are you suppose to listen to music while typing on this thing, your hands will cover the speakers.

    • Prangka says:

      May punto ka, sino ba nmam ngisip na gumawa ng netbook na maganda nga ang speaker kaso nasa tabi ng touchpad. Isang malaking pagkakamali ng toshiba

  6. 21 says:

    a shtty netbook with a silly price..

  7. boy_fanboy says:

    the placement of the speakers looks bad…it’s placed right on the palmrest. so if ever you are listening to your music while making your documents your music gets distracted because you’re lying your palm right at the speakers. i guess they must have placed that speaker somewhere that’s not touchable so that the experience could be better. anyways, this is a cool and funky netbook. you’re paying for the toshiba and harman kardon brand for this.

  8. rcsaint says:

    Toshiba quality sucks! My toshiba notebook conked out after only three years of light to moderate use. The video card got busted but the motherboard have to be replaced because the video card is imbedded in it. Toshiba told me it will cost me 20k to replace it. I decided to buy an HP netbook instead.

    Our office bought 7 Toshiba notebooks and all of it are not working anymore after only 3 years of light to moderate use.

    This Japanese brand computer used to be good but its different nowadays…don’t know why.

  9. razorous says:

    I have an MSI Wind Netbook I bought 3-4 years ago. Still in good condition… I wish this had USB 3.0, coz the 10″ really fits my…portability if you may

    I’l go for the new 11.6″s… Sayang, the USB 3.0 seems to be only for 11.6″ ^, laptops/portables screens

  10. Yuya06 says:

    The speakers are placed in the palm rest because the sound produced by the speakers have massaging effect.

    Sir paki review naman po ung Lenovo X120e. ;)

  11. Gelo says:

    I was thinking of buying a Toshiba NB305 netbook last year for my mom because it got good looks; especially the brown one. Very executive or elegant design and it was Engadget’s top-rated netbook. It was the only netbook that has a hard drive impact sensor too. Though I bought a Lenovo instead due to a constraint budget at that time.

    The Lenovo’s fine and very light but the material feels very cheap akin to Acer netbooks and notebooks. I like the keyboard though; it’s nice to type with. Battery was an issue too unlike the Toshiba’s said 9 hours or so. But it’s alright since it just stays home with my mom.

    Now I first heard about the NB520 from my officemates and they’ve been liking it a lot. Majority of my friends prefers a Toshiba and my company only issues Toshiba notebooks to its employees. I took a look at this new NB and was wowed by the speakers. Really loud. It put shame to even more expensive notebooks. It look a bit smaller than the NB305 I wanted to buy last year though the salesman said they have the same 10.1 inch LED screen. The material is rubbery plastic but still offers a better quality feel compared to the Lenovo I bought and the Acers I’ve tried. They also have this Sleep ‘n Charge feature which allows you to charge your mobile devices even if the netbook is sleeping. I don’t find the Sleep ‘n Music feature very useful though; wherein you can connect your MP3 player to use the Harman Kardon speakers.

    As for performance? These Intel N570 dual core processors are quite fast and found out they have hyper-threading too; so that’s four cores in all. I’m thinking of getting the NB505 version which doesn’t come with the Harman Kardon speakers. They were selling it to me for 19K (22K for the NB520). But I just bought my second iPad! Oh well.

    Oh yeah. As for the speakers being in a bad positon? It’s really not that bad. It’s a netbook; the palmrest isn’t really that big for your palms to rest on for too long. Having the Harman Kardon speakers is a greater plus than ranting about its position.

  12. Les says:

    Is Turquoise a nice color for guys? like the one in this picture reviewed by Abe

  13. jet says:

    guys anong tingin niyong mas sulit? eto or yung sony vaio y 11.6″? i’d mostly use it for surfing and playing music/movies. for the specs kasi mas mataas talaga yung vaio, but i was just wondering if sulit ba yung higher price for those uses? thanks!

  14. qwertbvcxzi says:

    This or HP dm1z?reply pls

  15. ikac says:

    dont buy this I purchased one less than a month crack na lcd nya! dko pa tapos byaran! napaka rupok!

  16. Allan Louver Bautist says:

    Ganito rin yung netbook ko. N570 intel atom yung sa akin. Mabilis! Its worth for playing music and videos. Ganda ng sound compare sa HP and Lenovo namin.

  17. tralala says:

    Kaya po kaya ng laptop na to ang Sims 3?

  18. TECHIHUNT says:

    Notebook NB520 feels and looks more premium than its basic specifications…

    More Reviews

  19. mymy says:

    sa megamall toshiba shop P19990 yan, 0% sa 12mos. sbi pa nila mas mura pa sa sm north:)

  20. Chester says:

    Hi guys!

    Do you know where I can get my NB520 fixed because I think there is a problem with my hard drive. I hear a ticking sound right under the hard drive everytime I open it. Can you suggest a reliable shop in Metro Manila?

    Thank you!

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