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PCs

Toshiba Satellite NB10t is a modern netbook

Published on May 30, 2014 5:00 AM
 
Toshiba Satellite NB10t

As a genre, netbooks are as extinct as Palm PDAs (personal digital assistants). However, judging from this new and affordable Toshiba laptop, they have not quite gone away.

Instead, their best characteristics - cheap and light - have been adopted in newer laptops.

For instance, the Toshiba Satellite NB10t has a slightly larger 11-inch display than the 10-inch average for a netbook, thus allowing for a bigger keyboard which is not as cramped as those found on netbooks.

The netbook's ubiquitous Intel Atom CPU has been bumped up to an Intel Celeron chip on the NB10t. Although still a low-end processor, the Celeron is sufficient for basic tasks, such as video playback and surfing the Internet.

This laptop uses a 500GB hard drive, when even Windows 8 tablets have switched to the faster but more expensive flash storage.

The result is a middling performer which takes its time to open apps. In fact, it scored lower in the PCMark 7 benchmark test than an Atom-powered Windows 8 tablet, such as Toshiba's Encore WT8. The culprit here is probably the NB10t's hard drive.

Despite its mediocre innards, I did like the laptop's sturdy feel. The plastic chassis does not bend or creak when under pressure. The matte silver-and-black look is simple but clean and it weighs only 1.16kg.

This laptop has a removable panel at the bottom which gives convenient access to the memory and storage. If the computer starts to feel sluggish, you can easily add more RAM and even a faster solid-state drive.

Of course, doing so would add at least $300 to the NB10t's $679 retail price. For that amount of money, you could have bought a better laptop in the first place.

Netbooks never had touchscreens, but then, they did not come with Windows 8. The 10-point touchscreen on this laptop felt responsive to my gestures. Viewing angles were decent, but they could have been brighter. The 1,366 x 768-pixel screen resolution is adequate for its size and, frankly, probably the best you can get at this price.

The keyboard felt shallow, but firm. Some keys, such as the Tab and Caps Lock ones, are narrower than usual and take getting used to. The Fn keys are conveniently mapped to multimedia controls, such as volume and screen brightness.

The battery life of the NB10t was disappointing at 3hr 37min, although my expectations have been lowered after testing the HP Pavilion x360, which has a similar Celeron processor.

  • Compared with the $799 Pavilion x360, this Toshiba laptop is more affordable. While HP’s x360 tries to be the cool kid with its ability  to morph into a tablet, the NB10t is just a netbook updated for its time.

vinchang@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on May 28, 2014.

Background story

TECH SPECS

Price: $679

Processor: Intel Celeron N2810 (2GHz)

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics

RAM: 4GB

Screen size: 11.6 inches, 1,366 x 768 pixels

Connectivity: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, SD card reader, Ethernet, audio jack

Battery: 24 watt-hour


RATING

Features 3/5

Design 3/5

Performance 2/5

Value for money 4/5

Battery life 2/5

Overall 3/5