Melissa from IVS was nice enough to send me a Toshiba nb200 netbook for review last week. I’m comparing it to our Acer D150 and D250 netbooks currently in use on campus. The first thing that I did was install Jim Klein’s ubermix Linux for education since that is all we run on netbooks here. I am happy to report that everything worked and it was up and running in under five minutes. Not surprising since it uses the Atheros chipset which works great with the Ubuntu based ubermix image. My benchmark is the Skype test call and with Headphones and mic plugged in, I was hearing the upbeat English accented voice of Skype’s test recording.
On the physical hardware side there are a few issues, the power button is in the middle of the unit on the LCD hinge and accessible when the unit is closed. I am not sure I like this as I find myself accidentally pressing it when carrying the netbook around. I also find that the power adapter, with its straight plug, tends to pull loose, unlike the Acer with the angled connector. Besides those two minor issues, the Toshiba is surprisingly similar to the Acer. I’ll need a few more days of use to tell if I like the keyboard. I think I’ve gotten used to the chiclet keys on my Acer 1410.
I would have liked to have demoed Dell, HP and Lenovo netbooks in as stress free and painless a process as IVS has made this Toshiba demo; but alas those companies don’t seem too concerned with making things easy for their customers. Oh well, for now I’ll just have to spend my time putting the little nb200 through its paces.