The new Toshiba NB100 netbook has hit the market, boasting a few enticing features to differentiate it from the competition.
The Toshiba features the same Atom processor used by the Eee PC, MSI Wind, and Mini-9. At a standard 1.6 GHz with Wi-Fi, bluetooth, Ethernet, USB ports and a memory card slot, the NB100 seems somewhat basic in most areas. There is one aspect to the netbook, however, that I think is something to be excited about.
The most fascinating thing is that the USB connectors on Toshiba’s first netbook are designated ‘sleep-and-charge’. What this means is your USB-connected devices (cell phones, MP3 players, etc.) can be charged through the netbook without you needing to even turn on the machine. This step seems to be part of a new wave of efforts (that we noted in yesterday’s article) towards improving the efficiency of these devices. With business travelers and college kids not needing to carry around as many power adapters, this feature will definitely make the NB100 all the more attractive to the netbook market.
The flip side here is that the keyboard of the Toshiba NB100 is sadly somewhat imperfect. While it may not be an issue for the more enduring among us, typing for long periods may become uncomfortable and difficult. Instead of being appropriate for the 8.9-inch size of the thing, the keyboard seems as though it were built for a 7-inch netbook. While netbooks like the Dell Mini-12 (which we covered a few days ago) have shown a trend towards improved keyboard usability on smaller devices, the Toshiba NB100 is somewhat substandard in this respect.
Personally, the sleep-and-charge feature sounds interesting and intelligent, but not worth the small keyboard. However, with its first netbook certainly up to par in other areas, Toshiba looks to be willing to experiment with the netbook market. We should expect some promising things in the future.