I promised I was going to follow up the initial preview blog post with a review one after using the laptop for a while and sadly it’s taken this long to get around to writing it. Not because I don’t love you folks who visit my blog but because I hadn’t had the opportunity to pry the laptop from my girl friend’s hands long enough to get a full impression of it. I suppose that’s saying something about the laptop.
So this last week I got some vacation time in and the g/f had to go to work. She made the mistake of leaving the laptop unsecured for roughly 8 hours at a time. This gave me a good long time to use the laptop in the real world doing many of the things real people do. Writing blog posts, word processing, IM, web and even a little light graphics work by way of the awesome and free Paint dot net. Of course this isn’t scientific in the least but I do hope it will give a good impression of the actual device. I’ve also observed the laptop in use playing games and video even though those things were not included in my personal time with the machine.
Over all build quality is pretty solid. It has a unibody feel to it even though I don’t believe it is a true unibody design. It feels very rigid which is a good thing in a laptop especially one as small as this one. The size is of note. This thing is a thin and light laptop with emphasis on thin. I’m still amazed every time I pick it up how thin the thing really is. It has all the polish that you would expect from a Toshiba laptop as well. Very eye catching. The screen looks spectacular due in part to it’s LED back lighting but lacks in bright sunlight or at odd angles due to it’s glossy plastic cover. It can be hard at times to see the screen due to glare and reflection. Some people like glossy some don’t. The final down side to the laptop is it’s mouse buttons. This seems to be the Achilles heel of almost every low cost, small laptop I’ve seen. Some how it’s ok for laptop manufacturers to use the cheapest piece of junk for the two buttons you interact with the most on your laptop! I’m not saying it’s unusable. It’s certainly useable. They just did similar to the original MSI Wind U100 with the teeter totter mouse buttons that over time seem to get either spongy or wear out some how and become hard to click.
Performance wise this laptop is great. I’ve all ready mentioned the screen quality so I won’t go further in to that. It comes stocked with a rather impressive 4GB of ram which is more than enough for running the included Windows 7. While the laptop comes with a rather spacious 320GB hard drive the hard drive being the only truly friction limited device on the laptop the extra ram will help limit the need for Windows to read/write from the drive which will help performance greatly. A dual core processor seems to be the real difference between this and a netbook. The dual core Athlon Neo performs so well at 1.6Ghz x2 that perceptually it performed better than the dual core 2.1Ghz Core 2 Duo in the HP laptop I have. I haven’t installed Steam so I don’t have a real good sense for it’s 3D gaming performance but the g/f plays the sort of games available through BigFish Games and it pulls those off with out a hitch. It also handles SD flash video flawlessly and of course anything HD not flash encoded runs fine. I haven’t run a lot of HD flash on it but based on some of the benchmarking for that kind of thing I think it should be able to handle it OK.
Over all it’s one of the smallest sleekest and best performing pieces of hardware I’ve come across recently. I’ll go out on a limb and say its a great alternative to a 13” Macbook for those who can’t afford the real deal. I certainly want one for my self at that price vs. performance point. Get em’ while they’re hot!