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Sounds great and performs well

Toshiba’s NB520 is a netbook with a difference, it’s classily built and ideal to carry around.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2011 01:29 IST
Ashish Koshy

Toshiba’s NB520 doesn’t excite us much when it comes to design, which is rather plain and simple — just like a standard netbook. We like the rubberised finish though, which gives it a good feel. The first thing you notice after opening the NB520 is the thick bezel around the 10.1-inch screen — something that is not appealing and wastes space too. The power button located in the middle of the hinge is not convenient to use.

Small-sized keys
The keys are also uneven in size, and although we understand the space constraint, proper sizing for the keys is quite essential. The function keys at the top are too small. Toshiba considers the Harman-Kardon speakers as the NB520’s USP. The speakers have a driver on each side, but the way they are placed, you’ll end up covering them when your hands are on the keyboard. Summing it up, the design is bog-standard and the keyboard disappoints in terms of the placement of keys.

Useful charging feature
One interesting feature included is the ‘Sleep n Charge’ function, which lets you charge any devices that are USB-based. The ‘Sleep n Play’ function lets you play music from any MP3 player or other device, while the netbook is asleep. This means you don’t have to keep your netbook powered on to play songs or while your devices are getting charged.The sleep utility and the speakers are what actually impressed us quite a bit. The ports are well placed and are quite convenient to reach out and use.

Better than its peers
We thought that performance-wise, the NB520 would be pretty similar to Asus’s 1015 PEM. But the difference of having an extra 1GB of RAM noticeably improves performance. The HK speakers definitely deserve a mention. They sound very good for a netbook of this size. Watching movies or even listening to music definitely makes a lot of sense and you will notice the difference.

Verdict
The Toshiba NB520 is priced at R21,490, which is spot-on for its performance and features. The speakers sound great and speed is a lot better thanks to the extra memory. Let’s not forget the sleep utility feature that helps save power. The keyboard and the bezel are not the best but after some getting used to, you won’t really have a problem with this netbook.