Base price: $363
The Toshiba Mini benefits from a highly comfortable layout. Its multitouch touch pad is generously sized, one of the more spacious in the netbook world a world of cramped user controls. Moreover, the two mouse buttons are clearly separated from the touchpad, which many users like (instead of the built-in mouse buttons).
On the other hand, some have complained that the space bars relative smallness isnt helpful, and the tab keys could be bigger. Hey, its a netbook. You want complete comfort, buy a full-size laptop!
Also on the plus side: now that the Toshiba Mini runs the industry-standard N450 Atom processor, its more efficient and has greater battery longevity. The Mini boasts a battery life of around 10 hours, though real world conditions may prove less so.
The Toshiba Minis appearance is a combination of the professional and the Star Trek. The professional: its got a solid build and its serious, straight-forward lines make it a good fit in the workplace. (And the integrated Webcam with Skype will enable video meetings with colleagues.) As for Star Trek: along the bottom front edge are a whopping nine -- count em, nine status indicator lights. As this extensive array lights up, you might feel like youre monitoring the Starship Enterprise instead of a modest netbook. Beam me up, Scottie.
Toshiba makes a big deal out of its sleep and charge USB ports. This enables the USB port to recharge your mobile devices whether your netbook is on, off or in sleep mode. For todays lifestyle, thats a good feature.
Other than those design factors, the Toshiba Mini is your classic, highly mobile netbook. It has a 10.1-inch glossy LED-backlit screen with a 1,024 x 600-pixel resolution, 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N450, 1 GB RAM (upgradeable to 2 GB RAM), Windows Starter OS, a Webcam, and a 250 GB hard drive instead of the 160 GB offered by some units. The extra hard drive space doesnt strike me as a deciding factor, but if youve got a lot of video or music it would help. It has 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi but not Bluetooth.
Bottom line: A good netbook for work or play. If you can find it at the right price, go for it.
The Toshiba Mini netbook (photo courtesy Toshiba)