Have netbooks lost a bit of buzz? If so, perhaps it’s because they need to beef up the RAM. Daniel Dern reviews the Toshiba Mini NB305 Netbook.
You’ve heard the gossip: Apple’s iPad tablet is selling like wildfire, and netbooks are suddenly an endangered species. Judging from Toshiba‘s state-of-the-art sample, the truth is a little more complicated. Netbooks still have plenty of productivity and convenience to offer … but they’d better stop handicapping themselves.
The Toshiba Mini NB305-N440BL ($380) re-raises the question implicit since the category’s inception: What’s good enough when optimizing for weight, size and price, trading off for performance?
At 8 inches by 10 inches by 1 inch, the NB305 isn’t quite the smallest netbook I’ve tried lately — the HP Mini 5102 is slightly closer to 7 inches deep — but its long battery life and compact AC adapter make the 2.6-pound Toshiba an easy carry.
Unfortunately, like several other netbooks I’ve tried over the past year, the NB305 came handicapped — or, to be blunt, crippled unnecessarily — by having only one gigabyte of RAM. If there’s one low-cost way to pep up PCs, RAM is it, but under-$400 netbooks seem stuck at the same 1GB they had two years ago. (An “accessories” page on Toshiba’s Web site lists a 2GB Kingston DDR3 module for $52.) To add insult to injury, its operating system is the “Starter” edition of 32-bit Windows 7.
Read the rest at Hardware Central.