The Toshiba NB200 is a conventional but worthy 10in Atom netbook.

Toshiba's template-follower of a netbook ticks all the usual boxes for a 10in-screen laptop. But the total package is a little greater than the sum of its parts.

It can count two main assets that are still far from a given on a mini laptop. One is the sheer integrity of construction, as the Toshiba NB200 feels solid and all-of-a-piece, whether it's folded flat for carrying or opened up for business.

And it could well be businessman for whom this Toshiba NB200 netbook may be shortlisted, thanks to its clean, conservative and sober good looks, along with an additional 3G WWAN wireless option, which also remains something of a rarity on today's netbooks.

The other chief benefit we discovered while testing the Toshiba NB200 was its remarkable battery life. We've seen impressive running time from several other brands recently - Samsung springs to mind as a consistent winner here - and this Toshiba NB200 is not that far behind with a MobileMark 2007 Productivity figure of 446 mins. That's nearly 7 hrs 30 mins.

Admittedly, the 6-cell battery of the Toshiba NB200 does jut out the back somewhat but given the already compact size of the Toshiba NB200 - which actually feels naturally slim in the hands at a uniform thickness of around 25mm - it still makes for a compact portable.

And it's possible you'll find even longer unplugged life, depending which operating system is installed, as we'll explain.

Toshiba has been wise enough to use the full width of the chassis to include a relatively large and eminently typable keyboard. Its flat, matt-black keys are sensibly laid out with no surprise key positioning - save the open-quote and pipe symbol keys placed immediately to the left of the space bar.

We found the Toshiba NB200 trackpad and separated clicky buttons simple but effective in use.

Our Toshiba NB200 sample arrived with Windows XP Home, and in initial lab testing we saw that circa-7.5 hours battery life, along with a WorldBench 6 performance score of 37, marginally towards the higher end of netbook speed.

But Toshiba has started selling the Toshiba NB200 with Windows 7 Starter, so we gave it a taste of the new OS and retested to see how it affected performance.

Overall system speed dropped by 23%, to 30 points - an unsurprising result that reflects the shortfall we've seen when moving from Windows XP to Windows Vista.

Battery life was seen to go up, though, by over an hour. The Toshiba NB200 now stretched to a startling 512 mins (8 hrs 32 mins) of unplugged productive life.

It's worth noting that one of the features stripped from Windows 7 Starter is the Aero interface. With simpler, opaque windows to render, the netbook's graphics processor was probably being given an easier time, which must help with battery life.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

Toshiba NB200-123: Specs

  • 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280
  • 667MHz FSB
  • 512kB L2 cache
  • 10.1in (1024x600) glossy LCD display
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3
  • 160GB 2.5in SATA HDD
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • Intel GMA 950
  • VGA
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 3G HSDPA modem
  • SD card reader
  • mic in, headphone out
  • built-in mic
  • webcam
  • 63Whr 6-cell Li-ion battery
  • 262x212x25-32mm
  • 1334g
  • 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280
  • 667MHz FSB
  • 512kB L2 cache
  • 10.1in (1024x600) glossy LCD display
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3
  • 160GB 2.5in SATA HDD
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • Intel GMA 950
  • VGA
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 3G HSDPA modem
  • SD card reader
  • mic in, headphone out
  • built-in mic
  • webcam
  • 63Whr 6-cell Li-ion battery
  • 262x212x25-32mm
  • 1334g

OUR VERDICT

There are several build options, and the NB200-123 model we tested includes the useful 3G modem and 6-cell battery. Models without the modem can be found for well under £300 if you don’t need the added connectivity. For solid build, excellent battery life and good interface components, the Toshiba NB200 earns a hearty recommendation.

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