We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Laptops Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Toshiba NB550D review

£280 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Toshiba

The Toshiba NB550D netbook is one of the very first to use the new AMD Fusion ‘APU’ processors. But will this Accelerated Processor Unit bring decent battery life to the notoriously ephemeral AMD processor line?

The Toshiba NB550D netbook is one of the very first to use the new AMD Fusion ‘APU’ processors. But will this Accelerated Processor Unit bring decent performance and battery life to the notoriously ephemeral AMD processor line?

The Toshiba NB550D is a netbook unlike any of the netbooks that have come before it. It has a 10.1in glossy screen like most other netbooks on the market - but instead of running an Intel Atom processor, the Toshiba NB550D is based on the AMD Fusion APU (accelerated processing unit), which is composed of an AMD C-50 CPU (1GHz) and ATI Radeon HD 6250 graphics processor.

This APU supplies much better overall performance then a typical Intel Atom–based netbook, and it's also competitive (and in some cases faster) than netbooks based on Intel's dual-core Atom CPU.

The Toshiba NB550D looks great and feels good to use, despite having speakers located on its palm rest. These speakers are from Harmon Kardon and they are much better than what can usually be found on netbooks. Put it this way: you can actually use them to listen to music and watch films.

We like the overall build quality of the Toshiba NB550D; it feels sturdy on all sides and its screen is held by strong hinges. The texture of the palm rest (the parts that aren't occupied by the speakers) and the lid feels almost rubber-like, which is good, and the overall design of the netbook is stylish — although the speakers on the palm rest do look ugly.

Despite being only a 10.1in netbook, the Toshiba NB550D is actually a little bigger than a typical netbook, thanks to a deep palm rest and a wider-than-usual bezel around the screen. It has a good size keyboard that is very comfortable to hit; its touchpad is also fairly large (80x40mm), but it has a texture that can sometimes get on your nerves.

Around the edges of the Toshiba NB550D netbook, you'll find three USB 2.0 ports, a 100Mb/s ethernet port, headphone and microphone jacks and an HDMI port.

It's the HDMI port that sets this netbook apart from others — digital video outputs are rarely found on Intel netbooks. This port should make it easier to plug a netbook into a big-screen TV and stream video off the web or watch videos.

When watching standard-definition video from the Toshiba NB550D on a 40in Sharp LCD TV there was some slight tearing noticeable in the video, but it wasn't a regular occurrence. Video playback was smooth on the netbook's own screen.

By default, the video from the netbook is overscanned on the TV, and there is no scaling feature available in the AMD Catalyst Control Centre software to fit the screen exactly to the TV, which means the Taskbar is hidden from view.

As for performance, the test results we obtained are positive and they show that this Toshiba NB550D netbook is indeed faster than most, even though it only runs at 1GHz and has 1GB of RAM.

Compared to the fastest netbook we've seen to date, the Acer Aspire One Happy, the Toshiba NB550D puts on a great show.

It recorded times of 4min 25sec and 4min 54sec in the Blender 3D and iTunes MP3 encoding tests, with the iTunes time being especially fast for a netbook. What this suggests is that the Toshiba NB550D is indeed well suited to performing media tasks, more so than other netbooks on the market.

However, you still won't want to use it for encoding media files, as it will still be too slow for most tasks.

The Toshiba NB550D's hard drive transfer speed was a little slower than expected at 20 megabytes per second, but its 3DMark06 score of 1882 is better than we expected to see out of a netbook. It doesn't mean that you can use the netbook for gaming, but it gives it a little more oomph when it comes to processing videos and photos on the screen.

A battery life of 3hr 13min was achieved by the Toshiba NB550D's 6-cell battery, which isn't a great result when compared to many recent netbooks we've seen, such as the Aspire One Happy and the HP Mini 5103. But you might be able to get more out of it when you enable Eco mode or a custom power profile and a low screen brightness.

The screen itself is quite glossy, and reflections get annoying, but it's bright enough so that you can use the netbook outdoors.

NEXT PAGE: our verdict >>

See also: Group test: what's the best laptop?

Toshiba NB550D Expert Verdict »


Toshiba NB550D-109 (Netbook) reviews verified by Reevoo

Toshiba NB550D-109 (Netbook)Scores 8.2 out of 10 based on 115 reviews
1GHz AMD C50 Fusion
Windows 7 Starter
AMD Radeon HD 6250M graphics
10.1in (1024x600) LCD display
1GB RAM
250GB 5400rpm 2.5in SATA HDD
HDMI
webcam
SD card slot
100Mb/s ethernet
802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth
3 x USB 2.0
3.5mm headphone jack
266 x 193 x 37mm
1.18kg

The Toshiba NB550D feels sturdy, looks good, it's light and it has good speed for a netbook. The HDMI port should make it appeal to users who want something small that they can plug into their TVs to watch streaming video or downloads. Note that we did see choppy video on our high-defintion television. We also wish it had better battery life, as its performance in our battery test doesn't stack up well against recent competitors.

  • Toshiba NB550D-10G review

    Toshiba NB550D-10G

    The Toshiba NB550D-10G is a netbook with a difference - in place of the ubiquitous Intel Atom processor is AMD's new 'accelerated processing unit', the APU C50 chip.

  • Toshiba NB305 review

    Toshiba NB305

    The Toshiba NB305 is a slightly revised version of the company's award-winning Toshiba NB200 netbook

  • Toshiba NB300 review

    Toshiba NB300

    The Toshiba NB300 is a 10in netbook with a slim frame, a long battery life and an advanced Sleep-and-Charge USB port.

  • Toshiba NB100-11R review

    Toshiba NB100-11R

    Joining the throng of compact-and-affordable notebook PC makers is Toshiba, with its little Toshiba NB100-11R laptop.

  • Toshiba NB200 review

    Toshiba NB200

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


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Why Apple shouldn't be blamed for exploitation in China and Indonesia