Toshiba preps second-gen NB200 netbook

We made no bones about our disappointment in Toshiba’s NB100 in our review of the debutante netbook – and quite a few readers were not shy in letting us know they felt differently.

Much of our critique came down to that we expected more than what appeared to be a hurried ‘me too’ exercise from a company with such a pedigree in mobile computing.

From specs to styling the NB100 had little to differentiate it against its competitors yet was saddled with an uncompetitive price point – and that was a shame given the vast pool of laptop experience and expertise which Toshiba has to draw from.

Now the NB200 is on the way and it looks set to make up for what we considered to be the NB100’s missteps.

Toshiba’s NB200 looks much more like what we’d expect from the laptop leader although there’s no word on when we’ll see it locally – or even if we’ll get a choice between the silver and black chassis

No Australian release date or pricing has been set but the NB200 will launch in the UK next month with a starting price of £319 – which implies a local sticker upwards of $699 depending on which model we get.

UK buyers will be able to order the NB200 with either Intel’s Atom N270 or N280 processor although there’s not a huge performance delta between these two chips.

(The wins come more in slightly longer battery life due to the N280’s reduced power drain and better graphics when the N280 is paired with the Intel’s GN40 chipset rather than the N270’s standard-issue 945GSE although the NB200 sticks to 945GSE silicon regardless of your choice of CPU).

Screen size is bumped up to 10.1 inches which appears to have become the sweet spot for netbooks while Toshiba has moved to a ’tiled’ keyboard more in keeping with Apple’s notebooks and recent Asus netbooks such as the Eee PC 1000HE and 1000DN.

And while the standard three-cell battery is nothing out of the ordinary Toshiba offers an upgrade to a nine cell slab instead of the common six-cell pack. The company reckons this will set the NB200 up for nine hours on a single charge.

The 160GB hard drive up from the NB100’s 120GB is now protected by a 3D accelerometer monitoring system to protect the platter against bumps shocks and drops.

We’re also pleased to report that the revamped design of the NB200 shows no trace of the aged ’80s look for which we sledged the NB100. The slim modern styling is far more consistent with today’s Toshiba laptops.