May 17, 2011

Posted by in Featured, Laptops & Tablets, Reviews | 28 Comments

Toshiba NB520 Netbook Review

It’s quite a challenge having to pick a good netbook these days as all seem relatively similar when it comes to function, performance and not to mention the size. It then all comes down to the design and brand preference that ultimately pits you to decide on which one to have.

Toshiba NB520

However, Toshiba wants to make a difference with their new NB520 netbook, the first of its kind to feature Harman/Kardon speakers that is geared for good audio entertainment. Topped it off with an affordable price tag of Php23,990 is the NB520 really worth the attention? Let’s find out.

Design

Toshiba NB520

What’s apparent in the NB520′s design is the rubberized coating of the lid that feels really nice on the surface. This could mean that the lid would be less prone to scratches than the glossy ones and also fingerprint-friendly. The netbook comes in five different colors namely brown, green, blue, turquoise and orange which we currently have for review.

Toshiba NB520

The NB520 likes to boast on its Harman/Kardon speakers which is the first and only netbook to have them. It is nicely situated on both sides of the palm rest and will not only make the netbook louder but also enhance the sound experience which would make you set aside the earphones.

Toshiba NB520 Toshiba NB520

The LCD display is of standard quality at 1,024×600 resolution which is pretty standard for most netbooks. Below the LCD is where you’ll find the power button which is also accessible even if the lid is closed.

Toshiba NB520

We find the keyboard to be a bit cramped with some keys being relatively smaller than other netbook keyboards. There’s the ever useful dedicated PgUp and PgDwn buttons that’s oddly situated beside the Shift Key but we’ll take it. Despite the semi-cramped keys, this won’t be much of a challenge as users will get used to the layout easily.

Toshiba NB520

The touchpad was neatly placed so as to avoid being accidentally brushed off by the palms while typing and we find it to be very responsive and accurate. Having dedicated buttons for the touchpad was also to be desired.

Toshiba NB520 Toshiba NB520

The NB520’s back portion is raised significantly higher for better typing comfort. It may not be that slim but it offers the comfortable ergonomics in return. At the left side is where you’ll find the LAN, VGA and USB ports as well as the mic and audio jacks. On the right side is where the two USB ports are located.

A nifty feature with the NB520’s USB ports is that it uses ‘sleep and charge’ technology wherein you can charge mobile devices even when the machine is powered down.

Performance

The NB520 packs a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor, clocked at 1.5GHz, 320GB HD and a 1GB RAM. The hardware packs enough juice to power up a W7 Starter Edition OS and pretty much do basic tasks like surfing the web, listening to music, watch movies, editing documents, etc. Playing games, editing pics or videos won’t be a good idea then. Although, the NB520 does a good job in utilizing the Intel Atom N550’s capabilities which makes it feel slightly more responsive when it comes to basic day-to-day tasks.

Toshiba NB520

The Harman/Kardon speakers, which is unique to this netbook, works as advertised. It won’t give you the acoustics you are looking for on a very nice set of speakers but it will make you leave your earphones or portable speakers at home. If you’re familiar with the X-mini speakers, it’s like having one of those built-in.

We initially thought though, that typing on the keyboard would muffle the speakers due to the palms but that wasn’t the case when we reviewed it. It seems Toshiba has thought of this ahead and we were surprised on how the speakers were able to retain its sound quality even when the palms are fully rested on top of the speakers.

The battery life is one of NB520’s strengths here as it took us more than 5 hours of use even with constant Wi-Fi connectivity. This gives you more time to enjoy the features of the netbook without having to scramble for an outlet in a coffee shop.

Verdict

The NB520 does indeed set apart from the wide array of netbooks in the market. With its ergonomic design, excellent battery life, exceptional sound and an affordable price of Php23,990, you won’t have to think twice about purchasing this one. Although, it may be limited to performing basic tasks but if you can live with that limitation (which you should if you’re only looking for a netbook) then the Toshiba NB520 is for you.

Toshiba NB520 Specs:
Intel Atom Processor N550 (1M Cache, 1.5GHz)
Genuine Windows 7 Starter
2GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
10.1 WSVGA SuperView TFT Display, 1024 x 600
Intel GMA 3150 Express Chipset
320GB SATA HDD
Harman/Kardon Stereo Speakers, Dolby Advanced Audio
Built-in webcam
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0
3 x USB 2.0, 2-in1 card reader
6-cell Lithium Ion
1.32 kg
SRP: Php23,990

Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Carl Clasio with some slight revisions by the editor. Carl is a contributor here at PTB and loves playing with all sorts of gadgets. He’s also into photography, likes Piña Colada and getting caught in the rain.



  1. what’s the point of reviewing this netbook if it ain’t a Zacate or a newer iteration of Intel Atom?

    just because of the new design? H/K Speakers?

    it’s not sulit bro’

    considering this is one of the OLDER generation netbook who can’t even manage to play 1080p FULL HD Video with a 23K price tag.

  2. kenneth pattinson says:

    @jay… lol… don’t act like stupid somthing… hahaha this isn’t your page… nkikiview ka na nga lng ee… what a shitty…hahaha

  3. Dang! :P

  4. razorous says:

    Check lang? Is it 1024×760 or 1024×600? Baka typo lang ser?

  5. I like it…but I was afraid to buy a netbook because my classmate experienced that it is not good to have it. The first Hardware being damage on some netbook is the keyboard and motherboard.

  6. dean sanchez says:

    how much RAM does this netbook have?1GB or 2GB?is it upgradable?…in the performance portion of the article, it was mentioned that it is packed with 1GB RAM but the specs portion has it at 2 GB…

  7. malinaw ba cam nito pag nagskype?

  8. hello fella, tanong ko lang po… papano po un chance of overheat sa netbook na to?,..my chance po ba?..kung meron po, ilang percent po un chance na un…pls repz salamat :)

  9. my problema s intel graphics ng nb520 yaw nman driver nya,inupgrade ko sya from win7 starter to win7 ultimate ayaw nman n…help plz.

  10. Jenny Jacob says:

    Sir, mahilig kasi akong maglaro ng Facebook games. Okay lang ba kung maglaro ng Facebook games sa netbook na to? Halimabawa po, Farmville, or mga games sa miniclip. Maraming salamat po! :)

  11. Kenneth Bryan Altovar says:

    meron na ako nito, NB520 ok na ok sakin friendly to use, fortable talaga……. i encourage you guys to have one…….

  12. maganda po itong model na to…..i bought it this february and maganda tlga cya…also useful yung sleep and charge feature nya….and compared to others malakas tlga yung speakers…kahit medyo old version na yung processor mabilis pa din..

    • Joan Gonzales says:

      ung toshiba nb520 pwede po ba sa windows 8?

    • How’s that “sleep and charge” feature? I haven’t seen it yet. I also have this one. And i love the whole thing about this netbook. I just can’t play some videos. Also, the Google Chrome that I have just installed lately is not working. Is it not compatible? I switch using to Mozilla, then it works.

  13. Hi! Thanks for this review. Gus2 q n rn itanong kng ok b ung picture ng netbook. Ok dn b 4 gaming? Thanks

  14. the weak part of this netbook is the part where its being fold i dunno what its called, but i think its where the flex or connector is. It connects the board to LCd, and so I get a bad screen display lately.

  15. Eric Colon says:

    Pwebe po ba ang Toshiba NB520 makapaglaro ng Dota 2? please reply naman po.. hihintayin ko lang po sagot nyo Thanks.

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