Toshiba makes budget Netbook, the NB505

The economy's bad and Netbooks are losing market share to tablets. The smart move: make them cheaper.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
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  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein

Toshiba's $299 Netbook: the NB505.
Toshiba's $299 Netbook: the NB505. Toshiba

LAS VEGAS--Toshiba makes good Netbooks, but they were never on the affordable side. The Mini NB305 is one of our favorite Atom Netbooks around, but its price hovers higher than perfectly suitable entry-level alternatives from Acer and Asus.

While some manufacturers, such as Asus, seem to be shifting focus away from Netbooks completely, Toshiba appears to be giving it another go with the NB505, a more affordable Netbook that matches its stiffest competition at $299.

Toshiba Satellite NB305 and NB505 (photos)

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Its specs are baseline: Windows 7 Starter OS, 10.1-inch display, 250GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, and an unspecified Atom processor that we assume is single-core. At these prices, though, who can complain? It comes in a spectrum of colors--turquoise, blue, lime green, brown, orange--and drops popular features such as USB sleep-and-charge, but it feels nice and comes with a comfortable keyboard.

The venerable NB305 is back in a refresh as well, offering a "premium aluminum finish in blue" and a dual-core N550 Atom processor along with the useful sleep-and-charge USB port and a hard-drive impact sensor, but otherwise similar specs. At $379, it costs about the same as last year's NB305, but right now, if we were considering buying a Netbook, we'd go with the cheaper chicken. The question is, are you still considering buying a Netbook?