Impressions and Conclusions
My impression of Toshiba has not changed after testing the computer for several weeks. I expected a business class notebook without a lot of bells and whistles and that’s really what I experienced.
The computer is well built, it feels solid. The display is very nice, I appreciated the big screen. The numeric keypad is a big plus and I made use of it quite a bit as I entered the benchmark scores into my Excel spreadsheet. I’ll say it one last time – the computer felt a little under powered and every task seemed to take longer than it would have on an XP machine.
I understand that the designers are walking a tight-rope when it comes to the placement of ports and drive bays on notebook computers. They want them in convenient locations for the user while keeping in mind the internal setup of the computer itself. I didn’t like the DVD drive being placed on the front right side of the notebook. The tray barely cleared my mouse pad and it’s just annoying to have to move the mouse every time I needed to use the drive. I also prefer USB and network ports be on the back of the notebook or at least near the back on the sides. Now I can get down off my soap box…
I underestimated the values of having the volume control wheel on the front of the notebook. I really like this feature that allows me to have more precise control of the volume. I also liked the placement of the memory card reader directly below the touchpad but I question placing the headphone jacks on the front. I sometimes use my notebook in bed or while lying on the couch and having the audio plug in my stomach might cause some discomfort. I use USB headphones but if someone were using regular din plugs, this might cause a problem.
In defense of Toshiba, we chose to compare the Satellite with a Dell that is marketed to the gaming/performance audience. The Dell costs double the price of the Satellite and the performance was acceptable for the consumer that Toshiba is marketing it towards. If you look hard enough, you can a find a model similar to the one we have tested here for around $1100 — not the cheapest system on the block but definitely lower than average. I was actually surprised how well the Toshiba performed when compared head-to-head to a performance notebook considering that huge price difference. This notebook is perfect for the casual or business computer user.
The entire time I was working on this review I was thinking about what its intended use is. My conclusions are that this is a desktop replacement for the average user that just wants to surf the web, maybe watch a DVD and perform basic office functions like word processing and spreadsheets. No gaming allowed other than solitaire or mahjong. I would buy this computer for my wife but I need a little more.
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