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After having enjoyed my Asus laptop for about 6 years I decided it was time for a change. It was just getting too slow and the "immense" 10 GB hard drive (that's what I thought when I got it...) was constantly full, not to mention that the battery stopped charging all of a sudden... Anyways, I shopped around the net for quite a while before deciding on this one. The main decision factors were it's good specs, looks and, very important, the low price. This one came for about £400, the Asus had cost me almost £1000
Aesthetically it is a very eye catching machine, with its silver keyboard frame and grayish keyboard, the shiny screen and the midnight blue screen top boasting a shiny silver Toshiba logo. This is not without its problems since it catches finger prints like a magnet and it always looks dirty...
Performance wise, having switched from such an old computer I was amazed at how fast the programs would start or documents open. It operates rather quietly, although when the fan turns on it can be rather annoying. The screen is bright and held by a sturdy looking hinge. This, however, does not prevent the screen from rocking quite a bit if your on a train or car ride, which can also be hard to tolerate. The sound is quite flimsy and with all the room available for a nicer set of speakers one is left wishing for more.
Connectivity is pretty much standard and a dual layer DVD writer will make sure you can backup you data onto almost any type of media. The recorder is reliable and, when a disc burning went wrong I could most often trace it to the disc itself. The tray however, does not open properly anymore and I have to use a finger nail to pull it out, especially when the computer is hotter. Something must bend with the heat... Toshiba also put a turn whel for the volume instead of the very popular Fn key access to volume control. This was fine at first but mine now only very reluctantly will decrease the volume. Battery life is pretty average and bellow my expectation for a modern machine but in power saving mode I can squeeze about 2h 20 min.
I cannot finish without praising on Toshiba's customer support and warranty. My keyboard had some keys that were somewhat lazy and this was very frustrating so I contacted them, they arranged for pickup, replaced the keyboard and sent it back. Total cost: zero. Then, when returning the computer to me the screen was smashed on its way back. Contact them again, "no problem" they say, arranged for new pickup, replaced the screen and sent it back again. Quite fast too.
Have owned this for just over a year now. It is very reasonably priced considering what it comes with. When I first bought it, it was very speedy and operations took place quickly. Since then it has slowed dramtically which is quite a disadvantage. BAttery life on the laptop isn't good, and buying another battery for this model is very expensive. It is quite a large laptop compared to rivals but does come at a lower price. Mine has never gone wrong in any way, and is still working well now. The screen is large and makes gaming and film watching really good. THe speakers are not very good at all, but attaching headphones or another better set of speakers makes it much quicker. The built in wireless receiver is also really handy and works brilliantly, never losing its signal. The laptop however does become very hot, and you need to be careful on which surgace you put it.
I got my laptop August 2007, primarily for University work. I'm computer literate, but not particularly technically minded so when buying, one of the things I was looking for was for it to be aesthetically pleasing. In my opinion, the Toshiba A200 definitely is. I've had it for some time now and had no real problems with it at all - I frequently run several programmes at once and it is generally very fast. Similarly, although I have an external hard drive for back-up I have found the memory to be really quite large, I still have not exceeded the total memory and I have a great number of photo, videos & music files.
The only thing I would say is that I have a friend who has exactly the same laptop but in a larger screen size, and while this isn't a real problem if there is not much difference in price between the two I would probably say go for the larger screen size because it would be worth it when watching movies etc.
Also, the battery life is not fantastic - generally I have to charge it up after every couple of hours but I don't know what that is like in comparison to other laptops.
i was gutted when i broke my old computer so as you can imagine i was keen to get a new one i read a few reveiws on toshiba and they were all good. i was put off by the prices tho but luckily i found mine at comet for less than 500 and it was a bargain it is fast and very well built most lap tops have two tiny hinges and tend to feel weak this one has one huge hinge and feels very sturdy i'm not big on technical jargon but it does everthing i want and a whole lot more.
I first started investigating laptops in August as I wanted to take a laptop with me to university. My main requirements was that it was to be fast enough to handle most programs so that it doesn't leave me sitting around waiting to take notes or finish a task as well as remaining portable and more importantly good value for money. I am interested in computers and am doing a computer based course, so I thought I would have to budget form around £600 - £800 for a good performing laptop, as I was going on what my friends had paid for their laptops. I was also aware that after researching a bit on the internet, I found that when you buy a laptop its important that its from a good manufacturer e.g. Acer's apparently are unreliable, Compaq's are slow performing and Sony's tend to be out of most peoples price range. However Toshiba was the one brand that I had heard nothing but praise for, whether it was their reliability, good value, high build quality and good battery performance. So I carried on researching for about 3 weeks as it was a major purchase for me to go to university with, as my student budget hardly stretches over the necessities as it is. I found myself eliminating a lot of the manufacturers from my comparisons due to reliability issues and general feel of the laptops for example a HP laptop's touchpad just doesn't feel right to me, it feels cheap and sticky, it's a personal opinion but it's a laptop so the user is stuck using the peripherals installed on it e.g. touchpad and keyboard. I was aware that the best deals are to be had online, and thought I'd settle on a Toshiba, preferably one from the Satellite range, as they seem to be the good performance ones with the good value. After going through the specifications on the Toshiba website, which I might add is very easy to compare the differences between their laptops and is really quite helpful, I settled on an A200 series, as the new A210 series is based on AMD's processors and currently Intel's processors (CPU's) are a lot better at power management, thus give a longer battery life. This is the only difference between the A200 and A210 series.
I had settled on one of the A200's, however as it is a laptop and I need to really be able to feel the weight of it, as I am not good at judging weights from a kilogram measure on a website, I went to various high street shops to see and have a quick play on the Toshiba A200's. I went to PC World, Dixons, Currys etc, all the staff seemed to echo the reviews I had read on the internet about Toshiba being one of the best manufacturers for laptops. The touchpad felt nice and it felt like it had been designed and made properly, the keyboard felt nice and the screen was big enough a 15.4" widescreen, which is easy enough to carry around and also bright and had a good level of clarity as it made pictures seem a lot more vibrant. All in all I was impressed with the quality of the laptop, it's the little things which made it stand apart from the other laptops, such as the fact that the speakers are mounted near the bottom of the screen, unlike the other laptops who had them in front of the keyboard so when you typed, your hand and arm completely covered the speaker, this in my opinion is quite a bad design fault. Upon using it the general feel of quality was outstanding, even when you open the lid on it to reveal the screen, the hinge which keeps it on the laptop feels sturdy and safe and like it will last, which is reassuring as some of the other laptops felt like they would break if you opened it too quickly. I tested the weight of it in the shops and found that it was also lighter than most other laptops. The Toshiba A200 range was also quite a high performance laptop when I was using it. I managed to benchmark the laptops effectively by using the inbuilt feature inside Windows Vista, where it can show you a rating of how well your computer performance, a score out of 10. It is called a windows experience score and is quite comprehensive as it tests the performance of the processor, ram, video / graphics card, hard drive space, and can give a clear breakdown on where the computer is weakest. The Toshiba's consistently came out on top, the only laptops which came close was some of the Sony's but then I compared the price and immediately ruled them out as the cheapest one was £900, and the Toshiba's I was playing on ranged from £400 to £550.
After comparing them all on the Toshiba website I found that the A200-195 was the best for me, as it offered a good sized hard drive, 120GB, quite large in comparison to other manufacturers' laptops, the general range seemed to be about 80GB. The processor was a 1.76GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo, this is important as it is a Core 2, this processor is the new one from Intel which is less demanding of the battery for better performance so it is a must in a laptop, again I was surprised to find that hardly any of the other laptops had Core 2's, until you got to the £900 price ranges, hence the battery life on the Toshiba was sold as 3 to 4 hours and the other laptops based on the Core 1 was 1.5 to 2 hours. There is 2GB of DDR2 RAM inside the 195 as well, which is impressive as that's more than most desktop pc's come with nowadays, I only could find some laptops which matched this, and again they were a higher price. The graphics card inside is the only let down of the system, it is an integrated graphics card, which means it isn't a PCI or PCI express card which obviously has its disadvantages, namely it won't be able to play games in as high a resolution as some of the other computers, however to get a decent graphics card inside a laptop the price range immediately starts at £800, which is out of my price range. There is also the issue on a big graphics card draining power from the battery which is a known problem, so I am happy with the integrated graphics card and to be honest I play games on it quite a lot and it's not bad at all.
The A200-195 is the laptop I bought in the end, for £530 from comet, I ordered it off the internet to collect at my local store and saved £20 off the in store price, but still got my laptop instantly. I have been using it now for 3 almost 4 months, and I can honestly say I have never been so impressed with a laptop. I thought laptops had problems with battery length's, I thought they were slow, heavy and hard to carry around and fragile. My Toshiba laptop has now become a standard class talking point at my university as it is always commented on the fact that everyone else plugs their laptops in to charge it again after about 1 hour, and they start off with a full charge. Whereas mine I have tapped away on and used it quite heavily i.e. mathematical / engineering modelling programs as well as the host of processor and memory hungry computing programs I use on a day to day basis, for longer than 3 hours. It is quite often for me not to have to charge it until I have been using it for about 4 to 4.5 hours, which is impressive for a laptop. The other students have a range of laptops from Sony's, Acer's HP and ASUS, however they have all been impressed with my laptop and some have now even changed laptops to use a Toshiba from the A200 range. It even looks the business as it has a glossy "onyx" effect blue lid with Toshiba written across it in silver, and when you open you get to see the nice speakers, the silver keyboard and the clear blue LED lights at the front, it really is a very pleasant laptop to use, and as far as weights concerned well I drop it I my rucksack and go to university everyday with it, and don't have a problem. It's also robust as I frequently run with it loose in my rucksack and it hasn't scratched dented or anything, whereas my friends HP has had a hard drive failure and when he got it back from HP they said the reason for it was because of the laptop had been moved too quickly. This has not and I hope will not happen with my Toshiba.
The laptop came pre loaded with Vista Home Premium, which I am now happy to be using, as it offers more features on a laptop than XP does, e.g. it automatically switches profiles to get the best out of your battery e.g. slows performance when its not needed, powers down wireless strength to enable you to still use wireless but it just doesn't sap all the power. All together it's a very smart operating system, and when partnered with the very smart Toshiba A200-195 it's impressive.
To conclude my review, this laptop is;
High performance (Core 2 Duo)
Large Hard drive (120GB)
Pleasant to use
Excellent Battery life, in excess of 4 hours
Excellent at showing pictures and video off, as it has a large 15.4" widescreen and has vibrant colours
Quiet and refined when being used, unlike some laptops where all you can here is the fan
Good at listening to music through
Has good connectivity as it has wireless and it also has 4 USB ports and an Ethernet (network) port.
Lightweight and easy to use
Comes with Vista Home Premium, better than the Home Basic edition
In short, I think this laptop is one of the best on the market as a general high performance but affordable laptop which ticks all the right boxes. I would recommend this laptop to everyone. The only drawbacks are that it does not have Bluetooth connectivity, which can be rectified by a £10 USB dongle off the internet. It also does not have a built in webcam, which is acceptable to me as I would rather connect one when I need it than make the laptop larger when I don't want to use it, as the webcam is integrated above the screen, making the lid larger. As I mentioned before it doesn't have a standalone graphics card, so the performance on some of the new games won't be as good as the more expensive laptops, but I question why anyone would play games on a laptop as most gamers use desktops because they can have a seriously high performance computer and a large screen. I think this is one of the best laptops from the best laptop manufacturer, Toshiba.
Thanks for reading.