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Toshiba Satellite A200-1AI

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      03.10.2010 17:49
      Very helpful



      Average laptop, that can be temperamental, with some great graphics/picture/display

      I'm far from a techie, so my review of the Satellite A-200 is somewhat amateurish.

      I have had the laptop for 3 years and have got by.

      There are some features which are great - the picture for example. The graphics are excellent and watching films is pure joy, I do love the truebright! My laptop's got a 15" screen and I do recognize the difference, e.g. when I compare it to my brother's who's got the 172 screen size. As I don't work with excel tables and the like, I'm quite happy with the 15" screen.
      The sound for watching films or listening to on-line music etc. is relatively good. I believe there are better sound systems out there but it's average. The only bug-bear of mine is that sometimes the volume doesn't quite get there to the level I'd like, e.g I wish I could turn up the music a bit more.
      The A-200 comes with Window's Vista. It's the first time I've used that program and I must say I did not become a fun, not going to go into details here though.

      The keyboard is easy to handle. The touch pad features some shortcut keys, which I find extremely annoying. As a lefty I use my left hand for the touch pad and my index finger constantly clicks on the shortcut key that opens up the Windows Picture Gallery. So for those (right-handed) people that love shortcuts, this might work, but I had to turn my shortcut function off.

      I use the laptop for skyping, and the built-in camera is surprisingly good, esp. when you consider it's just a 1.3m camera.
      I don't use headphone/speakerphones for skype calls, the reception is okay with just the built-in microphone.

      I do a lot of typing on the laptop and I find the keyboard quite easy to use, in that the keys aren't too hard to press, but they're not too soft either, so you do know when you've clicked on a letter or not. The keys are a good size. There is no separate numeric keypad section, though being left-handed, I wouldn't use it anyway as they're always to the right of the main keyboard.

      The laptop's kitted out with 4 USB docks which is great, as the mouse lead doesn't have to fight with a USB stick, as you can connect one via a USB outlet on the left and the other one to one on the right. There's a standard outlet for a router cable, though the laptop comes with a built-in wireless function. Having a slot for a standard SD card is handy for uploading photos from the digital camera.

      You think so far so good, what's the problem? Well, I have had several problems with the laptop, the most irritating one was that it kept crash-dumping on me. A friend of mine's had a look at it and it wasn't due to a virus or some internet malware, it's related to the sound software, it's faulty so I can listen to music for a while but expect a crash dump within 20 minutes. It's not easy to repair with it being a laptop, plus the repair might not be worth it given the decrease in value of the laptop. might as well bite the bullet and get a new one.

      Another thing I find is that the laptop takes a while to get started, I am quite impatient and thought it was my perception, but friends commented on this as well.

      The laptop has ample storage space and I've never even come close to reaching the maximum. So why does the laptop struggle with having 3 applications open at a time?? For example the Media Player, Spider Solitaire and Skype (random selections). Not only do I get the egg timer a lot for this but it also takes a while to jump from one screen to the next. Now as I said, since I couldn't tell whether it's me or the laptop, I did have my brother and friends look into this and apparently, it's not me but the system that's struggling.

      The battery has lost some of its power over the years, especially that last year, and watching a 90 minute film on the setting called "balanced power" when run on battery is not possible. You'd have to plug the charger in. The laptop gets quite warm, so if you're thinking of having it on for more than 2-3 hours, you might want to lift it every now and then or put it on a laptop stand so the vents underneath the laptop can do their trick and the laptop doesn't overheat.
      When the laptop was about 14 months old I discovered another problem - the laptop wasn't starting, it wasn't doing anything when I pressed the 'on' button! At first I thought it was broken, but then I discovered that it would start again after removing the battery from the compartment under the laptop and putting it back in. I have to do this every 2 weeks or so. There doesn't seem to be a set interval which means every time this happens I freak thinking that it's the end of my laptop. So not for the faint-hearted...

      So there are some advantages as well as disadvantages, and it's up to you to decide which things matter or not.
      Personally, I wouldn't by the laptop again, though I wouldn't say no if given for free...


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