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The Toshiba A200-107 laptop is among the lower end of the A200 line, but that is not a down side as the high end is very costly. It features good hardware specs and includes extra media keys and features to go with the vista home premium operating system already on there. I bought one for £550 in November, but it has now dropped to £500.
~Specs and Performance~
The screen is 15 inches big, which is around average in the laptop business. But it stands out in terms of picture clarity and brightness. The screen has been optimized for media and movie viewing, and really performs well, it is also very bright which prevents too much sun glare.
The processor is a standard T5250 processor, and it runs at 1.5GHZ, it is a core 2 duo from intel. It works well and runs any normal tasks needed for it, but will struggle if used for any newer games, they will run slowly.
The ram on the other hand is another story. 2GB is easily enough for day to day tasks, and should be able to cope with all but the trickiest games. When I bought the PC 2GB was well above the average, but now the average laptop standard has almost caught up with it, by about christmas I think that the standard will be 2Gb, so it is still above average.
The sound card and speakers are excellent. The speakers have been given some poor reviews, but in my opinion they are great. They come from a prestigous speaker brand, Dolby, and they can reach very high volume levels, the sound quality is reasonable. The notes are sharp, but the bass struggles to perform. There are also headphone and microphone slots at the front of the pc.
There is a large amount of hard drive space here, 200GB to be precise. This is great for a laptop, and easily has enough storage space to store as much stuff as most people will need. The speed is 7200 RPM, this is much faster than most hard drives, so stuff can be quickly installed and written on to it very quickly.
The graphics card is about average inside this computer. It works fine and can handle almost any game, but maybe not for long as new games are requiring more power. 256mb is average and is fine, that is not the part of the graphics card that lets it down. Unfortunately there is no direct x 10 support on the graphics card, which is a huge bummer. At the moment direct x 9 is what most new games use, except for some rare cases. But in around 6 months all new games will use direct x 10, which is annoying.
There are many different ports on the laptop, which is a huge advantage. 4 USB ports are here, 2 on either side, these are all 2.0 and run quickly. There are two extras that many laptops don't really have anymore, the first is a pci slot on the side, which allows for easy expansion in the future. The second is a firewire slot, these have become old fashioned becuase of USB 2.0, but are still fast, it is great having one to use with my ipod for fast data transfer speeds.
Because this is a very media friendly laptop, it tries to incorporate media keys to make it more user friendly. There are music keys at the top of the laptop and these work very well with the media center program inside of windows vista home premium.
Unfortunately there is no webcam included on the top of the laptop. But for small extra amounts you can customize your model to include one, in either 1.3 or 2 megapixel formats. If you are going to buy one of these then I suggest you add a webcam as it all adds up to a better media experience.
While I am on media functions I should add that there is a memory card slot located on the front next to the headphone port, it can read SD cards or Pro Duo memory cards, and works flawlessly.
The keyboard is easy to type on and does not have any flaws as far as I am concerned, in the 6 months that I have owned it not one key has come off once. Also they are not getting worn at all.
The mouse moves smoothly and easy, just so you know it is not actually blue like in the picture, that is just a sticky that can easily be peeled off.
~Appearance and styling~
The laptop looks stunning to put it simply, it is generally a mix of silver and black. On the inside the speaker end is shiny and black, which will smudge a bit. There is a nice silver top around the keyboard and mouse area, it is very nice and looks very stylish. The outside also has a black finish, except this time it is not shiny, it looks great. There is also the signature Toshiba logo on the top, which is basically the word toshiba in white standard writing, this seems simple but is a very nice touch.
Vista home premium is the operating system on the laptop. It is great for media and works brilliantly with all of the laptop media hardware. When I bought it originally it was not included on many laptops, but now it is standard on many of them. For an extra £40 though you can upgrade to ultimate.
Adobe reader 8 is included, for reading any adobe files, I am not sure if it is the most recent version of not. There are also a few Toshiba programs included, like backup utilities, not many laptops will have these.
I had already said that I bought the laptop for £550, and that it now costs a reasonable £500, which is good value for money. There are also many extras in the range that can be purchased for much better value than if you were to buy the components by themselves, like a blu ray drive for an extra measly £100, though this will also require a processor upgrade at £30 to cope with it. Compared to other laptops of the same price range this performs exceedingly well.
All in all this is a bargain laptop from a prestigous brand and a great range. It incorporates some great meda features like keys and Adobe speakers, along with firewire for speedy MP3 player connections. It is also very stylish and not too bulky or heavy. If you are considering buying a laptop in this price range I suggest you take a serious look at this one.