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A good alrounder is this laptop. I bought mine about a year ago for a reasonable price. It has many features to it which are very helpfull.
1. Wether your on the move or sat at you desk theres an power option there to get the best performance and battery life out of the laptop
2. Multimedia buttons on front, so if you listening to music, you dont have to have the lid up to change tracks, just press the button!
3. Small and compact, but still has enough power to run many high CPU usage programs. The cooling fans are temperature controlled so most of the time it is silent in use. They also have speed control on them so if the CPU is only getting a bit of usage, the fans aren't going at full pelt and creating lots of noise.
The ease of use with this i great. The keyboard layout is standard and the mouse pad is in the middle for a left/right handed user. Mouse pad also has scrolling features so you don't have to use the scroll bar eveytime, just move you finger to the edge of the pad and scroll.
Its also really reliable. I got this second had and was originally purchased in '04. Its now 2 years old and i've only had to send it off for repair once, and that was because I dropped it!
The only realy thing that I can flaw with the laptop is that the cooling fans are right where you would rest it on you lap if its not on a desk. But that can be overcome by repositioning slightly.
But all in all this is a very good laptop. Perfect for the occational E-mail/Students/Gamers/Office users.
With the prices in the personal computer market falling all the time, more and more consumers are being drawn towards buying laptops; this, in turn, has sparked a range of 'new' laptops to be launched - the desktop replacement. Laptop manufacturers are now beginning to provide systems tailored for portability, rather than use on the go (although, lightweight portable systems are being manufactured). The desktop replacement laptop PC is fast becoming the norm as a base spec system in the laptop market. As prices of traditional PC's have fallen drastically over the past two years or so, home PC's are becoming 'disposable' - it is now cheaper to purchase a PC every 18 months than to upgrade an existing system. As a result of the fall in component upgrades, laptops have become a more sensible solution for the home user. I decided to purchase a laptop over a traditional desktop due to space limitations in my current house; looking across the wealth of systems within my budget, I decided upon a desktop replacement model (it became apparent to me that as I don't travel much, I needed a system to work upon on arrival, rather than in transit). Toshiba's Satellite A30 range offered the most configuration options on the market, and fit neatly into my price bracket - the fact that this range offers a lot of 'bang for your buck' was the final deciding factor in my purchase. And so to the system itself - my configuration is a Pentium 4 3.06Ghz, with 512Mb of RAM, and a healthy 60Gb hard disk. The range is supplied as standard with a 15" screen, although the graphics card can only display at a relatively modest 1024x768 resolution. However, for a majority of users, this should be sufficient. The range also comes with two USB sockets, one Firewire port, one PCMCIA card slot (annoyingly - most users would find need for a second) and an S-Video output (for those who wish to run the system through a TV, LCD or pla
sma screen). The package also includes as standard Microsoft Windows XP as the operating system, Microsoft Works for office productivity, and a copy of Microsoft Money for the budding accountant out there. As a base specification, the system performs well, and my setup performs better under benchmarking than my housemates IBM R40 (which is substantially lighter than my system and costs around £2000 +VAT), much to his annoyance. There are however a couple of weaknesses in the setup - chiefly in the field of graphics. The graphics card is an Intel Extreme that utilises shared memory from the main system RAM. Whilst this is vastly undetectable in normal use, it will not satisfy the gamers out there. The battery life is around six hours in standby mode, although this will decrease dramatically if you are a power user. On average, I have found that about 3 to 3.5 hours is around the normal battery life. However, there is a utility that Toshiba have provided as standard to set different power profiles to increase your battery life by tweaking the fan performance and screen brightness, amongst others. The screen itself is a relatively solid 15" item, and is clear and crisp, but won't win any awards. In my experience though, it is sufficient enough for all the usual challenges thrown at a modern computer, with the only exceptions being graphics work and high-end gaming. The screen casing does offer one interesting feature however - it forms part of the antenna for the wireless module (for those of you who would be interested in wireless connectivity). Personally, I run my wireless network through a PCMCIA card, and this has proven to be a far more cost effective way of utilising wireless connectivity. With regards to using the system as a base, I would highly recommend the upgrade to the DVD-/+ R multidrive; whilst the cost of blank DVD is currently quite high, the upgrade is far cheaper than buying an aftermarket external DVD bu
rner (meaning that in the future, this drive will be the most useful choice). I have found that the system runs perfectly well on a TV through the S-Video output, although there is no provision for an external keyboard and mouse (other than via the USB slot). In summary, the Toshiba Satellite A30 series is not a lightweight business system, but is vastly effective at providing a solid computing setup at home that can be taken anywhere (providing you don't need to work in transit). The prices and range of configuration options are such that most users needs should be easily met, and the system will integrate simply with your home entertainment system with the addition of one cheap lead (should you wish to work on your TV with some tunes going, for example). To first time laptop buyers, I would have no hesitation in recommending this product; however, if your wish to perform high-end 3D gaming or any intensive graphics work, I would recommend you look elsewhere.