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I haven't had a laptop for a few years since I left work, but I did enjoy the flexibility of being able to use one wherever the mood took me. So I got it into my head I 'needed' a laptop, and we decided to purchase one in the January sales.
We looked at the specifications of a few different ones online before deciding on this model, which was on sale at pc world for £329. If you were to buy it today from there, it is £349, and there was a 'pre-sale price' of over £500. Now, I'm always a bit skeptical of pre-sale prices, as I don't feel that they are accurate. This was however available at other places like amazon for over £400 so we felt we were happy to get it at this price.
We went to pick it up in a store, but these were really flying out in January so they went out of stock between us checking availability before our shopping trip and then getting to the shop a couple of hours later.
My first Impressions:
Well, at first I did feel a little disappointed in the physical appearance of the laptop. I would say it is a bit dull looking. It is black, but the surface is textured. It is a little hard to describe the texture, other than it looks a little to me like really small squares with a diagonal line cutting through them. My last laptop was an Acer, and my husband currently has a Dell, and I have used many other laptops belonging to work and family members and friends, and I just thought it looked a bit cheap compared to the sleek coloured laptops.
In practice though, this textured surface does stop it slipping around when I am carrying it as it is on the lid as well, and it also is comfortable to rest my hands on. I do find it shows finger prints up though more than I would expect it too. This is laughable when it is described as being highly resistant to fingerprints and helps to keep the laptop looking pristine. If the kids left the mucky marks, fair enough, but my hands are washed enough throughout the day for me to exect it to not show up marks.
Apart from this, the large 15.6 inch screen and the large keyboard are pleasing to the eye, and very functional when it comes to using my laptop.
Using the laptop:
My husband spent a little while setting the laptop up for me. It came with Windows 7 which we already have on both our desktop and other laptop, so we are familiar with using it. He had it ready to go within about half an hour. One fairly unique feature with this laptop is it has facial recognition so you can set the laptop up so it recognises your facial features to log in rather than having to use a password. We haven't bothered with this so I can't comment how easy it is to set up or if it is any good. Let's face it, how hard is it to put in a password? Besides, everyone in my household can use this laptop so it is easier to just use a password.
The laptop does not have a catch at the top of the lid like other laptops as it has a little web camera with (0.3mp) at this point on the screen. I thought this would mean that it would be too loose and flip open when carrying it, but it is fine, and not too loose at all.
Turning on the machine, it fires up a lot quicker to the password log on stage than my desktop. It is also very quiet when operating. I can barely hear the fans working, and once I am typing or watching something with sound, I don't notice them at all. There also seems to be quite good ventilation, so even if I am sat with this laptop on my knee working on it, it does not get hot at all. This has got to be good for the running of the machine.
It came with skype, BBC iplayer, ebay and amazon already on the desktop. I have found that it is also very quick to connect to our WIFI network online, and I can get online quicker using this laptop than either my husband's Dell one, or our desktop.
It comes with lots of other Toshiba based software which I don't really have a lot of personal interest in but you can find full details here on the pc world site.
We got a months free McAfee which is useful but we weren't overly fussed with so we upgraded this immediately.
In practice, this laptop is fast to use. I really like the keyboard on it as it has a numerical keyboard like my desktop, and though I don't do a lot of numerical entry it is certainly really helpful to have this feature.
The keys are neither too soft or too hard to press. One tap gives you one letter. The keys are not so deep that they aggravate my RSI in my wrist like my Acer did. Probably because the distance between the front of the laptop and the keys is more than adequate to provide support to my wrists.
The laptop sounds really good, with speakers on each side just below the screen. I have watched films and listened to sound on websites, and while not as good as using external speakers, it has been more than adequate for my needs.
The screen is backlit. I have to say, I prefer using it when it is plugged into the mains as it seems a bit brighter, and if it is already plugged in it goes duller when you unplug it which then makes it harder for my eyes to read on the screen. I can use it fine unplugged if I started the session that way.
I like the fact that it has a CD/DVD drive that is on the side. I was frustrated beyond belief with my acer as this was on the front, so I caught the open button when it was sat on my knee, and eventually it would not stay latched close. It makes much more sense to have this on the side out of harms way to me.
I also really appreciate the card reader slot on the front of the laptop. Again, I wish it were on the side, but it is so easy to upload my photos onto the internet or for storage by just slotting my SD card into the reader. Again, I wish it were not at the front as it sticks out, but you can't win everything.
It also manages to find room for 2 USB ports. I don't have much need for them myself this time, but in the past, I have for memory sticks, and at some stage I will back it up using my external hard drive.
One other interesting thing I have noticed is that it has the capacity to do a system restore if it crashes just by pressing the F8 button when you are in the command prompts screen. I think I will make a back up disk as well as my husband managed to drop something on his Dell cracking the hard drive, so this would be ineffective in that circumstance but great use if it were after a virus or something.
Battery life so far has been as expected. When I switch it on it tells me I have 6 hours remaining, but once I crank open the internet browsers, this drops to nearer 3-4. It fares slightly over 4 when watching films.
Other technical things you may wish to know:
- It has 4GB of RAM which can be expanded to a maximum of 8GB.
- The graphics card is AMD Dual-Core Processor E-300 Accelerated Processor with AMD RadeonTM HD 6310 Graphics
- The hard drive is 640GB, SATA, 5400rpm.
- The card reader is 2-in-1 (SD and MMC)
- The size is: width: 380.5mm, Depth: 254mm, Height (open): 289.6mm approx, Thickness: 28/35.6mm
- The weight is 2.54 Kg.