Product Type: Toshiba laptops
Newest Review: ... very very dull and since I bought my MacBook a year ago the screen brightness on the Toshiba seems even worse (compared to the mac). The s... more
A Decent PC for a decent price
Toshiba Satellite Pro A300-1RR
Member Name: musl1m
Toshiba Satellite Pro A300-1RR
Advantages: Decent keyboard, 4 USB Slots
Disadvantages: Dull screen, plasticky build quaility
*NOTE* I first wrote this review for my account (Ashes786) which I am now unable to access so I've uploaded the same review of the same product on to my new account (this account).
We've had this laptop for around a year and a half now, we first got it around March 2009, actually we bought a pair of them. Both came with Windows Vista Home Edition, now one is running Ubuntu 10.10 and the other Windows 7 Ultimate.
The laptop has a very good keyboard that is very easy to type with, it has excellent feedback and is very easy to get used, but saying that one of the laptops control (ctrl) keys did come off. The mouse pad is a little on the small side, can get warm and isn't too smooth but the buttons have good feedback and are easy enough to use. It also has 4 USB slots one which doubles as a SATA lead (no idea what thats for), it has a RGB slot to plug to external monitors and has the usual headphone, microphone and ethernet ports. Strangely it has a S-video plastic port cover but underneath the cover there is simply just an empty hole, cost cutting gone mad I suppose.
The screen is 15.4 inches and has a resolution of 1280 x 800, I have to say from the beginning the screen isn't bright at all. If you sit with the laptop in front of the TV and look up from the laptop to the TV and back again the screen feels very very dull and since I bought my MacBook a year ago the screen brightness on the Toshiba seems even worse (compared to the mac). The screen in bright sunlight (especially in the garden during the summer) is very had to use, I constantly had to turn the screen this way and that way to see what was going on when using the laptop in the garden in direct sunlight. Indoors the screen though far from prefect is usable enough.
The battery life on the laptop is around 2 hours, if you turn the screen brightness down or use the power saving mode then 2 hours 10-20 mins can be achieved. If you use any heavy applications like Adobe photoshop, fireworks, Sony Vegas or PC games then battery life will drop to around 1 hour 15-30 mins. The battery charging time is around (this is an estimation) 1 hour 30 mins though is significantly faster if you turn the machine off when charging.
The laptop has a card reader that is able to read SD cards as well as Pro Duo cards but the problem with this is that SD cards (not micro SD) are much larger than Pro Duo cards and so the card reader slot is also much larger than the Pro Duo card which when inserted into the slot gets trapped inside. This is what happened to me with the laptop and I had to get the card out using my keys which subsequently damaged the card reader and now only works when it wants to.
The laptop has a 250 GB (5400 rpm I think), the hard drives work without any issue and have never crashed in the one and half years that I've had the laptop. The laptop does have a tendency to heat up after persistent use but this can be expected of any laptop.
The processor is an Intel Centrino (2.1 GHz) and the laptop has 3 GB RAM so it handles relatively well, there is no lag with most applications and multi-tasking is done without any real problems. I have installed a 64 bit version of Ubuntu (operating system) onto the laptop so as far I know it is 64 bit compatible and I see no reason why a 64 bit version of Windows won't work on it either but I wonder why it came with a 32 bit version of Windows if its capable of 64 bit. One thing worth noting is that the laptop didn't come with a Windows CD so if your hard drive crashes or your Windows install has messed up then your going to have to acquire your own copy of Windows or use a free alternative such as Ubuntu or other versions of Linux/BSD.
The Toshiba software that comes preloaded with the Windows Vista install includes face recognition software and a web cam neither of which are very good and as with most OEM Windows installs it comes with the usual bloatware so if your computer savvy expect a couple of hours removing the bloatware.
Basically this is a very average laptop with no killer features, the build quality though not brilliant is better than others I've seen. there are many of these kinds of laptops available at similar prices nowadays so its worth looking at a few and going into a store to actually look at them in person before purchasing one. If you find one of these laptops at a bargain price there is no major complaint I have with it, its more like a few small issues well everywhere not uncommon in this price range though. Very average, you won't turn any heads with it.
Summary: A very average PC at an average price aimed at average users rather boring but it won't let you down
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