Product Type: Toshiba laptops
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This laptop is not a load of old 'Tosh'
Toshiba Satellite Pro L300-292
Member Name: markos9
Toshiba Satellite Pro L300-292
Advantages: Good looking, very clear screen.
Disadvantages: Battery life could be better.
Girlfriend's mum ('GM') was interested in surfing the net and sending e-mails, but was not interested in heavy duty applications such as photo manipulation software or games. A medium range computer would therefore be suitable for her needs. She would, however, need a good sized, clear LCD screen.
A search on the Dabs.com website revealed several possible choices, but the Toshiba L300-292 caught my eye. This machine comes with a relatively powerful mobile processor (2GHz), together with 2Gb of RAM (the sensible minimum for running Windows Vista). It was very reasonably priced at just over £400 delivered.
The laptop does not have dedicated memory for its video driver, but uses some of the installed 2Gb RAM. As 'GM' was not interested in games, this was not an issue. The 160Gb hard drive fitted will be more than enough capacity for its intended use.
First impressions of the laptop were very favourable. The machine is quite slim, with a nice silver finish on the top and wrist rest. The computer is quite stylish to look at, with no sharp edges, and quite organic curves.
The laptop has quite a high quality feel, but is also extremely light (important as it may be moved around from room to room. With the built in wireless connectivity, it will not be tied to one desk). There's also a built in webcam, but I'm not sure how much that will get used.
As with many supplied Vista machines, final installation of the operating system was required before use. This took around an hour, but was almost completely automated. Upon completion of installation, the computer rebooted for a final time. From switching on to booting up was completed within about 40 seconds, not bad for this specification of machine.
As with many new computers these days, Toshiba had included many 'extra's'. Some of these were genuinely useful, others could be considered as 'bloat ware' (such as the many pieces of Toshiba software for monitoring and reporting, as well as applets for ordering from EBay and Amazon), and were removed during the installation phase.
The processor is an Intel 'Core 2 Duo' T5870 processor. Even though the laptop's intended use is not intensive, having a dual core processor makes sense as, for example, the virus checker can utilise one core with the user's software using the other without slowing down.
The screen, with a resolution of 1280x800 is one of the best features of the laptop. On the 15.4 inch screen (which is a TFT active matrix), the text is reasonably large and very clear so there were no readability issues for 'GM'.
The keyboard is another excellent feature. The keyboard is reasonably large, with an excellent wrist rest. The keys themselves have a positive action, but do not depress very far; for a laptop, this is acceptable, however.
I found the touchpad to be a real pleasure to use (I've found many of them quite irritating), and did not miss having a 'proper' mouse. We bought a mouse (USB), however, as we did not want to have to risk 'GM' not liking the touchpad.
Stereo speakers are inset at the top of the keyboard; these are capable of delivering quite a loud volume, with no distortion. They do sound slightly tinny, but are more than adequate for listening to the occasional CD or watching movies on.
The integral DVD player plays DVD movies and CD's as well as acting as a DVD recorder. Picture quality from the computer is excellent when watching DVD's.
In use, the computer is almost completely silent, with little evidence that the machine is actually on. Resting my hand to the left of the laptop, however, I found a blast of warm air emanating from the side. Investigation showed a large heat exchange vent where the hot exhaust air from inside is expelled. This appears an unusual place to vent heat from (I'd assume the back would be utilised), but is not a problem as long as the user knows WHY their hand is getting warm!
The computer appears reasonably fast, with the processor and RAM making short work of internet and e-mail use, the programs and menus appearing quickly with no sluggishness apparent. Even more demanding applications will be very usable on this machine.
The laptop contains all of the expected connection ports including three USB sockets, PC Card slot, external monitor connector, headphone jack, and LAN socket.
Software supplied with the machine is a bit miserly. A thirty day trial of McAfee Internet Security suite (uninstalled straight away and replaced with the excellent, free AVG anti-virus), Ulead Movie Factory, Toshiba DVD Player, and a few other utilities are all that's provided. No productivity software is included (although, at this price, that's not a surprise).
The battery life is reported as 2.5 hours, but I suspect that this is an absolute maximum. When playing DVD's the user will be lucky to get half of that judging by the way the power meter reduced when I was using it on battery power.
So how was the new laptop received by 'GM'? Well, initially she was concerned that she'd 'break it' by using it, but her initial impressions were very positive (liked the screen, the keyboard, and the DVD movie player).
After teaching her to use Internet Explorer, she was soon lost in the wonderful world of the internet and forgot all about damaging her new toy (brownie points for me then)!
The Toshiba L300-292 is an excellent, good looking, low priced laptop that is ideally suited to the task of internet/email use, as well as watching the occasional movie. Anyone in the market for a cheap laptop could do much worse than have a look at this model.
Summary: An excellent laptop for a 'silver surfer'
|Ease of use:|
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