Toshiba SatelliteX200-20S review

£1140
Price when reviewed

Toshiba notebooks are recognisable by the manufacturer’s distinctive styling – a style that fiercely divides opinion in the PC Pro Labs. As expected, the X200-20S offers Toshiba’s usual excellent Harman Kardon speakers and rock-solid build quality, plus the slightly springy keyboard. It’s good to see Toshiba’s standard six USB sockets and (for such an entertainment-based notebook) a slightly out-of-place fingerprint reader.

Where the X200-20S deviates from the norm is an HD DVD drive in place of the DVD writer, giving it a credible claim to this month’s home-entertainment crown (the only HD alternative is the 17in Rock Xtreme). The screen is one of this month’s brighter models, too, and while its native resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 isn’t quite up to maximum HD resolution you can output video to a 1,080-line external display courtesy of built-in HDMI. There’s even a remote control thrown in, although the lack of a TV tuner is disappointing.

However, the X200 isn’t just for cinephiles: gamers will appreciate the Nvidia GeForce 8700M GT graphics, which romped through our Call of Duty 2 benchmark almost as fast as the Rock, delivering 25fps at maximum quality.

The X200’s core specification is capable but not quite outstanding. Its 2D benchmark score of 0.99 will make light work of Vista Home Premium, but in this price bracket it trails behind all but the Sony. The three-hour battery life is reasonable for a laptop of this size, though, and the generous 320GB of hard disk storage is this month’s largest.

If entertainment is your thing, the X200 deserves a place on your shortlist. The single-year return-to-base warranty is a shame, and its size and 4kg weight make it more suitable as a home PC than a travelling companion. It also can’t quite match the Rock for power and value, but if you like the styling it has plenty to offer.

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