Toshiba Satellite U300-13V review

Price when reviewed

Toshiba’s Satellite range is no stranger to PC Pro and, as we’ve said before, its styling divides opinion. The smaller models like this U300 are more palatable than their larger siblings, but many of us still find the combination of glossy black exterior and matte silver on the inside a little tacky.

Toshiba Satellite U300-13V review

The U300 is, however, a solid all-round notebook. The 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo T7700 is by far the quickest CPU in the group, as a benchmark score of 1.13 demonstrates, and with 2GB of RAM it’s the best equipped for running intensive apps and multitasking. You’ll enjoy seeing your work on the bright (if slightly reflective) 13.3in display, which was behind only the Sony for picture quality in the eyes of our judges.

Around the base, there are three USB ports, an ExpressCard/54 slot and a card reader supporting xD-Picture cards as well as the more common formats. A 1.3-megapixel webcam sits atop the screen, and the lack of gigabit ethernet is offset by the inclusion of draft-n wireless. A hefty 200GB hard disk completes a decent set of features.

So far so good, but the quality of the keyboard is debatable: it’s well laid out and comfortable to use, but the keys feel a bit cheap; for example, the backing bounces slightly as you type. Also, the mouse buttons sit flush with the surrounding chassis, so can be awkward to press quickly. The build quality disappoints, too, with the area around the optical drive feeling vulnerable to pressure.

Finally, anyone hoping to buy the Toshiba as a portable companion may find the 3hrs 11mins light-use battery life disappointing. This, along with the questionable build quality, detracts from an otherwise good-value laptop, meaning the Toshiba isn’t a strong enough contender for an award this month.

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