Toshiba Satellite A200

We reviewed the full-spec A200 in September last year, but Toshiba has re-tooled the version on test here with lower specs, aimed at people looking for a notebook with medium performance at a modest price.

Notebook

While the full-spec model retails at $2,599, this notebook would set you back just $1,200. So what do you miss out on when you pay $1,400 less?

To start, the CPU is a Core2Duo T2130 running at 1.83GHz, rather than a T7200. Compared to the T7200 it’s relatively slow, but it has plenty of computing power for everyday tasks.

Instead of 2GB of RAM, you only get one, and this is one of the crucial differences. Running the supplied OS (Vista Home Premium) on 1GB of RAM means things can be a little sluggish at times and you may find it worth your while to turn off all the Vista eye-candy (transparent menus in particular). Speaking of eye-candy, this A200 also lacks the graphics card of its more powerful sibling. While the top model boasts a GeForce Go 7300, our test model makes do with Intel’s integrated graphics.

This A200 scored a modest 57 in WorldBench 6, compared to a score of 78 for the more expensive model. While it’s not the highest score by any means, performance should always match the price and feature set – and the A200 does just that.

The form factor and screen size (15.4-inch widescreen) are the same on all A200 models, although the cheaper units miss out on the biometric fingerprint scanner. The screen is nice and bright, and the movie experience is further enhanced by good speakers, something often lacking in notebooks these days.

If you’re looking for bang for your buck, this A200 has most of what you need. While the lower specifications hamper performance, it copes satisfactorily with everyday tasks, making it a well-priced workhorse.

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Jan Birkeland

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