Toshiba Satellites

Notebook computers

X200

Anyone who says notebook computers can’t match desktops, has obviously never laid their hands on Toshiba’s latest gaming laptop, the X200. Packed to the brim with features, it’s more like a transportable desktop than a notebook.

The first thing you notice about the X200 is the sheer size of it. And the red glossy finish is a real stand out amongst an otherwise dull herd. Open it up and you’ll find a 17-inch widescreen display and a generous, full sized keyboard with number pad. Unfortunately, the sheer bulk of this notebook means you won’t be resting it on your lap, unless you’re prepared to risk a crushing injury.

Weight issues aside, the X200 has all the usual high end components, and a few surprises, under the bonnet. Sporting an Nvidia 8600GT Mobile GPU, it managed an impressive score of 4836 in our 3DMark 06 test, thanks in no small part to having 2GB of RAM and Intel’s Core 2 Duo T7700 CPU. Six USB ports take care of your peripheral needs, and round the back you’ll also find an HDMI port, which is the perfect fit for outputting high-def movies played on the built-in HD DVD reader/writer.

Harman Kardon provides the speakers for the X200, and it shows. Sound quality was great, further enhancing the overall gaming experience. There is also a fingerprint scanner as well as an integrated 1.3MP web camera.

Running with all settings on max, we squeezed one hour and 36 minutes out of the battery, which is very respectable for its size. We also played several games on the X200, including Jericho and the Orange Box. It performed surprisingly well and the size makes it a comfortable gaming machine, even over extended hours of play. The X200 could be a new favourite for the LAN crowd.

U300

The U300 is at the other end of the spectrum from the X200. With a 13-inch display, overall size is dramatically reduced, making it a brilliant travel partner. It has a bland design, but in terms of features, we found it to be one of the better 13-inch notebooks we’ve tested here.

Intel provides the brains behind the U300, with a T7100 Core 2 Duo processor, at 1.8GHz. Graphics are integrated and with 2GB of RAM, the U300 managed a decent score of 59 in our Worldbench test.

Design wise, the U300 doesn’t impress, but the integrated 1.3MP webcam, fingerprint scanner and card reader are nicely implemented. The keyboard feels small when compared to other 13-inch notebooks, but is still comfortable to use.

Battery life is one of our main focuses when we look at notebooks, and the Toshiba did quite well. Running our standard DVD playback test with all power saving routines turned off, the U300 managed an impressive two hours and 11 minutes. This is a plus for travellers and people working in environments without access to power points.

All in all the U300 is a solid notebook from Toshiba, and while it doesn’t distinguish itself in a big way from other notebooks, battery life, price and general usability coloured us impressed.

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Jan Birkeland

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