Wednesday, December 12, 2007
It's been six months since my purchase of a 17" Toshiba Satellite P100. Before purchasing this laptop I spent many months researching the different manufacturers and quizzing the guys in our QA lab. They get to see lots of hardware, as well as complete systems, and are a great resource for info when purchasing a new system and/or hardware. I looked at all the major players (in no particular order); Lenovo, Dell, Gateway, HP, IBM, Sony, and Compaq. I even looked at a few of the smaller manufacturers like Acer and Alienware.
I knew that I wanted a 17" display -- this was a must. Being a graphic/web designer, screen real estate is extremely important. Portability was not a concern, nor was battery life. I mostly use the system at home, downstairs, where I can enjoy the company of my family while working. I have a desktop system upstairs, but I was tired of using the same system for gaming as I do for work. I like to tweak my gaming system and there are times when the system is down. Not an ideal situation when productivity is critical and downtime is simply not acceptable. The system needed to be powerful enough to run Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and the occasional game ;).
Why the Toshiba? It really boiled down to the price per ounce of punch. See, I haven't reached the "independently wealthy" stage of my life, therefore price always plays a key role in larger purchases. Compared to other manufacturers that offered a 17" laptop, Toshiba came in on average $150-$250 less! Here's what's under the hood:
- 6-cell battery
- 802.11 a/b/g Wireless via Intel Pro 3945abg card
- Inel Core 2 DUO T5600 1.83GHZ
- Nvidia 128mb Geforce Go 7600
- 80 GB 5400 RPM SATA drive
- 17 inch wide SXGA TruBrite display (1680 x 1050)
- 2048mb (1024mb x 2) PC5300 memory
- Harmon Kardon built-in speakers
- Fingerprint reader
The cost: ~$1,300.00 w/instant rebates
Toshiba builds a great laptop chassis. On the inside it sports a beautiful silver matte finish with a black, full-size keyboard and num pad, and black speaker covers stretching along the front on each side that all scream class. The 17" TruBrite screen is magnificent, beautiful, and offers high contrast. The chassis feels sturdy, with little flex when opening and closing the screen. The screen latches and releases predictably. I have one key on the keyboard that feels a bit squishy, other than that this laptop is very well constructed. This system is on the heavy side weighing in just under 8 lbs. What can you expect out of a 17" laptop?
The Toshiba comes with the gamut of expected ports and slots. This system sports 4 USB 2.0 ports, one on the left, two on the right, and one in the rear. Other ports include Firewire, external microphone port, headphone port, VGA, DVI, S-Video out, and a 5-in-1 media reader. There are also CardBus and ExpressCard slots.
Stability & Performance
I installed Windows Vista Ultimate on this system after I received it -- yes, I made the brave leap to Vista. The system came pre-installed with Vista Basic. Surprisingly, this system has been rock-solid stable. I haven't had any crashes, experiencing only a few Vista issues with software compatibility and wake from sleep/hibernation. The system runs very cool. I use it on my lap for hours at a time and have had no issues with overheating or becoming too hot for my legs or hands. This system is extremely quiet, even when under a load. The fan turns on occasionally and stays on for about 2-3 seconds.
- Quality construction
- Full size keyboard
- Speakers sound great
- Beautiful screen
- Fingerprint reader
- 1 year warranty
- Runs cool
- Other colors available
- Larger battery by default
- At time of order, 128mb 7600 was only card available :(
- Relatively heavy if needing portability
If you're in the market for a great laptop at an affordable price, the Toshiba Satellite should certainly be one of the systems you consider. Even if purchasing a 15" laptop or smaller, Toshiba's chassis construction and quality of finish are topnotch.