When we think of Toshiba notebooks we either think of their impressive Qosmio range, which combines TV and multimedia in one box; or its Satellite range of boxy but powerful desktop alternatives.

However, Toshiba also does a fine line of ultraportables under its Portégé line. Sitting alongside the R100 and the newly released A200, is this, the Toshiba Portégé M300, which is light enough to carry on a daily basis but also powerful enough to replace your desktop PC.

Weighing in at a mere 1.7kg and measuring 286 x 230 x 35mm, the M300 is small enough to stow away in your daily carry case. As you may well expect from a notebook in this class, Toshiba has had to put a great deal of thought into protecting the components. With an extra layer of magnesium-alloy on the lid, which protects the back of the screen from accidental damage, and a chassis built of toughened plastic, the M300 is more than a match for any casual knock.

Powered by an Intel Pentium M 753 processor with a running speed of 1.2GHz clock-speed, the M300 isn't the fastest notebook you'll find on the market. What marks this choice of processor out is its Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) status, which means that it has been designed with portability and extended battery life in mind, as opposed to mere processing power. The other advantage of such a chip is that heat is kept to a minimum, so that the notebook stays cool to the touch no matter how long it runs for.

Supporting the processor is 512MB of memory, which is more than enough to keep things ticking over neatly and the addition of a 60GB hard drive rounds out the main specifications in style. When it came to using the M300 on a daily basis we did notice a little lag when saving large files or trying to load up heavy-duty applications but if you're looking for a notebook to use for everyday tasks, there is little to fault in this system.

Where the winning formula really comes into its own is in the M300's battery life. We managed to get in excess of four hours from the system, which given its size and limited battery space, is something a little special. For networking, 802.11g Wi-Fi is in place, along with an Ethernet adapter.

When you consider the weight of this notebook it's hard to imagine that it also contains a DVD Multi-Recorder optical drive. The drive supports all the standard formats, including DVD-RAM, making this the ideal choice for those who are opting for a notebook to free up valuable space at home.

As is so often the case with thin and light notebooks, when it comes to graphics, you'll find there is little to brag about. The 12.1-inch screen has great contrast but the use of an integrated graphics card means that you're limited as to the type of applications you'll be able to run on the notebook.

Verdict

The Toshiba Portégé M300 managed to impress us on almost every level. While it may lack the necessary grunt power to run 3D games, with its above average battery life and robust chassis, this is a notebook for the real mobile workers out there.