Toshiba may not be one of the first company's you think of when opting for a budget notebook but in recent months the company has released a number of interesting, and price-conscious, machines.
The Satellite Pro L40 certainly isn't the most impressive of machines to look at, as the black and silver plastic casing is rather ordinary but it's solid and rugged enough for the average user. Open the lid, which is thick and offers plenty of protection, and you'll find a keyboard sitting squarely in the middle of the main body. Nothing unusual there, but the sheer quality of the keys for a machine of this price certainly is. The L40 has one of the most comfortable and well-built keyboards we've used.
The L40 needs to have a good keyboard, as this is a machine best suited to those looking for an affordable word processor, or simply to use for surfing the web and writing emails. The reason for this is the rather, on paper at least, lackluster specification. Powered by an Intel Pentium Dual-Core T2130 processor, which is a budget chip running at 533MHz, instead of 800MHz found on the latest chips, you won't be able to run anything too taxing on this machine. With only 512MB of memory we were expecting Windows to load slowly and prove rather sluggish. Thankfully, Toshiba has opted to install Windows Vista Basic, so while you won't find any multimedia features installed, it means the entry-level specification can handle performance with a degree of ease. In fact, we were impressed with how capably this machine handled itself. You won't be able to carry out any high-end functions, such as editing video or recording music, but as a cost-effective PC it comes than up to the job. The 60GB hard drive is rather disappointing, as 80GB should be the minimum these days, though.
Weighing in at 2.8kg, this is an average size machine, especially considering the use of a 15.4-inch Super-TFT panel. The integrated graphics are to be expected at this price. The screen proved bright enough for DVDs – a DVD rewriter drive is fitted as standard – but with an average battery life of a little over 2 hours, you won't want to take it on the road with you too often.
You'll find the standard array of 802.11g wireless LAN and Ethernet comes as standard. There are three USB ports, one of which is on the right-hand side while the remaining two are awkwardly fitted on the rear of the case, In fact, ports are kept to a minimum but you'll find enough for normal purposes.
If you are looking for a notebook to handle a wide variety of tasks, the Toshiba Satellite Pro L40 certainly won't suit you as it simply lacks power and performance.
However, if your needs are on the simple side, then the sheer quality of the build and the fact that Toshiba hasn't loaded features the machine won't handle, makes this a more than satisfactory notebook.