Toshiba has been making notebooks for over 20 years and in that time has specialised on corporate machines but increasingly in the last few years it has released a number of machines for the home user too.
The Toshiba Satellite U300-13V fits in the middle of this notion, as the 2.1kg chassis is aimed at those who need to work while on the move but the inclusion of Windows Vista Home Premium means it lacks connectivity and security features found in Vista Business.
Helping to keep weight down is the 13.3-inch Super-TFT screen that comes with a widescreen aspect ratio, so viewing files side-by-side is easy. Graphics are an integrated solution, so you won't be able to run anything but standard tasks.
The widescreen panel allows for a good-sized keyboard, which spans the width of the main body. The keys are firmly mounted and we found it a comfortable keyboard to use. It’s not the best keyboard Toshiba produces, as some of the secondary keys felt a little on the loose side but it is still good value for money. A panel of quick launch buttons also allows easy control of multimedia files and instant access to your favourite applications.
What this machine is first and foremost, is an ultraportable powerhouse. Packed into the small chassis is an Intel 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo T7700 and 2048MB of memory, which is more than enough processing power for even the most demanding of tasks. The core specification rounded out by a 200GB hard drive, which is more than enough for most users.
The build quality is above average and the compact design is suited to life on the road. When out and about we managed to get well over 3 hours from the battery, which is good considering the power this machine has.
If you need a machine to accomplish almost anything, this is seriously worth considering. We managed to check email, write this review, and still have the system scanning in the background with no signs of delay.
It may be on the small side but it doesn’t lack any features. With a 1.3-megapixel webcam sitting above the screen, you can video conference or simply keep in touch with friends. You'll also find a DVD rewriter built-in, which is a nice touch in a machine of this size. Connectivity consists of Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11a/g wireless LAN.
It’s not only the hardware that is impressive, as Toshiba bundles a neat range of software tools with the U300. Along with tools for office use and internet security, there are separate disc creation, system configuration and maintenance programs, helping you get to work straight away.
The Toshiba Satellite U300-13V is a great all-round notebook. It’s light enough to carry around without it being a burden and the battery life is better than a lot of machines we’ve seen at this price and weight. However, what really won us over was the sheer power you get from just a compact machine, making it ideal for computing on the move.