Toshiba tends to split its business in two quite distinctive trends, you have the full multimedia statements, such as its Qosmio line, and then there is the rather subdued and safe business machine. While the Toshiba Satellite Pro U300 falls into the second camp it's not an unattractive notebook.
Finished in black and grey plastic, this isn't the most stylish of notebooks but it certainly proved robust for use on the move. It's a slim machine considering there is a DVD rewriter built-in and the size means it great for the commute, as it will easily slip in to any standard carry case.
With an overall weight of 2.1kg, it's reasonably portable and coupled with a battery life well in excess of 3 hours, we were more than satisfied with its portability.
This size is kept to a minimum by the use of a 13.3-inch display. It's a Super-TFT panel so has a gloss finish, which is great for digital photos and DVDs but can cast reflections if used in bright conditions. While it's more usual for business notebooks to have a standard TFT panel, we like this sort of screen as images really shine.
Graphics come as an integrated Intel X3100 solution, so you won't be able to run anything other than everyday applications but we found it worked well.
The size of panel allows for a decent size of keyboard, which proved comfortable to use. The keys have a decent amount of travel and while there was a slight rattle as we typed, it certainly proved good value for money.
When it comes to the core specification, we weren’t expecting the U300 to be a powerhouse but with an Intel 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500, 2048MB of memory and 160GB hard drive, we were surprised how much power was packed into such a small casing. So much so that you can easily have this notebook as you sole PC instead of just using it on the move.
With this degree of processing power, we were expecting the notebook to grow reasonably warm to the touch or for the fan to run for long periods. However, this didn't prove the case, with the fan only running when multiple windows were open and the case only grew warm once the machine had been on for close to 2 hours.
When it comes to extras this isn't the most future-proof of machines. For instance, you won't find any digital-out port, but rather a VGA-out port for connecting to older screens or projector technologies. The 6-in-1 media card reader lets you transfer files between your smartphone, PDA or digital camera, and there’s also a tri-format DVD rewriter for backing up your files.
Toshiba prides itself on the quality of its bundled software and along with a host of Toshiba tools to help setup and manage your notebook there is a comprehensive software suite, including anti-virus and DVD-burning applications.
The Toshiba Satellite Pro U300 may not be a notebook to grab the headlines like some other 13.3-inch machines but we found it a powerful and versatile machine that certainly offers great value for money.