The notebook price war is starting to wear a little thin, as it’s forcing manufacturers to think with their specification instead of innovation. To this end, Toshiba has been rather quiet on the design front of late. The Satellite P100-168 is a prime example of this, as it’s a standard looking machine that has been packed with features as a very reasonable price.
This is a 17-inch machine that comes with the now obligatory Super-TFT coating. This is ideal for those who want to use their notebook for watching DVDs and editing photos, as much as writing emails. Build-quality is strong with lots of protection for the screen. A curved bezel at the top of the display helps to prevent items falling between the keyboard and display if you do take it on the road, and there's a sturdy latch to keep the laptop closed. With such a large screen we were expecting the Satellite to weigh more than its 3.3kg weight. You won’t want to carry this around all day but it’s a compact design.
The large screen means that Toshiba has been able to add a good sized keyboard that also manages to fit in a separate numeric keypad. This means that the minor keys are rather small but this isn’t too much of a problem. Toshiba has fitted a bank of multimedia buttons above the keyboard to make this easier – letting you skip scenes at the touch of a button without having to resize your movie, and there are also speakers by high-end audio manufacturer Harman Kardon to help give a cinematic feel. While more expensive machines in the range come with dedicated graphics, this version is fitted with an integrated GPU, so you won’t be able to play games.
This wouldn’t be a desktop replacement without it coming with the latest in performance. So, you’ll find a dual-core chip in the form of the Intel 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo T5200. While this is a mid-range chip in Intel’s range, with two cores on the same silicon, it’s powerful enough to run your household chores without too much trouble. With Windows Vista Home installed, you may want to upgrade the memory as it comes with 1024MB, which is fine but Vista is a little memory intensive. The 100GB hard drive is a great size for the price, as you’ll be able to store plenty of files.
For the other components inside, you’ll find there’s a multi-format DVD rewriter built-in, along with a 3-in-1 card reader, making it quick and easy to transfer your files from other digital products. Wi-Fi is handled by 802.11a/b/g, so you can get connected regardless of location and technology used. We were surprised to find Gigabit Ethernet built-in, which isn’t so common in the home as in the office but if you’re thinking of setting up a fast network in your home, this is the technology to opt for.
The Toshiba Satellite P100-168 won’t win any awards in the looks stakes and while it’s not the most powerful machine out there, it’s a great machine for the price.