Toshiba Satellite A300-177 Notebook - Satellite A300-177

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


Moving onto the touchpad, which is an important part of the overall design, again inspires mixed feelings. The pad does carry on the Horizon print, which is a nice touch, but the two giant chrome-finish buttons underneath it are simply ugly - especially since the chrome look is not matched anywhere else on the A300. In use there is a similar mixture of good and bad. The pad's matte surface is pleasant to work with, but while the buttons' size makes them easy to locate, they require too much pressure.

Again reminiscent of HP's dv6750ea, the Satellite has touch-sensitive media controls above the keyboard. Despite the fact that I still prefer physical buttons towards a notebook's front, their implementation here is almost flawless. They don't produce activation sounds, but are incredibly responsive and strongly backlit in white, making for perfect contrast with their glossy black surrounding. Like the effortlessly visible status indicators just below the pad's buttons, this means they are easy to discern even in bright outdoor light.

The first touch-control switches backlighting on/off, not only for the media shortcuts, but for a subtle ‘Satellite' logo on the bottom left corner of the chassis, and more usefully, a svelte white strip just above the touchpad. It looks nice and makes the pad easier to find in the dark. Sound control, meanwhile, is rather unusual. Apart from mute, which is unfortunately assigned to an FN keyboard shortcut, volume is adjusted by that rarest of things in modern technology: a good old fashioned dial, which is a pleasure to use.

This dial logically resides at the front edge of the laptop's chassis, together with a wireless switch, infrared port, memory card reader (SD, xD, Sony MemoryStick), microphone in and headphone output (which, as a nice bonus, doubles as S/PDIF). I was disappointed to find no form of digital video out, especially since most competitors at similar price points do offer this. But you do get VGA and S-Video, which join IEEE1394a (FireWire/i.LINK), two USB 2.0s, an ExpressCard slot and a LAN jack on the left. Finally, along the right we have the modem port, two more USBs, a Kensington security lock and DC in.

This leaves the back of the laptop completely free, which is necessitated by the way the A300's hinge works. Build quality, meanwhile, is top notch, with no flex or creaking anywhere, even on the thin lid. As is usual on most laptops these days you'll find a web camera (1.3-megapixels in this case) and microphone in the top bezel. Not only does this let you make video calls, but it allows for Toshiba's Face Recognition feature. This is a security logon with your face as the key, but has too many disadvantages: it won't work if you change your appearance slightly, and Toshiba admits that ‘faces similar to a registrant's may be recognised accidentally', making it a trendy gimmick rather than a genuinely useful feature.

Gordon Hunter

July 28, 2008, 8:23 pm

Well, it is obvious that Ardjuna Seghers (the reviewer) does not like the styling of the Toshiba A300-177 from all the negative comments on it. Personally, I think it is one of the most stylish notebooks on the market today, without looking over the top, or plasticky. I love mine. It looks good. It performs well and it didn't cost the earth. I use mine for demonstrations to customers and I frequently get envious comments of "Wow! That's a nice looking laptop!" or something similar. Customers often think it was a very expensive laptop due to the styling and are amazed when I tell them it was under 𧺬. What's more it performs better than my wife's Samsung of the same age which cost over 𧴜 more has another Gig of RAM and a supposedly a faster processor. From me it is "WELL DONE TOSHIBA!" and I'll leave it up to you to decide who has the best taste on styling, the reviewer or me! ;-)

Jonathan Fletcher

August 4, 2008, 2:04 pm

I agree with Gordon. I went into my local PC store looking to order a new laptop, and I was instantly hit with the glossy great looks of the Toshiba A300. Myself being somebody who generally loves expensive taste and simplistic classy looks, the A300 stood out to me by a mile in a long row of gleamy new laptops as the classiest and certainly the most expensive looking laptop. its a beautiful finish, yes it does show fingerprints, but they easily wipe off. Again regarding the review, the screen looks every bit as good as some of the higher res screens on other laptops, and in store you could see no visual difference.

The speakers as mentioned are brilliant for a laptop. Even to the point where i dont always hook up my external speakers and sub-woofer, they are simply stunning. I paid 𧽳 for a 4GB / 250HD 512mb Radeon 3600 graphics machine, and its worth every penny.

I can guarantee, if you see a line up of new laptops, you will be drawn straight to the new toshiba's.....oh by the way, I also like pin stripe suits! ;-)


August 18, 2008, 6:28 am

I wrote an earier (and more detailed version) review but it disappeared before I could publish it and I won't rewrite it because it will take too much time but here it is in a nutshell. I was looking for a laptop that could meet my business and entertainment needs without breaking the bank. I'm a New Zealander and I run 4-employee management consultancy and I'm an avid (but not hardcore) gamer. I did some research and after comparing models that met my criteria I bought the Toshiba A300/M00, this is not the same as the A300-177 but very similar in terms of screen size, look (including keyboard), CPU and ATI 3650 graphics card. That is one of the best buying decisions I ever made. The laptop met all of my needs and requirements. If your needs and requirements are similar to mine and provided you've also taken into consideration price drops and newer (and more powerful) machines coming to market--the Toshiba A300 won't let you down. I'm going to agree with Gordon and Jonathan and go even futher. I don't think Ardjuna Seghers review provides a balanced and reliable analysis of this laptop's capabilities.


August 29, 2008, 12:40 am

well, this notebook is has the best price/performance rate I have seen. You can play the latest games, with descent graphic qualities (assassin creed, call of duty 4. (I played the same games on other top levels laptops, the quality differences won't kill you.

the design is quiet good, and I guess it must be the choice of moderate users who would still be able to enjoy games, medias, while not over spending.


September 26, 2008, 10:13 am


i'm sorry, but "You can play the latest games, with descent graphic qualities (assassin creed, call of duty 4. (I played the same games on other top levels laptops, the quality differences won't kill you."? on an intel GMA X3100?

personally i find a difference between "it can run" and "it can run AND is playable. i've never been able to play any of those games at any sort of detail, and command and conquer generals/and zero hour gets reduced to stop motion animation as soon as you activate shadows.


February 1, 2009, 4:44 am


we need hep...just purchased the A300 and the screen won't display at all...any advice? as we're flying out with said computer to the Outback tomorrow...


February 3, 2009, 6:07 pm

I currently own a 2007 Toshiba A200 centrino duo which is maxed out at 4GB ram.

A300 looks sweet, sure design is a very subjective thing but for me the best thing is being able to expand the memory upto 8GB, I only wish it supported newer DDR3 RAM.

Dont the C2D versions have HDMI sockets?

My A200 is up forsale :)


February 10, 2009, 4:31 pm

Sorry for the late reply on some comments here.

@Gordon & Jonathan: Goes to show once more that style is very much a matter of personal taste. Glad you like the design, here at the office none of us were very fond of it.

In terms of performance and value, in everything but audio the Toshiba was bested by the examples I listed at the end of the review. When you can get so much more for only a little more money, there really is no competition.

@Mugly2000: You bought a different configuration for a different price. Obviously it has no effect on either the value or performance of the A300-177. I hope the only part of my review one could justifiably call unbalanced would be the style aspect, and agiain that's a matter of personal taste.

@nomailx: I couldn't agree more with ilovethemonkeyhead. How ON EARTH did you even RUN Assassin's Creed and COD4 on a machine that gets LESS THAN 17FPS in TRACKMANIA? Seriously, running these games at even low levels of detail on Intel integrated graphics results in a horrific slide-show. Or do you enjoy the latest titles looking like PS1 games?

@Parky: Sorry I'm probably too late to be of any assistance, but when you have an error like that there's not likely to be much anyone can do. Have you tried pressing the 'display-switch' shortcut? This switches between internal/external display (i.e. your notebook's screen or an external monitor), and as far as I remember is Fn + F5. Hooking up an external display would also allow you to check whether the system or screen is at fault. But tbh your notebook's probably faulty, and you'll need to contact Toshiba to see what they say. Good luck.

@COPYRIGHT: Many notebooks allow upgrading the RAM to whatever amount your wallet will stretch to, and it's usually a very easy upgrade to do yourself. But why don't you check out the newer Toshiba Satellite A350 review that's coming soon!


August 21, 2013, 5:02 pm

it is a very good laptop and very beautiful i like it very much it smart design is very owsome

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