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What we are left with is a laptop that is fairly generic in most respects, except its design, which is largely unattractive, and its speakers, which are astounding. While turning movies and music into an aural joy, it makes this Satellite's inability to play most games (it only scored 16.4 frames per second on low settings in TrackMania Nations Forever) even more of a pity.
The A300's biggest problem, however, is the competition: the HP Pavilion dv6750ea is still available for only £20 more, and though the processor is slower and the hard drive smaller, the graphics card is superior and has digital out in the form of HDMI. Most importantly, as you can see from our charts, it offers much better battery life.
Another strong contender is the latest build of the excellent Dell Inspiron 1525, which for only an extra £40 gets you a similar system with customisable looks, a bigger hard drive, better camera, HDMI-out and Blu-ray drive! The only reason you might still go for the Satellite are its far superior speakers, or if you particularly like its quirky looks.
The Toshiba Satellite A300-177 is an average 15.4in laptop with a slightly below average screen and battery life, while the unique design is at best an acquired taste. Overall it's not a bad machine, but for just a little extra the competition offers far more. The one area where it excels is in offering the best sound quality of any budget 15 incher we've come across, thanks to its truly excellent Harman Kardon speakers.