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Toshiba Satellite A350-11N review

Ardjuna Seghers

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Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N
  • Toshiba Satellite A350-11N

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

16:9 is taking over from 16:10 as the de-facto aspect ratio for both monitors and notebooks, thus 15.4 and 17in notebooks are slowly being replaced with 16 and 18.4in models. Enter Toshiba's latest entry into this fray, its Satellite A350-11N. Now despite the company's recent run of fairly average (Qosmio G50) and below average (Portégé M800) notebooks, recently we've fallen in love all over again with the stunningly light Portégé R600 ultra-portable. However, at first glance the A350 looks to be nothing more than an update to the solid but unremarkable Satellite A300-177. Has Toshiba upped the ante?

Well, one improvement is immediately apparent: Toshiba has ditched the pinstripe 'Horizon' finish on the outer lid in favour of glossy black with very subtle blue flecks. Yes, this does show up fingerprints and grease, but it gives this new Satellite an undeniably classier look and Toshiba has been thoughtful enough to include a soft cleaning cloth to keep it in pristine condition.

Build quality, as is typically the case with Toshiba's notebooks, is very good and reflected in a strong hinge for the lid and quality plastics throughout. Inside, those stripes of old do return, but they're just a bit more subtle, while the extra space and wider form factor brings them out to good effect. Faux-chromed touchpad buttons also make a return and overall the A350's mostly piano black chassis strikes an elegant and subtle improvement over its predecessor.

Nor are the improvements over the A300-177 cosmetic only, as we can see by the long-overdue addition of eSATA to connectivity. However, a far more important change hasn't made the cut: there is still no sign of an HDMI port or other form of digital output. At least the rest of the connectivity is all there. We have a VGA and Ethernet port - though it's not Gigabit - together with USB and mini-FireWire on the left. Here we also find the eSATA port (doubling as a second USB) and a 54mm ExpressCard slot.

To the right we have the DVD-Rewriter, modem port and two more USB connectors. At the front of the machine is a hardware wireless switch, which is always a nice addition, a multi-format memory card reader, 3.5mm headphone/S/PDIF and microphone jacks and a very welcome archaism in the form of a volume control wheel. As before, handy little icons above the connectors show you exactly where to plug things in without having to look around the sides.

Also on hand is the rather attractive white LED lighting of the Satellite range, consisting of status indicators below the touchpad and a thin white bar above it, the Toshiba logo off to the left, the power button and the usual set of touch-sensitive controls above the keyboard. This makes the A350-11N very easy to use in the dark and if for some reason you don't like the effect you can always turn it off. Unfortunately, the touch media controls don't seem to be as sensitive as on the previous model, occasionally requiring a few firm presses to work.

The Stick

February 17, 2009, 7:08 pm

"T8500 Intel Core 2 Duo running at 2.0GHz"


should that be T5800? Haven't heard of a T8500.


Good review :)

Andy Vandervell

February 17, 2009, 7:18 pm

Good spot. Thanks. :)

TechVegan

February 17, 2009, 9:41 pm

Glad you liked the review. Sorry about the error, and for any false hopes I might have raised of the A350-11N being equipped with a new Intel super-chip from the future :)

smc8788

February 17, 2009, 10:25 pm

Is there any particular reason why more and more notebook manufacturers are now using a 16:9 aspect ratio rather than 16:10, or is just a cost cutting measure? I know it is slightly better suited for multimedia content, but I would rather have more vertical pixels for when I use it for working, or web browsing so you can see more of the page. You still get big black bars at the top and bottom when watching films on a 16:9 screen, and I don't find them that more noticeable on a 16:10 screen, but maybe I've just grown used to them. I don't see why they've decided computer screens/monitors should have to have the same aspect ratio as TVs - they are mostly used for different purposes, after all.

Himesh

February 17, 2009, 11:08 pm

Excellent review Ardjuna. Would the slightly higher specced A350-20Q be worth it? Im thinking of getting this model from comet, and am wondering, in your opinion, would it get a higher score? Or would it be much the same?





Thanks

TechVegan

February 18, 2009, 8:32 pm

@smc8788: A variety of reasons. Cost-cutting is one of them. The second you already mention, and don't forget that this is also tied in to marketing and consumer perception for the largest number (not necessarily those who know the most).





Personally, though I agree with you totally, I do think the move to 16:9 for computers is a positive thing overall, as it will reduce costumer confusion (there are enough aspect ratios to remember) AND it means I'll need to remember fewer resolutions ;)





@Himesh: Cheers. In answer to your question, that really depends on what you want it for. It's not a BAD deal per se, but to be honest, unless audio quality is a priority for you (given Toshiba's track record with excellent notebook speakers), for 𧾜 you can get notebooks that offer far more (especially if you go for 'older' models from the likes of HP and Acer). With a bit of searching, you can even find models with 17in or 18.4in Full HD screens AND Blu-ray for around that price. Again, it all depends on your priorities.

TechVegan

February 18, 2009, 8:41 pm

@Himesh:Add Sony to the above list of HP and Acer. Hope this helps.

Himesh

February 19, 2009, 12:31 am

Thanks Ardjuna. Audi quality is NOT a priority in the slightest. I'll be hooking it up to some AE Aego 2.1 speakers anyway. Id mainly want it for occasional gaming,watching movies and general bits and bobs. Thing is im restriced to buying from Comet as i have 𧵎 worth of vouchers burning a whole in my pocket. Is there any you'd recommend?





Thanks again

TechVegan

February 20, 2009, 7:31 pm

@Himesh: If you're stuck with Comet and audio's not a priority, for only 㾶 more the 16in Acer {http://www.comet.co.uk/shopcom...} seems to offer a LOT more, including a better graphics card and Blu-ray drive.





Apart from possibly 'poor' battery life and integrated graphics, another Acer {http://www.comet.co.uk/shopcom...} also seems to offer a lot for less money (nearly 𧷤 less!), with a sweet 500GB hard drive.





But overall the A350-20Q isn't a bad option, so it really comes down to personal preference. Good luck with your choice!

Himesh

February 21, 2009, 3:36 am

Thanks very much for your help. I was considering the ACER AS6935G before you said as it got a very good review on this very site. I was all for going to COmet this coming monday to buy, when i spotted this sony: {http://www.comet.co.uk/shopcom...}. Looks like its a straight shootout between the acer and sony. Both the same price, which would you go for?





Again i cant thank you enough for your help.

TechVegan

February 23, 2009, 4:13 pm

Really it's up to you to decide mate, but the Acer offers a Blu-ray drive where the Sony does not, and to top that off is currently cheaper.

Mombi

February 26, 2009, 12:25 am

Hi Ardjuna, nice review. Was thinking as well of getting the Satellite A350-20Q. But I am getting it for 𧻲 rather than the usual price of 𧾥. This is only because its a Toshiba laptop, and my brother works for them. My question is that, is there any laptop I could get out there that would be better than this Toshiba at 𧻲?





I am mainly interested in a laptop that can do basic gaming, watch some movie, use the net, and do bits & bobs. And I also want something that can last long, and will effectively replace my desktop.





Your help appreciated.

TechVegan

March 3, 2009, 5:06 pm

@Mombi: Cheers. No, I'd say that Satellite A350-20Q is pretty much as good a deal as you're going to get. The only thing it's lacking is a Blu-ray drive, and it doesn't sound like you want one anyway.

lloyd344

March 7, 2009, 6:53 pm

Hi i know this is a bit rude but the Toshiba Satellite A350-20Q is the exact laptop i am looking for, any chance tell me where u got it for 𧻲? Would be much appreciated:) x

Robert1248

July 28, 2014, 2:11 pm

Have had mine 5 years now and replaced the battery today since it was worn out. This laptop still performs good, and the sound still beats most of the laptops I have seen.
Installed Windows 8.1, and that combined with a SSD avoids the need for buying a newer laptop.

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