Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price free/subscription

Getting onto the extensive connectivity, on the A350D-202's side we have a very generous selection of video outputs, comprising VGA, S-Video and HMDI. Further along are an Ethernet port, two USB ports - one of which doubles as an eSATA port - and a mini-FireWire port. Above the latter three is a 54mm ExpressCard slot.

At the A350D's front you'll find a wireless switch for the included Draft-N Wi-Fi module, IR-sensor (though no remote is supplied), memory-card reader, headphone and microphone jacks and Toshiba's signature volume wheel. On the right are a further two USB ports, modem and power inputs and the DVD-Rewriter.

Together with the CPU, GPU, video connectivity and revised touchpad buttons, the 1,366 x 768 screen also appears to have had a bit of an upgrade, since the terrible viewing angles of the 11N have been eliminated in this update. Indeed, in terms of viewing angles, this is one of the better 16:9 notebook displays we've seen. It also maintains the strengths of its predecessor's display, meaning reasonable greyscale performance, minimal backlight bleed and sharp text.

As mentioned before, the majority of the 202's specifications remain unchanged, meaning you still get 4GB DDR2 RAM, which is more than the provided 32-bit version of Windows Vista Premium can handle, and a modest 250GB 5,400rpm hard drive. Which finally brings us to the biggest change: the processor and graphics chip, which are now AMD instead of Intel.

Straight off, we can have a guess at the main pros and cons of each model: Intel's CPUs are generally better-performing and more energy-efficient, which combined with the integrated graphics should make for longer battery life. The AMD revision, meanwhile, should be more capable for moderate gaming and graphically-intensive tasks thanks to its superior graphics.

These assumptions are borne out by the battery results, where the older 350D-11N takes the lead by as much as a whole hour in the non-intensive Reader test. Looking at the PCMark Vantage results performance isn't particularly encouraging either, since we see a significant performance advantage from the older A350's Core 2 CPU across the board, with the single exception of the Gaming benchmark.

This is due to the ATI Radeon HD 3650 graphics card, which is almost getting into budget portable gaming territory. Indeed, the same Trackmania Nations Forever test (1,366 x 768, Medium Detail) that returned an unplayable 15.5 frames per second on the 11N gave a far more impressive 42.3fps result here thanks to the 3650's extra grunt.

And with this card you're not limited to 'simple' games like TrackMania either: the AMD variant managed a very respectable average of 32.5fps in Call of Duty 4 at the screen's native resolution with all details turned on except with low model and water detail. So, while it mightn't let you run Crysis, the Satellite A350D-202 will let you play less demanding games without too many compromises.

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