While the A660 is packed full of features, to keep its price down Toshiba has compromised a little in performance. This is well illustrated by the comparison with the Toshiba Satellite L650-10G, which costs only £629 but features a faster Intel Core i5 processor compared to the A660's Core i3.
However this only equates to around an 11 per cent difference in our testing, and in general the Core i3 of the A660 will cope with everything the average user is likely to throw at it. Moreover, it still outperforms the Acer Aspire 5553G and its quad-core AMD processor, which just goes to show sometimes more cores doesn't result in greater performance.
Neither does the A660's slower processor hold it back in gaming. It performs nearly identically to both the compared systems, making it a good casual gaming system but not one suited to more hardcore and graphically intensive titles. You won't have any problems with most MMO's, such as World of Warcraft or EVE Online, and many older titles should run great with a little tweaking.
Things are similarly close in the battery life testing, though at slightly over three hours the A660 is the least long-lasting of the three. This is still good enough for a machine of this type, however, as its 16-inch screen and 2.62kg weight make it an unlikely candidate for day-to-day mobility. Slightly more disappointing is the DVD playback results where it fell short of two hours, but reducing the screen brightness would add at least 30 minutes to this figure.
Moreover, while performance is little more than good enough, it's merely the backbone of a laptop that's excellent value considering the features on offer - value enhanced by Toshiba's outstanding build quality.
Toshiba has hit a nice sweet-spot in the Satellite A660, offering solid performance and excellent multimedia features at a very attractive price. Toshiba could do better in the aesthetic design apartment, but the functional appearance is matched by equally functional ergonomics and the excellent speakers are the icing on the cake.