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Toshiba Satellite Pro T130-15F - 13.3in Laptop - Toshiba Satellite Pro T130-15F
As the substance of our irritation with the first T130 was its performance, it was important to see how this version compared. As you can see from the graph below, an extra core and a little more RAM makes all the difference: it's like night and day. Consequently the T130-15F is a far more usable, snappier system that will rarely leave you hanging.
It also outperforms the HP Pavilion dm3, though the margin isn't especially large and you're unlikely to notice the difference in daily use. It's also worth pointing out that the HP is quite a bit cheaper, around £200 cheaper in fact, and includes an external optical drive as well. This makes it better value from a price/performance perspective, a fact enhanced by the more refined design and features of the HP.
Of course, unless you opt for the likes of the Alienware M11x, it's not reasonable to expect meaningful gaming from such machines. We still test it, though, and the T130-15F musters a poorly 10.8fps in our Trackmania Nations test, which is quite a bit less than the HP. We haven't run our more demanding gaming test, STALKER: Call of Pripyat since none of these systems can cope with it.
A far more meaningful metric for these laptops is battery life and it's here that the Intel-based Toshibas really hold an advantage. Both run for almost eight hours, with our particular model going so far as 453 minutes (7hrs, 33mins) compared to the 291 minutes (4hrs, 51mins) of the HP. That's proper all-day battery life, something you'd have once had to pay a small fortune to get.
Ultimately this and the much improved performance shine the T130 in far better light. There are still a few things bugging us, though. While the performance and battery life is exactly as we'd like, at £650 the T130-15F is just £100 shy of the entry-level Alienware M11x and a good deal more expensive than the likes of the Acer Aspire 1810TZ. Throw in the overly glossy chassis (a continuing Toshiba issue) and a slightly flawed keyboard and that difference does mark it down a tad.
A nippy dual-core processor and outstanding battery life ensures the Toshiba Satellite Pro T130-15F ticks many boxes for prospective buyers. It still has some issues, though, so shouldn't shoot to the top of your list unless it comes down in price.