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We're big fans of ultra-portable notebooks here at TrustedReviews - oodles of power is all well and good but a notebook needs to be portable and we're more than happy to sacrifice a little power for portability. Unfortunately most of the best ultra-portables are very expensive, making them more of a luxury item than the commodity we wish they were.
Thankfully, Toshiba has seen fit to do something about this with its Satellite range, which aims to provide affordable solutions for all environments. Today we have the U200-161 which is available for a reasonable £600 and, though the 1.87kg weight isn’t quite in the ultra-portable league, it’s still on a par with TR favourite, the Samsung Q35 Red Core 2.
The U200-161 comes with an Intel Core Duo T2300E CPU running at 1.66GHz, along with 512MB of DDR2 RAM, an 80GB SATA hard disk and a DVD Rewriter. It has integrated 802.11 a/b/g wireless, 10/100 Ethernet, a 56k modem and a 12.1 inch display with a 1,280 x 800 native resolution.
At this price it's difficult to have too many quibbles with such a specification, though the U200-161 does lack a couple of potentially useful features such as Bluetooth and an ExpressCard slot. It does however have a PC Card slot, which is great if you have, say, a 3G data card, but the lack of an ExpressCard slot could leave you somewhat restricted in the future.
Speaking of the future, the U200-161 comes with a single piece of 512MB RAM, leaving another open to upgrade to the 1GB you’ll certainly need if you plan on installing Microsoft’s shiny, clock adorned new operating system, Vista.
On the flip side it does feature a few nice features for mobile professionals, with a Fingerprint Reader for added security, shock-resistant HDD protection and an in-built microphone for VOIP calls. These are some nice additions, adding peace of mind for your data and ease of use for those wishing to save some money using increasingly popular VOIP services.
Aesthetically the U200-161 defies easy qualification. At some angles it looks really rather sleek and understated, but from others – especially when looking at the touchpad area below the keyboard – it seems rather generic. Inoffensive is the over used term that probably best applies, and at this price one shouldn’t expect a design marvel. At the very least the build quality is up to Toshiba’s generally excellent standards, so there are no concerns in that department.