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Toshiba Satellite L300-29T - 15.4in Laptop review

Ardjuna Seghers

By

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

5

It's not often that we see a laptop from an established brand at a price point as low as the £350 that will get you Toshiba's 15.4in Satellite L300-29T. In fact, this makes it the cheapest laptop we've ever reviewed, so let's find out if it's an absolute bargain or has had a few too many corners cut.

As far as the chassis is concerned it's certainly a step above what you might expect, with good overall build quality despite a hint of flex here and there. Its glossy finish means the lid is a real fingerprint magnet, but the striped pattern creates a moderately attractive, unassuming appearance.

Unfortunately, opening the laptop up reveals the same high-gloss finish on the keyboard surround and palm-rests, though at least the touchpad and keyboard itself are matt, as is - haters of reflective screen-bezels rejoice - the screen's surround.

There's a clasp to hold the lid closed, which is quite unusual these days but does mean your laptop will never open up when it isn't meant to. Elsewhere Toshiba has also gone for more physical controls than many modern portables, with a physical Wi-Fi switch, volume control wheel, and a set of multimedia buttons below the screen that offer reassuringly crisp feedback.

Based on previous experience with the likes of the Toshiba Satellite A350D we were hoping the keyboard would be good: it doesn't disappoint. Layout is excellent, with every key in its proper place and a handy set of shortcuts to the left. A generous amount of travel makes up for the lack of audible feedback, while the matt surface of the keys is much nicer than the glossy examples of many previous Satellites.

While lacking the white LED strip that made the touchpad on more high-end Toshiba laptops stand out, there's no reason for complaint here, either. The large, sensitive pad sports a pleasant textured surface and its two matt black buttons are easier to click than the stiff chromed efforts on previous Toshiba laptops.

Wedge

September 3, 2009, 1:50 pm

This looks like a tidy budget machine if buying the £330 Pentium option. The lack of a card reader doesn't bother me as most laptops seem to have forgotten CompactFlash exists and most of my memory cards are this size. With the ExpressCard slot I could get a fast reader and leave that in all the time.





Does this come with Windows x64 on DVD in you were to upgrade to 4GB of RAM?

Neil B

September 3, 2009, 1:56 pm

What a strange review! I saw the marks out of ten and was expecting the laptop to get a real hammering but it was quite the opposite. Okay the performance isn't up to much but you said yourself that for the sake of a £15 memory upgrade it could easily be improved. If that was the only downside (one which I do agree with) why such low marks, especially for value? I'm in the market for a budget laptop and looking at the scores I would give this a wide berth but having read the review I'm quite tempted (obviously with a RAM upgrade and probably with Win7 on too).

TechVegan

September 3, 2009, 2:36 pm

@Wedge:


Nope, it's still the 32-bit edition of Vista Home Premium with the L300-29X, which is fine as the only reason you'd want 64-bit is for using over 3.5GB of RAM in intensive usage scenarios, which you wouldn't try to run on a budget laptop.





@Neil B:


Thanks for your comment, Neil. Unfortunately what we're reviewing is this particular configuration (with its crippling 1GB), not the chassis, which as both you and the review say isn't bad at all for the money. Hence the low value score, since for only £10 more you can get a far superior machine. Had we reviewed the L300-29X rather than the 29T, the value score would probably have been far higher, as would the overall one.





Good luck with your purchase!

PeteT

September 3, 2009, 6:21 pm

I recently bought the L300-22E which is the AMD 2.1Ghz version with 3GB RAM and a 250GB hard disk. Its a good budget machine (although a card reader really would have been nice!) and the best bit is with the apparently ongoing £50 cashback from Toshiba it only cost about £380 online

AlmostDone

September 6, 2009, 1:35 am

This is a better deal (same range) with AMD x2 2.1Ghz, 3GB ram, 250GB HDD.





http://www.ebuyer.com/product/...

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