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.