Toshiba has a bit of a pedigree when it comes to ultra-portable computing, the Portege R600 being the perfect example of its ability to shave weight off and produce an impossibly light machine. Bearing this in mind, it ought to have the expertise to produce a very good affordable ultra-portable. The Satellite T130-11H, currently retailing for just shy of £450, is one of its first attempts.
It's a 13.3in machine that's adorned in the now all too familiar glossy black plastic. Indeed, anyone with a passing knowledge of Toshiba's laptop range will instantly recognise the T130, since it shares so many of its common design themes: glossy finishes, imprinted patterns and a sprinkling of faux-chrome. It's a passably attractive, if rather high maintenance, effect and one that's also available in white and a rather fetching red should you prefer.
Being an ultra-portable, the T130 is also very thin and light, weighing in at just 1.76kg and measuring as little as 22.2mm at its slimmest point. This increases to 34.2mm at the rear where the battery extends downward, but it does little to detract from the otherwise svelte look and feel.
Glancing at the spec sheet, however, does highlight some causes for concern. While we've been quite happy with the performance of Intel's dual-core CULV processors, we're less convinced of the value of the single-core variety like the Pentium SU2700 powering the T130. It ticks along at a sedate 1.3GHz which, without the help of another identical core, doesn't leave a lot of headroom - especially considering Intel's integrated graphics won't pull up trees, either.
This is backed by a reasonable 3GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive, while Wireless-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both available for wireless networking duties. You only get 10/100 Fast Ethernet mind, but the Wi-Fi is more than fast enough for most needs. Most encouraging for those after long battery life - which, after all, is kind of the point of a machine like this - is the presence of a high capacity, 61 Watt-hour battery.
Connectivity is also a plus point. Among the HDMI, VGA and three USB ports is a 'sleep & charge' USB (on the left) that allows you to charge mobile devices even while the laptop is turned off. This is a common feature on Toshiba laptops and a very useful one, too. Other connections include headphone and microphone jacks, and a 5-in-1 memory card reader.