Looking around the chassis you’ll see that this isn’t a stripped down ultra-portable machine like the Sony VAIO X505. To the right you’ll find the aforementioned DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive and a Kensington lock point. On the left there’s an SD card slot, two Type II PC Card slots, a hard switch for the integrated Intel 802.11b wireless network adapter, mic and headphone sockets and an analogue volume wheel. At the rear is the power socket and four USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a flap that hides a D-SUB port, a FireWire port, composite video out, a modem socket and an Ethernet port. The front is pretty bare apart from the lid release and a total of eight lights that indicate mains power connection, power-on state, battery one present, battery two present, hard disk use, optical drive use, SD card use and WiFi. You’ll notice from the indicator lights that the Portégé A100 can be configured with two batteries. If you look at the bottom of the notebook you’ll find a sliding flap that hides the connector for the second battery.
Performance wise the A100 was never going to break any records, especially with only 256MB of memory. That said, it did turn in a battery life of almost three and a half hours, which isn’t bad for such a small machine. Add to this the fact that you could add a second battery and the A100 looks like a lightweight, slim machine that you could use all day away from a power source.
My review sample also came with a very nice leather and suede carrying bag, although it is a little large considering the small notebook that’s going inside. The A100 also carries with it a three-year warranty, which should give some piece of mind to buyers.
The A100 isn’t quite as slim and light as the Sony VAIO X505 or even the IBM ThinkPad X40, but then they don’t have integrated optical drives. With dimensions of 289 x 238 x 36mm (WxDxH) and a weight of 2.1kg, it’s still small and light enough to be carried with you all day, every day.
The thing about slim and stylish notebooks is that they tend to carry a price premium over their larger and heavier cousins. It therefore came as a shock for me to discover that the Portégé A100 will only set you back £893 including VAT. With a price like that, the A100 adds amazing value for money to it’s already impressive credentials. OK, so it could do with a bit more memory and it only uses the older 802.11b standard for WiFi, but it’s still a great sub notebook at an incredible price.
The Toshiba Portégé A100 is a lovely little notebook computer, with the added advantage of a built-in optical drive. The design is stylish and clean, and the build quality is solid. But it’s the amazingly low price that raises this machine above the competition. If you’re looking for a slim at stylish notebook and a stunning price, this is it.