At least in design Toshiba hasn’t lost its touch. This P200 shares the same basic design as the whole Satellite range, with a very attractive navy blue exterior and silver and glossy black interior. The only blemishes to my mind are the speakers, which seem rather ugly and out of visual sync with the rest of notebook. All the same, it’s something you can learn to ignore, and otherwise there’s plenty to praise.
Take the keyboard. Full sized keyboards on DTRs aren’t anything new, but this is certainly one of the best examples I’ve seen. The only obvious piece of compromise is the slightly smaller Enter key, and even this doesn’t have any real detrimental effect on the typing experience. As with the A200-1DN, which we looked at as part of our Student’s Guide to Technology, the keys are crisp and light and consequently the P200-143 won’t have you reaching for the nearest USB keyboard. Just above the keyboard is the usual set of basic shortcut buttons. There’s a power button – always useful – and it’s accompanied by internet browser and media player buttons, with playback buttons to the right of them.
Being a 17in DTR, it’s unsurprising to find that this is a bulky machine, weighing 3.49kg and measuring 399 x 288 x 46.5 mm (WxDxH). Moreover, there’s something about the shape and design that makes it look even bigger than it actually is, as opposed to the Alienware Area-51 m9750 – another 17in notebook – which looked smaller than it actually was.
As for the 17in display itself, mediocrity again springs to mind. For starters the 1,440 x 900 resolution is disappointing; on a screen of this size 1,680 x 1,050 is really ideal. But, more importantly, the general quality of the screen is nothing to shout home about. It’s averagely bright, averagely vibrant, and has average viewing angles – it may as well be called Norman.
Indeed, one of the more annoying aspects of the display is the vertical viewing angle. When watching a film it’s very difficult to adjust the screen in a way that doesn’t result in some kind of colour shift, or inconsistent brightness, between the top and bottom segments of the display. It’s a problem that befalls quite a number of large notebook displays, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
Audio is also disappointing. During films dialogue is crisp enough, but overall the audio production from the in-built speakers is distinctly tinny and unimpressive. As such a decent set of desktop speakers or headphones are definitely necessary.