When it comes to connectivity, the P200-143 again pleases in some respects, but frustrates in others. On the left edge there’s a DC-in, a D-Sub port, an Ethernet port, two USB ports, an S-Video TV-out, an ExpressCard slot and just below that a 4-pin FireWire.
This covers the basics well enough, but there are shortcomings to be found. The S-Video port, for example, is a standard 4-pin version, rather than the 7-pin variety that allows for component output to an HDTV. Even the sub-£500 notebooks that were tested as part of the student technology feature had 7-pin S-Video ports. Why not on a notebook that costs twice as much?
Moreover, for notebooks of this size the inclusion of an HDMI port has become more or less mandatory and as such the lack of any such connection constitutes another black mark. Moving to the front there’s a wireless On/Off switch, microphone and headphone jacks, an analogue volume wheel and finally a 6-in-1 card reader which supports SD, SD-IO, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MMC and xD.
Just above these are a set of blue backlit status lights, while the model name ‘Satellite’ is also backlit in this fashion. It’s a smart touch, and serves to remind that though the specification may be lacking, the P200-143 still sports an attractive design for a notebook of considerable size. However, such touches cannot hide the obvious shortcomings.
It doesn’t help matters that Toshiba seems intent weighing down its consumer notebooks with as much useless software as it can. Some software is to be expected, but Toshiba seems to take things to unnecessary lengths with utilities such as Toshiba Flash Cards, which is a pop down menu that simply mimics the functionality of the Fn keys. This program takes up a significant amount of system memory, and is more of a distraction than anything else. If nothing else it would be wise to give the system to good spring clean before using it, and there’s a good case for doing a clean install too.