Compare the two cheapest machines on test, though, and it’s clear that the Toshiba is the more striking of the pair. There’s a large 17in screen, and a glossy finish to the chassis that includes a row of white LED lights above the keyboard and dramatic lines across the wristrest.
The P300 also includes the best speakers we’ve laid ears on this month. Provided by audio specialist Harman Kardon, they provide more bass and clearer treble than anything else on test.
Toshiba also takes a different approach to the keyboard, with the keys having a high-gloss finish that makes them feel a little odd to type on. The 17in screen offers acres of space, with a comfortable 1440 x 900 resolution, but it lacks the VAIO’s vibrancy.
Inside, there’s an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor, which runs at 2.5GHz. It propelled the Toshiba to a score of 1.11 in our 2D benchmarks – but it’s some way behind the fastest laptops here. And for playing games, the Toshiba also lags behind its rivals with a score of 15fps in our medium-quality Crysis benchmark.
The rest of the specification is much better. A 250GB hard disk provides plenty of storage space, but it’s not top of this month’s selection of laptops, while a 2GB of RAM is firmly average.
But battery life is disappointing: while the 3.5kg P300 won’t be straying from the mains too often, it’s disheartening that the Toshiba lasted under two and a half hours in light use, and just over an hour in our heavy-use test. The Acer and HP machines, both of which are larger, offer better longevity.
But don’t be fooled: the Satellite P300 is a genuinely good laptop. Its entertainment credentials are improved by superb speakers, and considering its spec it also offers reasonable value for mone
Superb speakers, a whopping 640GB of storage and decent core components make this a solid choice
• Toshiba: www.alwaysshopping.com.au
• Price: 2035 • CPU model/brand: Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 • CPU speed: 2.5hz • Hard drive capacity: 640GB • Graphics type: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 • Graphics: 512MB • Screen resolution: 17in • Weight: 3.5kg • Dimensions WDH: 398 x 285 x 43mm • Ethernet: Yes • Wi-Fi: Yes • Bluetooth ports: Yes • USB ports: Yes • Operating system: Windows Vista Business • Manufacturer: Toshiba • Supplier: Toshiba • Warranty: 1yr C+R