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Despite the success of small and lightweight notebooks these past few months, companies are still pushing oversized but highly-specced notebooks. The new Toshiba A300 seems to have what it takes to be a reliable on-the-go workhorse, but can that justify its $2,499 price tag?


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According to Toshiba, its Satellite range is designed with durability and reliability in mind, optimal performance, and can complement your mobile lifestyle with the latest in design. These ‘standards’ may hold true with the A300 as it feels very solid, sports a silver exterior with a shiny piano black interior, and comes with noteworthy specifications and abundance of proprietary programs as well.

The A300 comes with a lot of connectivity ports, providing users with four USB ports, an ExpressCard slot, a FireWire port, a D-Sub and S-Video out port, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, a microphone and headphone jack, an FM antennae, as well as a 4-in-1 card reader. It also comes with a volume control dial and Wi-Fi switch for easy toggling.

Toshiba has also included a Sleep and Charge function feature for its USB ports, allowing users to recharge their gadgets (like iPod or mobile phone) without turning the notebook on. This clever function helps in extending the battery life of the notebook and is perfect for those ‘charge as you go’ moments.

 


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Opening the notebook reveals the shiny interior with well-spaced keys and dedicated multimedia keys, two harman/kardon speakers, a 15.4-inch screen, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. Although the piano black finish adds a touch of class to the notebook’s interior, its surface is quite a fingerprint magnet, making it look dirtier than it’s supposed to be.

The A300 is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor running at 2.5GHz, has 4GB of RAM, and uses ATI’s Mobility Radeon HD 3650 graphics card, giving it the grunt it needs to various applications smoothly. Storage is also not an issue, with the unit having 640GB of storage space (320GB x 2) to store all your digital files. The unit’s 15.4-inch screen has a maximum resolution of 1280×800 and was able to produce vivid colours.

Besides the programs that come with Windows Vista (like Microsoft Office Trial Version, Adobe Reader 8, and Norton Internet Security Setup), various proprietary programs like the Toshiba Recovery Disc Creator, Toshiba Assist, Toshiba ConfigFree, and Camera Assistant are included to give users more control over their PC. It even comes with an HDMI Out program and a as well as an NXP FM Tuner (with antennae) for FM tuning on the go.

 


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The A300 was able to run various photo editing and office-based programs smoothly, with multitasking not being an issue for this notebook. Users can also use the A300 to play games, although newer games must be adjusted to low or medium settings in order to be lag-free. Sound quiality was also good, thanks to its harman/kardon speakers.

Security-wise, users have the option to type in their password, enrol their fingerprints in the Toshiba Fingerprint Recognition software, or use the Facial Recognition software. Although the Fingerprint software was easy to use, the Facial Recognition software still has a lot of work to do (when compared to the Lenovo Ideapad Y510) – it took us more than a try to log in and there were countless times when we resorted to use the fingerprint recognition software.

Battery life is above average, lasting for about 110 minutes before having to recharge the battery for 90 minutes.

We are in a dilemma – while the new Toshiba A300 has a good set of specifications and comes with various programs that will make computing easier, it comes with a hefty price tag. If you don’t mind spending $2,499 for a highly-specced notebook, then go ahead and take the plunge.

See page over for product specifications and final rating.

 

 Toshiba A300/600 Product Specifications:

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9300 @ 2.5GHz
Operating System: Genuine Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium (32bit) (includes revovery media for Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit)
Hard Disc Drive: 640GB (320GB + 320GB) (5400rpm) SATA
Memory: 4GB (2G+2G) DDR2 (667)
Display: 15.4″ Widescreen WXGA TruBrite Display
Maximum Resolution: 1280 x 800
Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 (512MB discrete video memory and upto 1279MB shared video memory using HyperMemory technology with min 2GB system RAM)
Optical Disc Drive: DVD SuperMulti Double/Dual Layer Drive
Speakers: Premium harman/kardon speaker

Video out: RGB / HDMI-CEC
Audio out: FM Radio Tuner, External Microphone port, Stereo Headphone port, Sound Volume Dial, Integrated microphone
USB Ports: 4 x Hi-Speed USB 2.0, USB Sleep and Charge
Bridge Media Adaptor: 5-in-1 card reader Adapter
IEEE1394 iLink port: IEEE 1394
Remote Control: Windows Media Center Compatible
Bluetooth: Bluetooth V2.1 + EDR
Security: Integrated Biometrics – Fingerprint reader, Slot for Kensington Cable lock, Wireless LAN switch
Lifestyle Buttons: Backlit – CD / DVD play & 6 control buttons

Dimensions: 362 x 267 x 34.5(Front)/38.5(Rear) mm
Weight: 2.69kg (may vary with spec)

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Toshiba Satellite A300/600 | $2,499 |  | www.toshiba.com.au

For: Noteworthy specifications; Various proprietary software; Good audio; Multimedia keys; Connectivity
Against: Black finish inside the notebook is a magnet for fingerprints; Expensive
Conclusion: A powerful Toshiba notebook for those who can afford

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