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Toshiba Satellite Pro U400-S1001X

>> Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Satellite Pro U400-S1001X will fit into any business environment, with its dull silver lid and keyboard deck, black screen bezel, and black keyboard. It uses the same chassis as the consumer oriented Satellite U405, but removes the multimedia control keys above the keyboard and the glossy Fusion finish. Branding is kept to a minimum, with a simple Toshiba logo on the center of the lid, another smaller Toshiba logo below the screen, and a tiny Satellite Pro logo on the front left corner. Despite its lack of dedicated multimedia control keys, an always appreciated volume dial resides along the front edge between a media card slot and Wi-Fi power switch.

Specification
  • Price as reviewed / Starting price $1,049
  • Processor 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100
  • Memory 1GB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz
  • Hard drive 160GB, 5400rpm
  • Chipset Mobile Intel 965GM Express
  • Graphics Intel GMA X3100
  • Operating system Windows XP Pro
  • Dimensions (width by depth) 12.4x9.0 inches
  • Thickness 1.2 to 1.4 inches
  • Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
  • System weight and weight with AC adapter 4.6 / 5.5 pounds
  • Category Thin and light
Like the first Satellite Pro laptop we reviewed, the 15-inch A210, the 13 inch U400 feels very solid, from the two sturdy hinges that anchor the display to the firm keyboard deck. The keys themselves offer good travel, and even a heavy handed typist like myself didn't feel much flex when banging away on the keys. I'm also known to be driven slightly insane by a laptop's loud mouse buttons (I'm looking at you Sony Vaio NR498), so I experienced something akin to what might be described as euphoria when I first encountered the U400's mouse buttons.

OK, euphoria might be overstating it a bit, but the fact remains that the mouse keys offer excellent feel with just the right amount of travel and a barely audible click when fully pressed. Between the two mouse buttons is a fingerprint scanner. The touch pad is a compact 2.5 inches by 1.5 inches and, sadly, it lacks the vertical scroll function that many have come to rely on, including myself.

The 13.3 inch display offers a 1,280x800 pixel native resolution, which is standard for a screen this size. We were surprised to find the same glossy screen coating as found on its consumer cousin, the Satellite U405. For business use working under bright fluorescent lights or in a sun filled airport gate we generally prefer a screen with a matte finish, which reduces glare and reflections.

Above the display sits a 1.3 megapixel Webcam and mic for easy video conferencing. We generally have low expectations for laptop speakers and lower those for the audio output of business laptops. Yet, the Satellite Pro U400 fell short of our meager expectations, with the tinniest and weakest audio output. For both music and movies, you'll want to make use of the laptop's headphone jack.

The Toshiba Satellite Pro U400-S1001X serves up a standard collection of ports and connections similar to what we saw on the Satellite U405 but minus an eSATA port. There's a placeholder on the left edge for an HDMI port, but it sits empty on this business machine; your only video out option is the analog VGA port.

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