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Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955

>> Monday, September 28, 2009

Last year's Toshiba Satellite L305-S5875, which cost $675 and was housed in a nearly identical case, came with a 200GB hard drive, 3GB of DDR2 RAM, and a 1.86GHz Pentium Dual-Core T2390. Therein lies the difference : this year's L305 has a 160GB hard drive, only 2GB of RAM, and an inferior Celeron 900 processor for nearly half the cost. In essence, it has the guts of a Netbook in a 15.4 inch laptop's body (the earliest Netbooks actually used Celeron chips, before Intel release the Atom processor).

While this laptop is fine for basic e-mail, media viewing, music playing, and other simple tasks, we wouldn't recommend it for any sort of multitasking or serious mission critical computing. It's already more than a bit of a dinosaur in 2009, and it won't get any less outdated, making it a questionable investment on the other hand, Windows 7 should run fine on it (although most new Vista Basic systems are ineligible for a free upgrade), and this could be the sort of bargain a low expectations consumer is looking for.

  • Price as reviewed / Starting price : $349
  • Processor : 2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900
  • Memory : 2GB, DDR2 800MHz
  • Hard drive : 160GB 5,400rpm
  • Chipset : Mobile Intel GM45
  • Graphics : Intel GMA 4500MHD
  • Operating System : Windows Vista Home Basic SP1
  • Dimensions (WD) : 14.3x10.6 inches
  • Height : 1.5 inches
  • Screen size (diagonal): 15.4 inches
  • System weight / Weight with AC adapter : 5.92 / 6.78 pounds
  • Category : Mainstream
The next question you may have is : "Why wouldn't I just buy a Netbook?" To that, we say: it depends on whether a larger screen and keyboard matter to you. Netbooks are considerably more portable, and an Atom processor doesn't make much of a computing difference compared with the Celeron 900 in Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955. However, many budget Netbooks have compromised keyboard sizes, and screens that might be too limiting for power users. Also, the L305-S5955 runs Vista as opposed to Windows XP. Take that as you will. We also find there's a sizable psychological factor : small Netbooks come with one set of expectations attached, while users expect larger laptops no matter how low powered or inexpensive to behave more or less like standard mainstream systems.

Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955 will never be confused for a Netbook from the outside, however. At 1.5 inches thick, it's one of the beefier nongaming laptops on the market. The muted blue gray exterior is prone to fingerprint smears, but the plastic feeling lid is solid. There's a full size keyboard with tapered keys, and six physical media control buttons that aren't backlit. Volume control, like with the similar Toshiba L505D-S5965, is operated via a wheel at the front of the laptop, under the touch pad.


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