Less Is More with Toshiba's Satellite Pro A210

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

Toshiba's AMD-based notebook combines value with features for the channel.

Toshiba is taking the approach that "less is more" with its latest notebook for the channel. To use Toshiba's own words, "In response to customer requests, Toshiba has streamlined the Satellite Pro A210 to include only essential tools and applications required for simpler, easier use." In English, that basically means the unit is not hampered with all of the typical bloatware found on most branded PCs.

What's more, the $899 Satellite Pro A210 comes with Microsoft Windows XP, instead of Windows Vista. By offering the popular XP, Toshiba helps users avoid the "rip and replace" dilemma that many businesses face today. That is the process, where a new PC is downgraded from Vista to XP to ensure compatibility with existing applications and processes. By using XP, Toshiba also keeps costs down.

Although the A210 is marketed as a value business notebook PC, the unit does not skimp on features. Buyers will find that the 6-pound A210-EZ2203X features a 15.4-inch WXGA display, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 120GB hard drive, a DVD SuperMulti (+/-R Double Layer) optical drive, ATI Radeon X1200 graphics and a dual-core AMD Turion TL-60 CPU. The unit also includes 802.11b/g wireless networking, 10/100 Ethernet and a modem. For those looking to save an additional $100, the company offers the A210-EZ2202X, which features a lower-end CPU and less memory. Both versions of the A210 feature a plethora of ports, including USB 2.0, Firewire, Video out and pretty much any port a user would need.

Here at eWEEK Channel Labs, we put a Satellite Pro A210-EZ2203X through the paces to see how well the machine performed and how well the system was suited for business use. For a notebook with a travel weight of around 7 pounds, we found the unit to be somewhat bulky, with a large footprint and thick case. Most users would probably want to avoid making this unit their primary portable notebook; the A210 is probably better used as a desktop replacement system that is used occasionally for mobile work. This is no means a major negative with the A210. Toshiba doesn't claim that the machine is an ultraportable or should replace one.

Performance was quite good on the system, especially when one considers the low price of the unit. The A210 was tested using Passmark Performance Test 6.1 and offered an overall score of 407.4, more than adequate for running typical business applications, such as an office suite and an e-mail client, or for Web browsing. For comparison, a Lenovo ThinkPad T61P (one of the fastest notebooks on the market) scored a 661.3 using the same performance benchmarks. The T61P retails for over $2,500.

As far as battery life is concerned, users should expect about two and a half hours of heavy use on the system before needing a recharge. Of course, battery life can be extended by toning down the systems performance and diming the display, if someone wants to use the system that way.

Toshiba partners can expect margins around 11 percent on the company's notebook systems. Partners are also eligible for rebates, additional discounts and several other incentives based on volume and sales goals. Although Toshiba also sells many products via retail and direct sources, the company offers opportunities to the channel with either special product bundles or units designed for business instead of consumer use. Satellite Pro notebooks are covered by a one-year warranty.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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