Toshiba Notebook Shows a Melding of MarketsBy Frank Ohlhorst | Print
Toshiba’s latest Satellite Pro, the M300, dances a fine line between a consumer and a business notebook computer, and that may be a good thing.
Toshiba has always had to serve two masters with its notebook computer line. Certain systems were designed with the consumer in mind, while others were designed with the business user in mind. After all, the data processing needs of a typical business user are different from the edutainment needs of the typical consumer.
But the engineers at Toshiba asked themselves a question—what if a notebook were designed as an economical choice for consumers, yet had the performance and features needed by a knowledge worker? Toshiba’s engineers answered their own question by designing the Satellite Pro M300, which offers consumer-oriented features in a business-class notebook.
The M300 does an excellent job of offering the best of both worlds to users; however, it also suffers from offering the worst of both worlds.
Business users and consumers will find a bright, 14.1-inch TruBrite LCD display a welcome sight. Crisp and clear, the display offers a consumer-oriented resolution of 1,280 by 800 pixels, which may not suit many business applications, yet will do an excellent job displaying video and Web pages.
Our review unit, the M300-S1002X, features an Intel T8300 Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, a DVD Super-multidrive and a 160GB 5,400-rpm hard drive. That combination of components proves to offer decent performance and capabilities suitable for both business and consumer use.
Interestingly, Toshiba is offering this particular model with Windows XP Pro, instead of Windows Vista. Going with Windows XP seems to be a concession to what corporate users and IT departments are most comfortable with, as opposed to the consumer, who usually selects Vista Home Edition as their operating system.
While the OS may be what business users are looking for, the bundle of included software is clearly aimed at the consumer. Toshiba preinstalls Norton 360, Picasa2, Presto BizCard Manager, Google Desktop and a few other applications that most corporate IT departments will want to uninstall before deploying a new system. Toshiba also bundles in a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office.
Performancewise, the M300 was able to muster a PassMark rating of 643.7 with PassMark’s Performance Test 6.1, and under normal use, with power-saving features enabled, users should be able to squeeze about 3 and a half hours of use out of the system before finding an outlet.
The unit offers excellent Wi-Fi connectivity, with the integrated antennas able to pick up signals from access points that are normally out of range. Users will also find Bluetooth 2.1 included in the unit. If wireless is not available, users can always plug into an Ethernet jack using the integrated 10/100 Ethernet port.
The keyboard and touchpad are comfortable, exhibit no flex under normal use and offer consistent sensitivity, which makes the M300 a good choice for a touch typist. The unit offers a number of ports for peripherals; users will find head phone and microphone jacks and Firewire, USB, video and modem ports all readily accessible. With a list price of $1,149, the M300-S1002X is affordable, especially when one considers the features and performance offered by the unit.