Toshiba Notebook Shows a Melding of Markets

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article 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.


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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