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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.