Toshiba – Satellite P200-12D review

desktop replacement notebook with HD-DVD
Photo of Toshiba – Satellite P200-12D
£999

Toshiba’s Satellite family of notebooks keeps growing and features models that cover most aspects of laptop design. The Satellite P200 range sits towards the higher end of the family line-up and, of the P200 series, our review model, the 12D, is the current flagship of the range, offering a good feature-set together with a reasonable price tag.

It’s a big boy, measuring 399 x 288 x 36mm and weighing in at just over 4kg (with the power brick), so it’s definitely aimed at replacing your desktop PC; a job it does admirably well with its specification.

As with all recent Satellites, it looks very stylish in its gloss piano black and metallic silver finish, the gloss black finish being set off neatly by a series of bright blue, back-lit information symbols; and just for good measure the Satellite badge is also back-lit.

At the heart of the P200-12D sits an Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 dual core processor clocked at 1.8GHz with an 800MHz FSB speed and 2MB of L2 cache. Backing up the CPU is an Intel 965M Express / ICH8-DO chipset combination and 2GB of PC2-5300 DDR2 memory clocked at 667MHz (though it’s a shame it’s not 800MHz to match the CPU). The notebook supports up to 4GB of memory, but to use this amount fully with a Windows OS you need to get hold of a 64-bit version of either XP or Vista, as the normal 32-bit software will only access just over 3GB.

Performance-wise the P200-12D is pretty average, scoring just over 4,000 overall in PCMark05, and a quick glimpse of the Vista Experience Index (Vista’s built-in benchmark) explains why. While all the other components score in the high fours, the graphics score is stuck in the mid threes, slowing the overall system performance.

It comes as no surprise, given the size of this laptop, that the keyboard is big and spacious, with all the keys in the place you expect them to be in, and you also get a full-size numeric pad. The keys themselves are firm to the touch and make typing a pleasure, as does the placement of the keyboard itself. The trackpad has vertical and horizontal scrolling and is precise with either a dainty or ham-fisted touch, and to round the input devices off there are two mouse buttons sitting under the trackpad.

Above the keypad sit two Harman Kardon speakers (there’s also a sub-woofer built into the base of the chassis) and a row of buttons between them controls the optical disc playback and provides an Internet shortcut.

Talking of optical disks, this is one of the Satellite P200-12D’s major plus points as it comes with a built-in HD-DVD drive. Not only that, but there’s also an HDMI port to let you watch HD DVDs on a bigger external screen.

Not that this laptop’s own screen is particularly small, being a 17.1-inch WXGA+ display with a 1,440 by 900 pixel native resolution. It comes with Toshiba’s TruBrite screen coating which gives an excellent base for watching DVD movies. For storage you get a useful 200GB Toshiba hard drive and there’s an Express card slot and a 6-in-1 Flash Card reader too.

The size of the chassis allows for a good number of ports and Toshiba hasn’t let the opportunity pass. You get six USB ports, a single 4-pin Firewire port, four audio ports (with a hardware volume control), S-Video and VGA ports and, last but not least, ports for the wired LAN and modem. The 802.11a/b/g/Draft-N WiFi can be turned on or off via a switch on the front of the chassis to save battery life, but quite frankly a notebook of this size will never be far from the mains anyway.

It’s a good job you get a big drive as the P200-12D comes with a wealth of Toshiba utilities, seemingly designed to do every job under the sun, along with Norton Internet Security 2007, Ulead DVD MovieWriter, Microsoft Works 8.5 and Windows Vista Home Premium.

Company: Toshiba

Contact: 0870 444 8944


Verdict
Despite the poor graphics performance - and if you're not interested in playing games on a laptop that hardly matters - Toshiba's Satellite A200-12D is a good all-round system with a major trick up its sleeve in the form of a built-in HD-DVD drive and HDMI output.