Toshiba – Satellite Pro T130 review

small format notebook with long battery life
Photo of Toshiba – Satellite Pro T130
from £399

On paper Toshiba’s Satellite Pro T130 is a dream. 11 hours of battery life thanks in part to an Intel CULV processor, small format, and low cost is the kind of combination of features that makes mobile computing fans happy.

It is not all sweetness and light, though. The lack of an optical drive immediately puts this notebook out of the running for many people, who will want to install software from a CD or DVD, or play movies. Yes, you can get an external drive but this is, for many, a bitty solution, giving you something else to remember to carry around.

For such a small notebook – 13.3-inch screen, 323 x 223 x 22.2-34.2mm – the Satellite Pro T130 is surprisingly heavy. Its 1.76kg mean you’ll notice the weight. But a key reason for the weight of the Satellite Pro T130 is the very robust build. If you do decide to carry it, it should take a fair few knocks. The shiny black finish on the chassis won’t appeal to all, but we found it quite aesthetically pleasing.

The 13.3-inch screen delivers 1366 x 768 pixels. The shiny screen coating helps with clarity when viewing video, though as ever it is a bit reflective. We were happy to live with that, but we found the keyboard more of a challenge. It has a lot of flex, which results in a somewhat fragile feel. If you are a heavy handed typist you might find it particularly unsatisfactory.

The touchpad incorporates scroll zones and pinch to zoom. The latter in particular was not hugely responsive, and we also found the mouse buttons, which are embedded in a sliver strip along the bottom edge of the wrist rest, were a little uncomfortable to use.

Toshiba has included some neat touches. You can use the webcam that sits above the screen for face recognition based login, and there are a couple of applications that could prove useful. Bulletin Board lets you bring together notes, to do lists, application shortcuts, photos and more onto a virtual pinboard. This could be very handy for organising small projects. Meanwhile, ReelTime indexes files for up to three months using thumbnails, which makes it a little easier to get back to recently used items.

You have a range of Intel processor options to choose from: Core 2 Solo SU3500 1.4GHz, Core 2 Duo SU7300 1.3GHz and, in the two lowest cost models, Celeron 743 1.3Mhz processors. The lowest cost option runs Windows 7 Home Premium, but other models run Windows 7 Professional. Hard drives rise to 320GB in the most expensive model, 250GB in the rest.

You’ll need to go above that £399 starting price for the 11 hour battery life: pay the lower price and you’ll get 8.5 hours instead. In the real world we tested an ’11-hour’ model. We played music from the hard drive with Wi-Fi running and some actual use being made of it for just over 6 hours before the battery died. Although less than advertised, that’s not bad going.

Company: Toshiba

Contact: 0844 847 8944


Verdict
The lack of an optical drive will be a deal-breaker for many. Don't expect higher end specs for the entry level price, and take that battery life estimate with a pinch of salt. Even with these caveats, though, we think the Satellite Pro T130 is a nice little computer.