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Toshiba Satellite feeds entertainment needs

Toshiba's latest entry in the large laptop category, the Satellite P300, lives up to its entertainment use tagline.

The first thing you notice is the large size (398mm wide) and the17-inch screen, which is ideal if you’re after an easy-to-read screen for work and home purposes.

The recommended retail price of $2999 seems a little on the high side, but you do get plenty of features.

I found watching movies and using applications such as Word very easy with the 1440x900 pixel screen. The keyboard was user-friendly with large raised keys, greatly reducing the risk of hitting the wrong key. Using the mouse pad was also a breeze.

The internal Harman/Kardon speakers provided a crisp, clear sound, although if you're after more bass than external speakers would be a must.

Toshiba’s press release stated the Satellite P300 has “stunning design”. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that, but it is good looking compared to similar-sized laptops,such as the Pavillion dv9000. Unfortunately the black keyboard is easy to leave greasy fingerprints on.

Despite its size, the laptop only weighs 3.35 kilos. It was fairly easy to carry around and a 17- inch backpack by Targus is avaliable from Toshiba. As an acceessory to this laptop it would be a useful addition.

The Bluetooth function was easy to use and it soon located my Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player so I could transfer music files. Having four USB ports was also a welcome feature, for those using multiple devices.

The wifi internet feature found connections in Newmarket, Auckland immediately and quickly loaded the pages.

My only disappointment with the P300 was that the FM radio had trouble finding local radio stations due to its overseas configuration. This seems a bit of a novelty device if you’re going to be accessing stations over the internet anyway.

The vendor claims up to three hours' battery life from the supplied six cell and this proved to be correct when using it. The battery does take some time to charge up, which would prove annoying if you’re out of the office and don’t have mains power access.

The P300 has a generous hard drive of 250GB, an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor with 2.1GHz and comes with a DVD burner.

Toshiba is marketing the laptop for gaming use and my chosen test game (Indiana Jones Lego) ran smoothly. However, if you’re into graphic-rich role playing games it won’t be the laptop for you due to only having 256MB of video RAM. My attempt to play a demo of RPG The Witching did not go well, with a noticeable lapse between speech and action.

Pre-loaded with Vista Business, Toshiba has included software such as its own value-added package, Norton Internet Security, Adobe Reader and a Microsoft Office trial.

If you’re a road warrior after portability, the size and short battery life will be a deterrent. Though for those needing a laptop for work or home use, the Satellite P300 will be a tempting purchase.