Toshiba Satellite T-130 13K review: CULV laptop

Reviews 3 Dec, 2009

Despite the hype sometimes a netbook just won't hack it. Lucky then, there's a new kid in town - the CULV notebook. It may not sound catchy but if you want portability, power and affordability, then Toshiba has a machine for you. We review the Toshiba Satellite T-130.

3
Price: 
£408
ex. VAT
Verdict: 
Ergonomically, it is an improvement over a netbook, and we appreciate the lengthy battery life, but the unresponsive mouse buttons and a lack of raw speed blunt it's appeal a little. We'd recommend going for the Satellite Pro version, with its faster processor and Windows 7 Professional.

What do you do about a problem like the netbook? Sure, they've taken the world by storm, but as we've mentioned before, it seems that a great many people are buying them without realising that they aren't small laptops that are ready for anything.

As such, manufacturers are pushing a new category - the CULV laptop. Admittedly, that's not much of a name for a category, but as the netbook confusion has proved, saddling devices with labels can just be confusing. The selling point of the CULV laptop is that they're slightly bigger than netbooks, and as such can accommodate larger screens and more usable keyboards, while offering better battery life and more performance. At the same time, it's all done without the high expense of miniaturisation you'll get from the likes of the Toshiba Portege R600. While that starts at £1,149, the T130 starts at £399.

The Toshiba T-130 that we have in front of us is an example of this increasingly popular form factor, yet costs just £469 including VAT from Toshiba's website.

It's available in both consumer and business flavours, with the choice of processor the differentiating factor. The Pros get Celeron or Core 2 Solo Intel processors, while the consumer models have Core 2 Solo or Pentium processors, and the 1.3GHz SU2700 inside our review sample comes under this latter brand. While this is a brand that's been around for around 15 years, the processor inside is actually based on Intel's Penyrn core from 2007, so you're not being saddled with mid-nineties technology.

The key facet of the Core 2 Solo, is the single core-processor (the clue's in the name), which does seem a little old school. This means that if you are the multi tasking type this probably isn't the machine for you. As it turned out, our machine managed to turn in a score of 0.52 in our benchmarks. This is actually only slightly faster than you'll see from a netbook, so it's a little disappointing in that respect.

Specifications: 

Processor: Intel Pentium SU2700 1.3GHz (800Mhz, 2MB cache, 45nm)

Memory: 3GB DDR3 (Max 4GB) (533MHz)

Graphics: Mobile Intel integrated series 4 GMA 4500M

Hard disk: 250GB

Display: 13.3in TruBrite LED backlit

Connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Fast Ethernet (10/100), Bluetooth, Webcam

Ports: VGA, HDMI, 3x USB, headphone, microphone socket, integrated microphone

Dimensions: (Wx D x H) 323 x 223 x 222

Weight: 1.7Kg

Warranty: 1 yr

Software: McAfee internet security, USB sleep and charge