Toshiba Satellite T-130 13K review: CULV laptop

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.

The keyboard's short travel keys proved reasonably comfortable to type on, but it's not the best we've used. At least there were no oddly placed or strangely sized keys to bother us - the backspace key, right shift key are sensibly sized.

Another differentiator over an ultra portable is that like a netbook there's no built-in optical drive, though this is becoming increasingly less of an issue these days.

You do get HDMI though, as well as VGA giving you greater flexibility in what you connect it to. You'll also find thee USB ports, and Ethernet, but it's not Gigabit unfortunately. You do, however, get Wireless-n, Bluetooth and an Expresscard slot.

Included on the system is Toshiba Assist, which offers wizards based diagnostics, but we're not convinced they add anything over the assistance you'll get from Windows 7 Home Premium.

As a package T-130 is appealing. It's certainly not going to work as a desktop replacement, but this is a machine that outperforms netbooks at a reasonable margin. In terms of usability the tricky trackpad is a real black mark against it, so if you are able to get to a store to try one out, we'd recommend it. It's also not quite as fast as we would have liked.

To really fulfil its brief of filling a niche between netbooks and more powerful laptops, we'd have to say you need to stretch the budget to 549 for the Satellite Pro. For the business user this will make sense, as it will ship with a SU3500 Core 2 Solo and Windows 7 Professional. While this will likely eat slightly into the battery life the extra power is worth it. However, even in this guise, thanks to it's excellent battery life, we literally, have a lot of time for the Toshiba T-130.

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.

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

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