Toshiba offers a wide range of machines, and the Toshiba Equium A210-171 (£480 inc. VAT) is a direct market offering for home users on a budget. It has a standard chassis that is available with a range of specifications. So while our review unit has an affordable price tag, you'll be able to find an Equium that suits your budget and needs.

This laptop has a great look with a glossy black lid that is held in place by a single large hinge. The main body of the machine is silver with a black trim, while the keyboard is grey. With 25mm speakers mounted above the keyboard and a row of media buttons resting between them, Toshiba is pitching this laptop as a multimedia system.

Super-TFT panel

The 15.4-inch Super-TFT panel is bright and sharp. Even when running on battery power, it looked impressive. The price point means the graphics solution is integrated, so while you'll be able to watch DVD movies, you won't be able to play 3D games on this machine.

The machine has an overall semi-portable weight of 2.8kg. You won't want to carry it around everyday, but it's fine for shorter trips. The build quality is impressive with thick plastic used for the main body and lid. The keyboard sits neatly in the centre of the chassis and has keys that are of a good size. The keyboard rattles as you use it, and it's not as robust as we'd like, but it is more comfortable than some rivals.

When it comes to performance, the Equium uses an AMD solution. With the 1.9GHz clock speed of the Turion 64 X2 processor and 2048MB of memory in support, we found this a reliable and quick system for daily tasks. The Windows Vista Home Premium software loaded quickly and applications ran smoothly, but you won't want to use this laptop for high-end tasks.

When it comes to extra features, you'll find the standard array of peripherals on the sides of the casing. You can boot this machine straight into DVD mode, bypassing windows, which can help save time and battery life.

You'll find a VGA-port for connecting to analogue sources, such as data projectors, as well as S-video for linking your laptop to your television.

The Toshiba Equium A210-171 is a good all-round machine and represents great value for money. While its components didn't stand out, we found it a comfortable and pleasing machine to use.