Toshiba's Satellite A300D-15B (£649 inc. VAT) is a semi-portable machine aimed at the regular consumer.

In a bid to keep costs down, it's the only laptop here to use an AMD processor and chipset.

Unfortunately, this proves to be its downfall and everyday performance lagged behind that of its rivals. The 2.1GHz AMD Dual-Core processor still enables you to multi-task without too much lag, but battery life was appalling.

Under test conditions, we managed to run the Toshiba for just 100 minutes from a single charge. It's impossible to blame this entirely on the processor, as you'll also find a powerful GPU – an ATi Mobility Radeon HD 3650 chip.

Although mobility is affected, it's a great choice if you're planning on using this machine around the house, and 3D performance is to the fore. It can't match specialist gaming machines, but you'll find more than enough power for video editing and playing the latest games.

Screen resolution

It's a shame the battery life is poor, as the vibrant 15.4-inch screen is great for watching movies on, further helped by reasonable-sounding speakers made by Harman Kardon. Images could be sharper, with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels.

With a patterned, glossy finish the Satellite is a distinctive machine, but it won't suit all tastes. The high-gloss plastics even extend to the keyboard, and it quickly becomes covered in fingerprints.

We'd also be concerned about the casing getting scratched, and if you want to keep this machine looking like new, a protective case is advisable.

That said, quality is impressive, with robust plastics used and the screen held firmly in place. We found the palm rests warmed up slightly under use, but it was never too noticeable.

Well-connected machine

The keyboard is comfortable, and the well-sprung keys are a pleasure to type on. With tapered edges, it's also easy to type at speed without mistakes. Only the noise lets it down – with each key moving loudly when struck.

The touchpad is made from the same piece of plastic as the palm rests, but features a coarse finish. We found it responsive, as were the large mouse buttons.

This is a well-equipped machine, with great connectivity. Those wanting to hook up a high-definition (HD) display will be able to use the HDMI port, and four USB ports for connecting peripherals.

Overall, there's a lot to like about the Toshiba Satellite A300-15B, not least the sublimely comfortable keyboard. It's a great multimedia laptop if you plan on using it around the house, only missing out on an award by virtue of it's woefully short battery life.