At first glance the Toshiba Satellite A665-11Z's chassis looks much like any other in Toshiba's consumer Satellite range, but that's not a bad thing by any means. The combination of glossy black and textured gun-metal plastics creates a stylish, yet understated, high-end look, and the chassis feel extremely well-made throughout.
With its resilient lid and firmly-fixed panels, this is a laptop more than up to the challenge of surviving busy use by the whole family.
While the 15.6-inch screen of the Toshiba Satellite A665-11Z is not as large as we'd have liked – an 18.4-inch screen would have been preferable for more immersive 3D entertainment – it provides a good combination of size and mobility.
At 2.8kg, the chassis can be comfortably carried during the day. The 114-minute battery life we recorded is awful, however, and falls to just 75 minutes when watching a DVD – one of the worst results we've seen from any laptop.
The wide keyboard of the Toshiba Satellite A665-11Z is built using the isolated – or chiclet – style, popularised by the Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro. With each key cut through an individual hole in the chassis' top panel, ample spacing is provided between each key. This makes it easy to touch type for long periods of time.
Another benefit of this design is that dust cannot easily fall beneath the keys, making it less necessary to have to clean the keyboard on a regular basis.
While the large keys feature an entirely flat profile – reducing tactility somewhat – we found the board consistently smooth and accurate to respond. The entire board is also backlit, making it easy to keep working on the Toshiba Satellite A665-11Z in low light conditions – ideal when gaming or watching a movie with the lights off.
One major flaw we noticed, however, was that the spacebar was frustratingly sluggish to respond. Requiring a very firm strike to register, this hinders tough-typing slightly.
The large touchpad is more pleasing. Measuring 93 x 52mm it perfectly matches the 16:9 aspect ratio of the Toshiba Satellite A665-11Z's 15.6-inch screen and its slightly textured finish makes it very tactile to use.
A small button above the touchpad lets you instantly disable the pad – when using an external mouse, for example – and a backlit strip indicates when the pad is active or disabled. The touchpad's accompanying mouse buttons are equally well-sized and their gun-metal finish matches the rest of the chassis.
All ports are located on the left and right-hand sides of the Toshiba Satellite A665-11Z's chassis, other than a 3-in-1 card reader fitted at the front. The right-hand side features two USB 2.0 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack, alongside the Toshiba's Blu-ray optical drive.
The left-hand side features HDMI and VGA-out ports, for connecting to external monitors and projectors, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port for high-speed fixed network connections. A third USB 2.0 port is also in place, fitted below a compact 34mm ExpressCard expansion slot.
Also fitted on the left-hand side of the Satellite A665-11Z's chassis is an eSATA port, allowing high-speed data transfers to compatible external hard drives. The connection also doubles as a USB 2.0 port, bringing the total of available USB ports to four, and features Toshiba's Sleep and Charge technology.
This charged port allows you to connect a USB-powered peripheral, such as an MP3 player, and recharge the battery even when the laptop is switched off.
Adding to the multimedia potential of the Toshiba Satellite A665-11Z is a set of stereo speakers from audio specialist Harman Kardon. Seen on many Toshiba laptops, including last year's Toshiba Qosmio G50 range, the speakers deliver an impressively warm and capable sound.
While audio quality of course cannot match a dedicated set of external speakers, they add an impressive depth of sound for games, movies and music.