Toshiba's Satellite Pro A100-622 (£400 inc. VAT) shares its chassis with more expensive Toshiba machines, meaning you'll find sturdy materials, a large keyboard and good mobility.
The 15.4-inch display offers plenty of space for your documents. It's a standard TFT panel, so it doesn't reveal fingerprints or reflect in direct sunlight. However, although images are adequate, it's not a very vibrant screen.
The graphics card is integrated, making it best suited to running simple applications such as office suites or playing DVDs. It's capable of simple games such as solitare, but you won't be able to run applications with powerful 3D graphics.
The A100 has a large keyboard and, with softly sprung keys, it's comfortable to type on. However, the board itself is flexible, and doesn't feel as strong as the others on test. Media buttons to the right of the keyboard make it easy to control movies and CDs at the touch of a button, but this addition means the keyboard has been offset to the right to accommodate them.
The touchpad is responsive, although its near-square shape is a strange choice, considering the widescreen aspect ratio of the display. The chassis is very sturdy, using strong materials. The edge of the screen-surround is curved, helping to prevent items from dropping between the display and keyboard when travelling.
At 2.8kg, it's similar in weight to other machines in this class and offers a degree of portability. We found it easy to carry for short journeys, and its battery life of around two-and-a-half hours is average.
You'll find an Intel Celeron processor within the chassis, which is a budget solution. In day-to-day use we noticed a slight lag when running more than one application at the same time.
However, this machine runs Windows Vista quite convincingly, starting and shutting down in a considerably short time. This is thanks to 1024MB of memory. The 80GB hard drive is average, and offers plenty of space for your documents and media files.
The features list is average, such as the multi-format DVD rewriter which lets you copy files to DVDs. There's also a 3-in-1 card reader, compatible with SD, XD and Sony Memory Stick cards. If your digital camera or handheld uses any of these, you'll be able to transfer files with ease.
There are better machines at this price, but the Toshiba Satellite Pro A100-622 is a good all-round laptop. Coming in at just £400, it's worth considering if you're on a budget.