The Toshiba Satellite Pro A300-2C5 (£525 inc. VAT) targets business users primarily. As such, you'll find a tough design and a laptop that's more than capable of handling the daily commute.
The no-nonsense gun-metal grey and black chassis is conservative, but also features a cohesive and simple design that's attractive and constructed to a high standard.
The 15.4-inch screen is a standard feature at this price. Some business users will object to the glossy Super-TFT coating, which results in increased reflections over a standard panel, but it's also a vivid and bright display. Images are crisp and there's enough space to view multiple documents without trouble.
Surprisingly, considering its corporate aspirations, this machine offers powerful 3D performance for the price. It's mid-range ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 graphics card is capable of handling office and media tasks with ease, and will even run older games in your spare time.
The dedicated GPU takes its toll when it comes to battery life, however, and the 171-minute life falls below the three-hour minimum we expect.
The keyboard is of a good size and offers exceptional comfort. Each of the keys are tapered at the edges, making it easy to type at speed, and all the keys are firmly attached. While responsive, it's also quite noisy, making a loud clicking noise each time a key is pressed. The smooth touchpad is large and responsive, proving ideal for long-term use.
Processing power is handled by a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, although it's slightly older than what you'll find in some similar laptops. Performance is good and, although bettered by some rivals, is more than capable when it comes to multi-tasking. The 250GB hard drive offers enough space for plenty of files, but isn't particularly noteworthy.
As with most business machines, networking is comprehensive; both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet are in place. Files can be backed up to blank DVDs and CDs using the DVD rewriter, and an eSATA interface also offers fast connections to external hard drives.
Unlike some rivals, Bluetooth is not provided for wireless connections to other devices. A 5-in-1 memory card reader rounds off the specification.
Overall, the Toshiba Satellite Pro A300- 2C5 is an impressive laptop. Offering a great mix of quality, comfort and performance, it's the ideal tool for busy professionals, with only a below-average battery life letting it down.
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