Toshiba's Satellite Pro A300D may be one of the cheaper laptops among its peers, but it's far from outclassed.

With a 15.4-inch screen, it may not seem like the ideal choice for those looking for everyday portability, but a weight of 2.9kg is reasonable for short journeys. The display is a Super-TFT panel, and the colours it produced were sharp.

Comfortable keyboard

Graphics are handled by an integrated ATi Radeon Xpress 1250, which provides basic power for office applications, web-browsing or photo-editing. It's not suitable for more intensive 3D tasks, however.

There's a large and comfortable keyboard, and a coarse finish to the plastic used prevents the keys from becoming greasy under use. With a wide and responsive touchpad, and big mouse buttons, the A300D offers great usability.

Finished in gun-metal grey, with a mixture of curved edges and sharp lines, the Toshiba is a stylish, yet conservative machine. All of the materials felt sturdy to the touch, and remained cool at all times.

Speedy laptop

Toshiba has kept costs down through the use of a dual-core AMD processor. Although it can't match the Intel machines for sheer power, it proved a good compromise.

Running at 1.9GHz, the A300D coped well with most tasks. Only under intense use, with lots of applications running simultaneously, did it show signs of lag.

Gigabit Ethernet offers the fastest transfer speeds currently possible should you connect to a fixed network, and a comprehensive software suite includes McAfee Internet Security and Microsoft Works.

It may not match the most expensive laptops for power or features, but with great build quality the Satellite Pro A300D is a compelling choice for the business user on a budget.