With a compact and comfortable design, Toshiba's Satellite Pro U300 (£739 inc. VAT) represents excellent value for money.

The 13.3-inch screen helps to keep weight to a portable 2.1kg. A resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels means you'll have no trouble viewing two documents side by side, despite the compact display.

Vivid colour reproduction means this laptop is as good when editing photographs as it is working with spreadsheets.

The glossy Super-TFT coating that helps to provide vibrancy isn't an ideal choice for a mobile machine, however, and reflections when used on the road mean you may be better off with a standard matt panel.

Capable and comfortable laptop

We had no trouble running office applications or browsing the internet, and DVDs also ran without problems, thanks to the integrated Intel GMA X3100 graphics card.

It's not a powerful solution, so you won't be able to play games, but it is easier to pack into the small chassis, and didn't heat up after long periods of use.

The metallic grey and matt-black plastics give a distinctive and stylish design, and rounded edges help this laptop to slip into most laptop bags with ease.

Although the chassis is quite narrow, the keyboard is large and comfortable to work on.

Lacking in features

Although firmly attached, we did notice the keys vibrate slightly when typing. The touchpad isn't as large as we'd like, but its aspect ratio mirrors the screen, making it easy to navigate accurately.

The U300 lags behind some of its rivals when it comes to features, especially if you want to hook up an external display. There's a VGA-out port for older screens or projectors, but no support for digital connections.

A 6-in-1 media card reader lets you transfer files easily to and from your smartphone, PDA or digital camera, and there's also a tri-format DVD rewriter for backing up your files.

First-time users will appreciate the comprehensive software suite, including anti-virus and DVD-burning applications.

Powerful machine

Most surprising for a machine of this size is the power it has to offer. There's a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 processor in place, and its inclusion means the Toshiba is able to handle most tasks with ease.

The 160GB hard drive is spacious, offering enough storage for plenty of music, videos or photographs.

With an impressive screen, comfortable controls and excellent performance and mobility, it's difficult not to like the Satellite Pro U300.