Toshiba's extensive laptop range spans from large desktop replacements to the lightest ultraportables. The Satellite U300-13V (£899 inc. VAT) fits in the middle. It's a reasonably small laptop, but provides power and portability without breaking the bank.
The 2.1kg chassis is ideal for frequent travellers. Build quality is strong, but the glossy lid scratches easily unless protected. The 187-minute battery life isn't great, but provides strong mobility. We found it could be extended to 209 minutes using Power Saver settings.
Despite the compact design, the keyboard spans the width of the chassis and provides excellent usability and a comfortable typing action. A panel of quick launch buttons allows easy control of multimedia files and instant access to your favourite applications.
The 13.3-inch screen is stunning. Brightness and colours are outstanding, and bring life to your photos, videos and even office work. The glossy Super TFT coating increases reflections though, so bear this in mind if you regularly work outdoors.
Predictably for such a small laptop, 3D performance is low. The integrated Intel GPU delivers power for home photo and simple video editing, but modern gaming is out of the question.
Home office performance is where the Toshiba excels. Its Intel Core 2 Duo processor and ample 2048MB of memory provide some impressive power.
All our test software ran flawlessly, and even complex multi-tasking was handled with ease.
The 200GB hard drive provides ample storage space for such a small laptop and is ideal for holding large quantities of office and multimedia files. You can save data to CD or DVD using the dual-layer DVD rewriter and to popular media card formats using the 6-in-1 card reader.
The integrated camera lets you add video to online messaging software and stay in touch with friends. You can take basic snapshots when out and about. The 1.3-megapixel resolution means quality is low, but more than adequate for basic use.
A key selling point for new users is the comprehensive software package. Tools for office use, internet security, CD/DVD creation and system configuration and maintenance tasks are all included, helping you get to work straightaway.
The Satellite U300-13V impresses on all counts. Its light weight, high performance, strong usability and stunning screen make it ideal for the mobile user on a budget, and the excellent software package is the icing on the cake.