Some days, we almost miss Toshiba’s signature battleship gray notebook PCs—the latest look for the company’s long-running Satellite series is just a bit too much. After a few hours of use, our Satellite P305-S8825 was covered with fingerprints. And that was with clean paws! If you like snacking on Pringles while surfing the web, this rig will look as hygienic as the sneeze guard at a Baskin-Robbins after a class of third-graders has visited.
Unfortunately, the P305 is a lot like Las Vegas: glitzy on the outside but a bit cheesy on the inside. Forexample, this rig doesn’t sport Intel’s latest Montevina parts (aka the Centrino 2, with a faster 1,066MHz FSB Penryn chip). That’s to be expected since Montevina’s been delayed—but at the very least give us the last generation of Penryn. Instead, we get the aged 65nm Core 2 Duo T5600 at 1.86GHz.
Still, the Satellite has some nice touches. Its 17-inch glossy screen is gorgeous and bright. The 320GB hard drive is ample, and the unit’s USB ports are active when the notebook is in standby, so you can charge your phone or MP3 player without having to leave the notebook powered up. The nicest feature, though, may be the price. The Satellite costs just under $1,000, which takes some of the sting out of its shortcomings.
But while you may marvel at the amount of hardware—albeit old—that $1,000 gets you, the P305’s performance will leave you wanting. When compared to our Asus C90s zero-point notebook, as well as all the midrange notebooks we reviewed in our August issue, the Satellite didn’t win a single benchmark.
In fact, compared to the other notebooks in its price range, the P305 takes a solid pounding thanks to the 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo T5600 chip and its 667MHz front-side bus. Only the Asus F8Sn from last month’s roundup, with its even slower 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo T5450, loses to the Toshiba—and only in some benchmarks. Gaming on this rig is also pretty atrocious given its ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470. The card is certainly magnitudes better than integrated graphics, but you won’t be running any recent titles at the screen’s native 1440x900 resolution with the eye candy turned up.
Desktop replacement notebooks tend to be big, to support their large screens, and the look and feel of the P305 betray every inch of its bulk. But since desktop replacements rarely leave the desk, that probably won’t be an issue—a good thing, too, since the battery life is nothing to brag about. During our rundown test, we were able to watch about 90 minutes of our DVD before the battery pooped out. That’s comparable to the life we got from our Asus C90s with its desktop CPU and the wickedly fast and power-hungry Alienware Area-51 m15x. What’s the P305’s excuse?
Toshiba Satellite P305-S8825
Vibrant and bright screen; low price.
Horrible battery life and infested with bloatware.
Premiere Pro CS3
Our zero point notebook uses a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo E6700, 2GB of DDR2/667 RAM, an 80GB hard drive, a GeForce Go 8600M and Windows Vista Home Premium.