Toshiba Satellite P200

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Toshiba Satellite P200
  • Toshiba Satellite P200
  • Toshiba Satellite P200
  • Toshiba Satellite P200

Pros

  • Sturdy construction build, good battery life, large keyboard, lots of processing power.

Cons

  • No HDMI outputs, average GPU for a games machine.

Bottom Line

The Toshiba Satellite P200 is a solid workhorse of a machine with plenty of processing power under the hood. While it suits as an all-purpose desktop replacement model, hardcore gamers will be left hamstrung by its average GPU.

Would you buy this?

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The Satellite P200 is Toshiba's latest entry into the desktop replacement market. Despite touting itself as a 'go-anywhere' games machine, it isn't particularly suited to mobile use or high-end gaming. Nevertheless, it performs solidly and should appeal to home users with a casual interest in gaming.

The P200 is encased in glossy dark blue plastic with the Toshiba brand name emblazoned across the front lid. It's unlikely to turn many heads, although fans of simplicity will appreciate the minimalist design. Things are slightly classier in the interior, with a large keyboard finished in unburnished silver and an assortment of LED lights. The Satellite logo resides on the notebook's front lip in glowing neon blue - a slightly garish additional touch.

We found the plus-sized keyboard to be an enjoyable extravagance, with its wide, tactile keys tailor-made for fast typing. The enlarged numeric keypad is particularly noteworthy, especially if you're into mouse-and-keyboard gaming. We were equally impressed with the notebook's touchpad, which doubles as a quick-launch area for firing up your favourite applications. (The touch-sensitive buttons are helpfully highlighted with specific glowing icons, including volume control.)

Another curious design feature of the P200 is the extra sturdy hinge that runs across its back. While we appreciate the extra reinforcement this offers, it comes at the expense of rear-mounted ports, of which there are none. In fact, connections are pretty sparse all round, with a distinct lack of digital outputs, including HDMI. This limits the P200's usefulness as a portable media centre.

Other noteworthy features include a 6-in-1 card reader, Firewire support, 10/100 Ethernet, a built in 1.3 Megapixel webcam and Wireless Internet 802.11-n. In addition, Toshiba's patented ConfigFree utility is designed for hassle-free connection to wireless networks, making it an ideal choice for any technophobes out there.

Although it weighs in at a relatively portable 3.3kg, the Satellite P200 is pretty hard to mistake for a mobile laptop. Its dimensions of 394mm x 275mm x 41.9mm make it an imposingly large machine that requires quite a bit of effort to lug around. Naturally, one of the advantages of this hefty size is the impressive 17 inch WXGA display. With a resolution of 1440 x 900, the screen is more than capable of producing exceptional visuals with sharply defined, well-saturated colours. We did find, however, that the highly reflective surface creates clarity issues in brightly lit areas. As we have come to expect from Harman/Kardon speakers, the sound quality of the Satellite P200 is superb. Even at lower volumes, the audio remained crisp and reasonably robust during DVD and MP3 playback.

In terms of raw processing power, the Satellite P200 performed admirably well. In our WorldBench 6 test, which assesses a notebook's ability to run a series of demanding applications, it received an overall score of 80, which is a solid result for a notebook of any caliber. In our MP3 encoding test, the P200 took two minutes and nine seconds to convert 53 minutes worth of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3s - again, a fair result. No doubt the machine's impressive performance is down to its T7400 Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 2GB of included RAM.

Unfortunately, these powerful specs are not backed up by an equally proficient graphics card. Instead, the notebook is fitted with a nVidia GeForce Go 7600, which is a mid-range GPU. This explains the average score in 3DMark06 of 2196. While it should play the majority of games smoothly and proficiently, the P200 will struggle to run the latest graphics-intensive titles, particularly at higher settings. This is a significant system oversight when you consider the P200 has been specifically geared towards gamers. However, the average user should find plenty to love about this notebook's capabilities, which will run the majority of applications without a hitch.

In our final performance test, we ran down the P200's battery by playing a DVD on a continuous loop. This test accurately assesses a notebook's battery life in a worst-case scenario by working the CPU, DVD drive, screen and speakers simultaneously. The notebook shut down after one hour and twenty-seven minutes of continuous play, which will just barely get you through a feature-length movie. As desktop replacements go, this is quite an impressive result.

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