Toshiba Satellite Pro A300 (PSAGDA-00K00R)
Cheap, effective and drab.
- Value for money, great variety of expansion ports, good typing action
- Boring design, heavier than average
The Toshiba Satellite Pro A300 is a unit that sits comfortably between the entry-level and mid-range notebook categories, featuring an excellent range of expansion ports and decent performance when balanced against its price tag. What lets it down is the dull design.
Price$ 1,540.00 (AUD)
Toshiba’s Satellite Pro A300 is a rather drab-looking workhorse that will satisfy business users looking for a device that’s better than an entry-level laptop but cheaper than a mid-level unit.
We weren’t impressed with the A300’s identically designed cousin, the Satellite Pro P300 (PSPCDA-00L00D), because of its boring grey aesthetic and dearth of features relative to its price tag (particularly because Toshiba is the source of the excellent and attractive Satellite A300 (PSAG4A-02600M)).
Fortunately for Toshiba, many business users won’t mind their laptop having the complexion of an elephant and, cosmetics aside, this notebook offers decent performance and a great range of expansion options for a price that's much more competitive the Toshiba Satellite Pro P300's .
Opening the hood reveals a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 CPU and 2GB of DDR2 RAM, as well as a 200GB hard drive that spins at 5400rpm. While this isn’t much space for those looking to store lots of movies or play high-end games, business users who limit themselves to office functions should find the capacity adequate.
That’s not to say that the A300 lacks gaming performance, however, with the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 providing a 3DMark06 score of 3803. The result isn’t mind-blowing, but it certainly is refreshing for around $1500, and will allow for faster frame rates when playing games. Even though we all know office workers would never game at work [Yeah you were just testing that graphics card — Ed], this notebook will be able to handle older games like F.E.A.R. at middle to low settings. Newer games like Crysis will probably barely run.
More relevant to all types of users is the excellent keyboard, which is easy to use and has great key response. The touchpad lacks traction but has fairly responsive tracking along with a fingerprint scanner between the left- and right-click buttons for more convenient security.
The A300’s 15.4in screen, with its native resolution of 1280x800, is fairly good and has decent colour contrast. Using it in sunlight is bound to cause reflectivity problems, but then this is a widespread issue found in almost all brands of notebooks.
Most users won’t mind the lack of Blu-ray drive, especially given the low price of this device. The dual-layer DVD-RW that is provided should continue to be relevant for some time to come thanks to the relatively slow take-up of the next-gen format.
Thankfully the notebook offers great future-proofing in the form of expansion options. Older ports like D-sub and S-video out are provided, and there is a built-in dial-up modem, too. Sleep and charge USB 2.0 ports continue to be a Toshiba staple and four of them are present, with one of them doubling as an e-SATA connection. There is also a FireWire port, which is a useful addition, and it sits below an ExpressCard/54 slot. This slot is great for attaching a 3G data card or digital TV-tuner.
When put through its paces in our worst case scenario DVD rundown test, the Pro A300 survived for 1hr 30min, which is pretty much the average for a 15.4in notebook. The laptop is a little on the heavy side, coming in at 2.8kg without the power supply and 3.5kg with it included.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
- In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10
- Dell: Mainstream laptops with wireless charging are still years away
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTHead of ApplicationsVIC
- TPSoftware EngineerWA
- CCADABAS Natural DeveloperNSW
- CCAgile CoachNSW
- FTInfrastructure Security Compliance OfficerNSW
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC
- CCProject Manager - Adelaide basedVIC
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Developer with Strong SQL DevNSW
- CCTest Capability LeadNSW
- FTBI Developer l Microstrategy , HadoopNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - Regulatory/Compliance - BankingNSW
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC
- CCJunior Data ArchitectACT
- FTWeb Developer / Applications AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Learning Specialist - Global OrganisationQLD
- FTInfrastructure Solution ArchitectSA
- TPInstructional Designer | DETQLD
- FTWeb Developer/ReportsNSW
- FTJunior Software Engineer - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- TPBI & Report Developer (SQL Developer)QLD
- FTSAP BOBJ ConsultantACT
- TPChange and Communications CoordinatorQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTPart Time - IT Service Desk AnalystVIC