Toshiba Satellite Pro P100 (PSPAEA-00G00D)
- Big screen, above average graphics card
- A little sluggish in our encoding test
Not built for those constantly on the road, the Pro P100 is nonetheless a great desktop replacement. The big screen combined with impressive graphics capabilities make it a great all purpose unit for business users who also want some entertainment options.
Price$ 3,300.00 (AUD)
Sporting a large 17in screen and reasonably strong specifications, Toshiba's latest Satellite notebook, the Pro P100, offers consumers a powerful business machine that can also fulfill several other more entertainment oriented roles. The graphics card, large screen and high capacity hard drive ensure it has plenty to offer in this regard, while the pre-installed Windows Vista Business Edition and biometric security features will appeal to business users.
The P100 runs a 2.0GHz T7200 Intel Core 2 Duo processor, with 1GB of DDR2 RAM and an NVIDIA Go 7600 graphics card. It runs Windows Vista, which currently doesn't support a lot of our benchmark programs; however our experience during testing was positive. With these specifications we'd expect it to be able to handle all basic desktop tasks and we were quickly proven correct. Office and desktop publish programs ran smoothly and performance was more than adequate for business use.
However, in our encoding test, which converts 53 minutes of WAV files to 192kb MP3s, the P100 performed a little below par, taking 2min 23s. This isn't a terrible time, but it is a little slower than we anticipated.
When it comes to gaming we were expecting better performance from the Pro P100, and the included 7600 graphics card didn't let us down. We were able to run most new games, although with somewhat reduced settings. We ran the F.E.A.R in-game benchmark at 1280 x 960 with 4x AA and 16x AF, which is still one of the most demanding tests available, and achieved mediocre results, with a minimum frame rate of 5, an average of 13 and a high point of 33. At this level, the game really wasn't playable, and so while this machine will handle most new titles, if you're a hardcore gamer you'll need to look elsewhere.
Another factor of interest for gamers and move buffs alike is the large, 17in widescreen. Running at a resolution of 1650x1080, this lovely display is vibrant and sharp with good contrast and brightness levels. During gaming and media tests it performed very well, showing rich blacks and very little ghosting, and it is also suitable for day to day office tasks.
Also of note for entertainment gurus are the included Harman Kardon speakers. A now common feature on high end Toshiba notebooks, these speakers offer sound quality far beyond that of the vast majority of other notebooks on the market. While we still prefer headphones for privacy and immersion, these speakers more than adequately do the job. They provide a relatively well balanced sound, with good bass extension and reasonable detail. Most importantly, they avoid sounding tinny like most notebook speakers.
The Pro P100 is quite well specified in terms of storage, with a large 200GB, 4200RPM hard drive, a five-in-one card reader and a Dual Layer DVD writer. Connectivity is supported in the form of Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g wireless and Bluetooth 2.0. There are four USB 2.0 ports for external devices, as well as VGA, S-Video and DVI-D for monitor connection. The Type II PC Card slot and Express card slot round out the rather robust list of connectivity options. There is also a fingerprint reader, which should please business users.
Aesthetically the Pro P1000 is quite impressive, with a gunmetal chassis opening to reveal a matte black and silver interior. As it is a 17in model, users get a full size QWERTY keyboard, complete with a numpad. The scissor keys are well mounted and comfortable to use and combined with the spacious layout, make long typing sessions a breeze. There are also a string of media keys along the top along with the power button and two short cut keys for Internet Explorer and Media Player.
Of course, all these features come with a cost. This is a fairly hefty unit, measuring 94mm x 275mm x 29.8mm and weighing 3.3kg. The Pro P100 certainly isn't designed as a companion to those constantly on the road. As a mobile desktop replacement it serves admirably, but if you regularly find yourself working on cramped public transport or long haul flights, this isn't the unit for you.
Overall though, the P100 is another strong performer from Toshiba. While it wasn't quite up to standard in the encoding test, its combination of strong overall performance, above average gaming power, a large screen and the Harman Kardon speakers, make it a great all-round choice for those after a notebook to do a bit of everything.
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