Toshiba Satellite A200 (PSAF6A-07G01N)
- Sturdy construction build, Harman Kardon speakers, performed solidly in all areas
- The workmanlike design is unlikely to appeal to fashion aficionados
The Toshiba Satellite A200 is a solid workhorse of a machine with plenty of processing power under its hood. Without question, it's the best A200 we have tested to date.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
Toshiba has been churning out Satellite A200 notebooks at an alarmingly prodigious rate, with no fewer than 12 models currently on the market. This latest cab off the rank attempts to outdo the majority of its siblings with a host of upgraded specs. Otherwise, it sports the same basic design and feature set as the last iteration we looked at (Satellite A200 (PSAFCA-01K009J)). All up, we found the A200 (PSAF6A-07G01N) to be an impressive performer, offering solid results across the majority of our benchmarks. It is particularly suited to multimedia enthusiasts; especially those with a penchant for rockin' audio.
In terms of appearance, the A200 (PSAF6A-07G01N) is more or less identical to other Satellite notebooks; which is to say it's quite plain. Encased in dark blue plastic with the Toshiba brand name dominating the front lid, it certainly won't turn many heads when it comes to style. On the other hand, conservative users are bound to appreciate the 'swank-free' design, which makes a refreshing change from the glut of try-hard models currently filling the market. Things get slightly classier within the A200's interior, with a large, tactile keyboard finished in unburnished silver and an assortment of LED lights. Once again, the Satellite logo resides on the notebook's front lip in glowing neon blue. (Personally we found this to be at odds with the notebook's elegant simplicity, but it remains a minor quibble.)
Though it might look identical to the Satellite A200 (PSAFCA-01K009J), the A200 (PSAF6A-07G01N) sports an entirely new array of components which put it head and shoulders above its predecessor. These include an Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 2.00GHz CPU, 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM, and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 graphics chip. Other built-in goodies include a pair of high-quality Harman Kardon speakers, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, a 5-in-1 card reader, a DVD re-writer and a fingerprint reader. It also sports a 15.4in widescreen display with a native resolution of 1280x800.
By today's standards, a notebook resolution of 1280x800 can almost be considered mediocre, but the screen is nevertheless capable of producing sharp, well-saturated visuals. Viewing angles were equally impressive, with next-to-no reflection issues; even beneath bright lights. As you would expect from a pair of Harman/Kardon speakers, the sound quality of the Satellite A200 is superb, with audio remaining crisp and robust in all but the noisiest of environments.
When it came to raw processing power, the Satellite A200 (PSAF6A-07G01N) performed exceptionally well for a notebook in this calibre. In our WorldBench 6 test, which assesses a notebook's ability to run a series of demanding applications, it received an overall score of 77. Likewise, its score of 3099 in 3Dmark 06 should see most current gaming titles run at a respectable pace (provided you don't max out the settings). Overall, these results indicate that the A200 should handle everyday tasks without significant slowdown, including Web surfing, word processing, photo editing, and some gaming.
In our final performance test, we ran down the A200'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 11 minutes of continuous play; an improvement of 14 minutes over the previous A200 we tested. While it won't get you through a feature-length movie, this is still a decent result for a notebook of its class; especially when you take its power-sapping Harman Kardon speakers into consideration.
For connectivity, the A200 comes equipped with four USB 2.0 ports, VGA and S-Video, FireWire, the aforementioned card reader and an Express Card slot. A 56Kbps modem is also installed.
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Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
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I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
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