In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
Toshiba Satellite P200 (PSPB6A-0CS04M)
- HDMI port, Harman Kardon speakers
- HD-DVD player is no longer supported with any future movie releases but still adds cost to this notebook; not a high-definition screen
It's a shame to have to minus points from this notebook because of the HD-DVD player, but its limited utility is unavoidable. Otherwise it's a powerful and functional desktop replacement with plenty of media features.
Price$ 2,999.00 (AUD)
Just weeks ago the Toshiba Satellite P200 (PSPB6A-0CS04M) would have been joining the ranks of high-end entertainment machines we've reviewed. Unfortunately, the recent withdrawal of Toshiba's HD-DVD technology from the high-definition format war has left a stain on the value of this otherwise excellent notebook.
With a large, 17in screen running a 1440x900 resolution, a set of top-quality Harman Kardon speakers, and of course an HD-DVD-ROM drive, the Toshiba Satellite P200 has a lot to offer in the entertainment space, but is limited by the small, residual availability for HD-DVD movies post Toshiba's withdrawal from the high-definition format race. Although there are still many HD-DVD titles available to purchase, there will be no more to come. Unfortunately, due to the massive investment Toshiba made in HD-DVD, and the cost of producing the hardware, there is, at present, no discount on these notebooks to make them more attractive. The drive will, of course, play DVD movies and burn DVD once-write and re-writeable discs as well as dual-layer DVDs.
Outside the optical drive issues the P200 has some fairly impressive hardware, including an Intel T7700 2.4GHz CPU with an 800MHz front side bus and a 4MB L2 cache, 2GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM, an ATI Mobility HD2600 graphics chip and a 320GB hard drive. It also offers some nice output options, such as HDMI, S-Video and D-Sub. Admittedly the HDMI port was probably included with the HD-DVD drive in mind, but it still allows this notebook to connect easily with home theatre systems and modern televisions.
On the entertainment side of things the P200 has plenty on offer. The Harman Kardon speakers have long been a high point of Toshiba's Satellite range and continue to be one of the leading notebook speakers among notebooks we test. The bass is reasonable and mid-high frequencies come out clear. They're good for watching movies and great for a little background music when doing your PC business.
Again, as with all Satellites from Toshiba, the dual-function touchpad is quite a handy little tool. In one mode it allows the user to use the touchpad as a curser control device. In the other it acts as a hotkey centre, with shortcuts to volume control, e-mail and Web browsing, but can also be programmed to open custom applications. Above the keyboard are a number of media shortcuts, such as play/pause, stop and skip track, which make media navigation easy.
The full sized keyboard will please gamers and number crunchers. The HD2600 graphics chip isn't a high-end card by any means, but it can handle DirectX 9 games at fairly high settings. In 3DMark 2006 it scored 3234, a good score for games like FEAR, but not enough to suggest newer games will run as well. Other benchmarks also faired well. In WorldBench 6 we got a score of 89, which is one of the higher scores we've seen from a notebook in this test and suggests it will safely run most commonly run applications, such as video and photo editing and the usual spout of Web surfing and word processing.
In our DVD run-down battery test we saw fairly impressive results. Although this notebook is larger and should consume more power with its larger screen, the battery test lasted longer than the average. Looping a DVD with the sound on drained the battery in 108min. As this is a worst-case scenario we expect the battery to last longer under normal usage conditions.
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