The Toshiba Satellite A65-S126 is a budget laptop through and through--it costs only $999 (as of October 2004), but it's a weak performer and delivers insufficient battery life. It's not without virtues, however. The Satellite A65-S126 features a nice 15-inch display, a decent 60GB hard drive, a DVD/CD-RW drive, and an integrated 802.11b/g wireless mini-PCI card. These specs are superior to those of similarly priced rivals, such as the Dell Inspiron 1150, though that system trounced the A65-S126 in CNET Labs' tests. It all boils down to your computing habits: for light word processing, Web surfing, and e-mailing, the Satellite A65-126 will get the job done; anything beyond that, including games and other graphics-intensive tasks, will require a faster laptop.
Mostly silver and black, the Satellite A65-S126 has a royal blue lid that strikes us as an afterthought. It measures a modest 13.5 inches wide by 11.1 inches deep by 2.1 inches high, and it weighs 7.1 pounds--about average for this category of laptop. There's enough room for a wide keyboard, but the full-size touch pad features inexplicably small mouse buttons. The 15-inch screen is a good size, but its relatively low, 1,024x768 native resolution won't display graphics with exceptional detail. In addition to one Type II PC Card slot, the Satellite A65-S126 offers a number of connections including parallel, S-Video out, and three USB 2.0 ports, among others. One final design highlight: a handy on/off switch for the integrated 802.11b/g Wi-Fi card, which helps preserve battery power when you're not using wireless.
CNET Labs tested a Satellite A65-S126 equipped with a 2.8GHz desktop Celeron processor, a scant 256MB of slow 266MHz SDRAM, and a low-end ATI Mobility Radeon 7000 graphics chip, which steals up to 64MB of video memory from main RAM. On the whole, none of these components is particularly good, and the system finished far behind other mainstream notebooks, such as the Dell Inspiron 1150 and the Sony VAIO K series. Both the Inspiron 1150 and the VAIO K series also surpassed the Satellite A65-S126 in our Labs' battery-drain tests, lasting a respective 365 and 144 minutes to the Toshiba's exceptionally brief 128 minutes.
Toshiba backs the Satellite A65-S126 with an industry-standard notebook warranty: one year of free parts and labor. The company offers dozens of warranty extension options, including accidental-damage coverage, onsite service, and even computer theft insurance, for various prices up to $519. Toshiba's support Web site is a mixed bag; its helpful laptop computing forum (sponsored by CompuServe) lets you ask other users for advice, but its Ask Iris knowledge base is a frustrating hodgepodge of laptop questions and answers not specific to any particular model.
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|