Toshiba Satellite A15-S127 (Celeron 2 GHz review: Toshiba Satellite A15-S127 (Celeron 2 GHz

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.0
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 5.0
  • Performance: 9.0
  • Battery life: 5.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Excellent performance; DVD/CD-RW drive is standard.

The Bad Heavy; so-so battery life; expensive compared to its competition.

The Bottom Line Aside from its speed, Toshiba’s mainstream Satellite A15 series is pricey for what you get. It’s adequate for home or school use but not for business.

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Review summary

Toshiba's Satellite A15 series excels in performance, besting other entry-level, mainstream notebooks, including the Dell Inspiron 1100 and the Compaq Presario 2100 . Unfortunately, little else about this series justifies its comparatively high pricing. The notebook weighs a hefty seven pounds, offers limited configuration choices, and it lasted slightly less than three hours in CNET Labs' battery-life tests . The Satellite A15 series may be adequate for students and home users, but even though its higher-end configurations include 802.11b wireless, we wouldn't recommend the A15 series to the small-business users that Toshiba also targets for this machine.

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The full-size keyboard feels firm and responsive.

Toshiba may intend the Satellite A15 series for consumers and small business, but to us, it screams home and school. Its sleek, metallic-blue design should appeal to teens and college students--at least until they take it to class. The Satellite A15 series' seven-pound travel weight, including AC adapter and cables, feels even heavier because of its bulk; it's 13 inches wide, 11.5 inches deep, and 1.5 inches thick. (To be fair, the Dell Inspiron 1100 weighs even more--eight pounds--because of its larger battery.) Despite the system's heft, it still contains only one fixed drive, but it's a nice one: a DVD/CD-RW combo. An external floppy drive costs $49 extra.

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The big touchpad, mouse buttons, and palm rest offer ample room for even the chubbiest of hands. The notebook makes room for one DVD/CD-RW combo drive.

The 15-inch display, with a native resolution of 1,024x768 pixels, isn't as bright or crisp as that in higher-end notebooks, though it's certainly adequate for most users. The firm, responsive, full-size keyboard is also user-friendly. We navigated just fine with the big touchpad and the mouse buttons. You can access many of the Satellite A15-series controls via a combination of keystrokes--typically Function plus another key. An indicator light goes on when you hit the Function key--a nice touch. The big palm rest should offer ample room even for big hands.

The speakers, mounted at the back of the keyboard, were surprisingly loud for a notebook. Unfortunately, they sound only marginally better than average. The external volume dial is good to have, though it might have been better placed above the keyboard instead of buried on the front edge of the notebook.
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Toshiba includes a wireless On/Off switch whether or not the system actually offers wireless.

The Satellite A15 series comes in two configurations. With the exception of the DVD/CD-RW combo drive, the entry-level, $999 Satellite A15-S127 is modest. It comes with a 2GHz Celeron processor, 256MB of RAM, and a 30GB, 4,200rpm hard disk. For $200 more, the Satellite A15-S157 offers slightly better specs, including a 2.2GHz Celeron processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 40GB, 4,200rpm hard disk. For graphics, the Satellite A15 series uses Intel's integrated 852GM controller, with 32MB of shared video memory.

Expansion is limited to a single PC Card slot and two USB 2.0 ports. In addition, you'll find both a V.92/56Kbps modem and an Ethernet port. Integrated 802.11b wireless networking comes standard on the Satellite A15-S157. Wireless is an extracost option on the Satellite A15-S127, but Toshiba still includes a wireless On/Off switch on the notebook, which could confuse entry-level users.

Both the Satellite A15-S127 and the Satellite A15-S157 ship with a decent bundle of software, including Windows XP Home Edition; Microsoft Works , Norton AntiVirus 2003 , and Intuit Quicken Basic 2003.You also get Toshiba's Notebook Maximizer software, which provides a snapshot of your system's resources and performance, along with some irritating shopping links on the right-hand side of the screen.
Mobile application performance
The Toshiba Satellite A15-S127 is the fastest Celeron-based notebook we've tested, easily beating out its two competitors. The Satellite A15-S127 houses a 2GHz mobile Celeron processor, while the Compaq Presario 2100 and the Dell Inspiron 1100 use 2GHz desktop Celeron processors. All three systems throttle down the CPU speed when running on battery power, but the Satellite A15-S127 does it to a much lesser extent, which helped its mobile performance.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 performance rating  
Toshiba Satellite A15-S127
131 
Dell Inspiron 1100
103 
Compaq Presario 2100
99 

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

Find out more about how we test notebooks.

System configurations:

Compaq Presario 2100
Windows XP Home; 2GHz Intel Celeron; 224MB SDRAM 133MHz; ATI Radeon IGP 340M 32MB (shared); Fujitsu MHS2030AT 30GB 4,200rpm

Dell Inspiron 1100
Windows XP Home; 2GHz Intel Celeron; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; Intel 82845G Graphics Controller 64MB; IBM Travelstar 30GN 30GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite A15-S127
Windows XP Home; 2GHz Intel Mobile Celeron; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; Intel 82852/82855/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB shared); Hitachi DK23EA-30 30GB 4,200rpm
The Toshiba Satellite A15-S127's battery life was the polar opposite of its performance, placing last in our small roundup of systems. Its 14.8V, 4,400mAh (65WHr) battery failed to carry the system past the three-hour mark, which means that you'll want to recharge the battery between classes or meetings. With its 14.8V, 4,400mAh (63WHr) battery, the Compaq Presario 2100 fared a bit better, lasting just more than three hours. The Dell Inspiron 1100, with its huge and heavy 14.8V, 6,450mAh (95WHr) battery, lasted four hours.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate longer battery life)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 battery life in minutes  
Dell Inspiron 1100
240 
Compaq Presario 2100
189 
Toshiba Satellite A15-S127
177 

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

Find out more about how we test notebooks.

System configurations:

Compaq Presario 2100
Windows XP Home; 2GHz Intel Celeron; 224MB SDRAM 133MHz; ATI Radeon IGP 340M 32MB (shared); Fujitsu MHS2030AT 30GB 4,200rpm

Dell Inspiron 1100
Windows XP Home; 2GHz Intel Celeron; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; Intel 82845G Graphics Controller 64MB; IBM Travelstar 30GN 30GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite A15-S127
Windows XP Home; 2GHz Intel Mobile Celeron; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; Intel 82852/82855/GME Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB shared); Hitachi DK23EA-30 30GB 4,200rpm
The entry-level Satellite A15 series offers a pedestrian one-year warranty for parts and labor and the battery. You also receive one year of 24/7, toll-free tech support. Three-year extensions, onsite repair, and next-business-day repair are available as upgrades.

The 260-page online manual is decent, and the online help documentation and supplementary printed materials fill in any holes. The Toshiba Web site offers all of the driver updates and the downloads you'd expect from a top-tier vendor. The Ask IRIS (Instant Response Information System) knowledge base is pretty hit-or-miss--returning as many irrelevant results as it did relevant ones.

To find out more about how this product's warranty really stacks up and what you should look for in terms of service and support, take a look at CNET's hardware warranty explainer.

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Where to Buy

Toshiba Satellite A15-S127 (Celeron 2 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 30 GB HDD)

Part Number: PSA10U-00RESV Released: Jun 17, 2003

MSRP: $1,049.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jun 17, 2003
  • Resolution 1024 x 768 ( XGA )
  • Installed Size 256 MB
  • Color Black
  • Weight 6.2 lbs
  • Optical Drive CD-RW / DVD-ROM combo - fixed
  • Graphics Processor Intel Extreme Graphics 2
  • CPU Intel Celeron 2 GHz