Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6835 review: Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6835

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Stylish new design; charges USB devices, even when off; big hard drive.

The Bad Glossy finish attracts fingerprints; way too much bloatware; Sleep-and-Charge feature is turned off by default; slower AMD processor.

The Bottom Line Toshiba rolls out its new Satellite look to the basic 15-inch AMD-powered Satellite A305D, but others offer more for the same $999.

Editors' Top Picks

Toshiba's Satellite brand has long played second-fiddle to the company's excellent Qosmio multimedia systems. But the updated Satellite line has a whole new look and feel, with a shiny metallic sheen and a clever new Sleep-and-Charge feature, which lets you charge USB devices even if the laptop is powered off.

The $999 fixed-configuration 15-inch Satellite A305D is similar to the 13 and 14-inch Satellites we've looked at recently, but dressed down with an AMD processor to cut a few dollars from the price. We still like the new look and the Sleep-and-Charge feature, but we were able to configure a Dell Inspiron 1525 for less, even with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and that system at least offers configuration options for features such as Bluetooth and mobile broadband.

Price $999
Processor 2.2GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-64
Memory 3GB, 667MHz DDR2
Hard drive 320GB 5,400rpm
Chipset ATI RS690T
Operating System Windows Vista Premium
Dimensions (WDH) 14.3x10.5x1.5 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 15.4 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 6.2/7.0 pounds
Category Mainstream

The new Satellite look is certainly an improvement over previous versions, which have alternated between slate grey and bizarre red-and-black flamed designs. This new model is decked out what Toshiba calls a "Horizon" pattern in a "Fusion" finish, which basically means silver-gray and black pinstripes that combine for a distinct metallic sheen, also found on the new 13-inch Satellite U405 and the 14-inch Satellite M305.

The new finish is almost mirror-like, and even light handling will leave major fingerprints all over it. While we're used to having to watch out for fingerprints on a glossy laptop lid or wrist rest, this is the first time we can recall having to worry about fingerprints on the keyboard itself. The keys are made of an exceptionally glossy plastic, and the effect is almost distracting.

We liked that the touch pad is totally flush with the wrist rest--the Alienware m15x had a similar touch pad, but Toshiba does it better, using a different, matte surface material making it easier to discern the active area. The Alienware's touch pad was the same glossy material as the rest of the wrist rest, making it hard to use without looking at where your finger was.

Perhaps the most interesting new development, featured in all the new Toshiba Satellite models, is something called Sleep-and-Charge, which means you can plug in and charge USB devices (iPods, mobile phones, and so on) even if the laptop is in sleep or hibernate mode, or is powered off, as long as it's plugged into an outlet. Most laptops provide power to USB ports only while they're turned on. Note that this feature is turned off by default for no particularly good reason, and you'll have to hunt to find how to turn it on, as it's completely buried in a series of submenus. (Start > All Programs > Toshiba > Utilities > HWStup > USB).

The 15.4-inch wide-screen LCD display offers a 1,280x800 native resolution, which is fine for most 13-to-14-inch displays, but starts to feel cramped when you get to the 15-inch size. Sound from the stereo Harman Kardon speakers was surprisingly loud, but lacked low end--it's good for streaming TV shows, for example, but not great for music.

  Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6835 Average for category [thin-and-light]
Video VGA out, S-Video VGA-out, S-Video
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 2.0, mini FireWire, SD card reader 3 USB 2.0, mini FireWire, multiformat memory card reader
Expansion ExpressCard slot Type I/II PC Card or ExpressCard
Networking modem, Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi modem, Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

An issue we've noted across all the new Satellites is the excessive bloatware, trial software, and advertising links--more than we've seen in a long time. The desktop felt crowded, with icons pushing AutoBackup, Lojack for Laptops, QuickBooks, Skype, Napster, Vongo, multiple Microsoft Office come-ons, and more. We shouldn't have to spend an hour or so cleaning off our new laptop just to get the feel of a factory fresh installation. Fortunately for you, we have a handy video about ridding your PC of bloatware, so follow the instructions there and you can look forward to reclaiming a little hard-drive space, processing overhead, and consumer empowerment.

Editors' Top Picks

 

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Where to Buy See All

Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6835

Part Number: PSAH0U-00K007 Released: Apr. 15, 2008
Low Price: $7.50 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Apr. 15, 2008
  • Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Installed Size 3 GB
  • Weight 6 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM
  • Graphics Processor ATI Radeon X1250
  • CPU AMD Turion 64 X2 mobile technology TL-64 / 2.2 GHz
About The Author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.