Toshiba Satellite L25 review: Toshiba Satellite L25

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2 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Low price; excellent keyboard; bright display.

The Bad Mediocre performance; very poor battery life; no external volume controls.

The Bottom Line The no-frills Satellite L25 offers the bare minimum for budget-conscious home users, but even at such a low price there are better options.

4.6 Overall
  • Design 5.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Battery life 3.0
  • Service and support 6.0

Toshiba Satellite L25

The $799 Toshiba Satellite L25 is a no-frills, no-thrills thin-and-light laptop that's adequate for basic tasks, including e-mail, word processing, and Web browsing. We weren't particularly impressed with its performance or battery, and we prefer the identically priced Acer TravelMate 2355LCi, which both outran and outlasted the Satellite L25 in our tests. If you can look past Acer's limited tech-support hours, the TravelMate 2355LCi is the better buy.

Weighing 5.7 pounds, the black-and-silver Toshiba Satellite L25 is a little heavier than the average thin-and-light laptop, and its measurements--13 inches wide, 10.6 inches deep, and 1.4 inch thick--are more in line with those of midsize-class machines, such as the Acer TravelMate 2355LCi and the HP Compaq nx6110. A 0.7-pound AC adapter brings the Toshiba Satellite L25's total weight to a manageable 6.4 pounds.

The Satellite L25's bright, 15-inch standard-aspect display, with a 1,024x768 native resolution, is a pleasure to view, though its glossy finish can result in annoying reflections, depending on the screen's angle and the ambient lighting. That said, the glossy finish delivers a more vibrant image than that of traditional displays, and DVD movies displayed particularly well from wide viewing angles.

The laptop's twin stereo speakers delivered adequate audio, though we had to turn the volume all the way up to hear it. As with many inexpensive laptops, headphones are your best bet for full sound fidelity. The Toshiba Satellite L25 lacks an external volume control; instead you must rely on the software controls in Windows as well as the particular multimedia applications you use to listen to CDs, MP3s, and DVDs.

The Satellite L25's keys are quiet and responsive, and they're comfortable to type on. The touch pad feels a bit cramped, however, and we wish it had a dedicated scroll zone. But we like Toshiba's nifty customizable Zooming Utility, which lets you open frequently used folders or launch programs by tapping the corners of the touch pad.

Housed in the Toshiba Satellite L25's nondescript case are all the ports and connections a basic user will need. There are three USB 2.0 ports, with two on the left side and one in the rear, as well as VGA and S-Video ports, headphone and microphone jacks, and a single Type II PC Card slot. For networking, there are modem and Ethernet ports and an integrated 802.11b/g adapter with a dedicated on/off switch. While that's all similar to the ports and the connections on the $799 Acer TravelMate 2355LCi and the $999 Toshiba Tecra A5, feature-hungry users should note that the $699 Compaq Presario V2000Z includes all of those plus a four-pin FireWire port and a flash card reader. Our Toshiba Satellite L25 unit had a CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive.

Designed more for individual users than corporate ones, the Toshiba Satellite L25 ships with Windows XP Home. Its software bundle includes the pared-down Microsoft Works 8 office suite, a full version of OneNote 2003 for taking and organizing notes, and the usual suspects of multimedia software, including InterVideo WinDVD 5 and some standard CD-burning apps.

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