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The $599 question: Is the Toshiba Satellite T235D-S1345 enough computer for the money?

The Toshiba Satellite T235D-S1345 is a solid, slim, and affordable 13-inch tweener laptop, but for a little over $200 more Toshiba makes another thin laptop that's even better.

The Portege R705 (left) has an optical drive; the Satellite T235D (right) doesn't.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Back when thin-and-light laptops were all the rage in 2009, a surprise contender for the most affordable thin 13-inch laptop came from Toshiba. The Satellite T135, an optical drive-free laptop with an Intel Pentium or AMD Neo dual-core CPU, managed to provide exactly the sort of computing power that most Netbooks lack. For everything from video streaming to general office work, it was more than adequate. It wasn't as cheap as a Netbook, but it wasn't as expensive as many thin laptops, either.

Toshiba's update, the Satellite T235, is much like its predecessor in many ways--perhaps in too many. We can't really fault it, though, since it remains one of the thinnest all-around affordable 13-inch laptops. However, at $599 for the AMD Turion II Neo dual-core powered T235D-S1345 ($569 on Toshiba's Web site with an instant savings option), it's the same price as many Intel Core i3 laptops.

More importantly, Toshiba itself provides a more expensive option that's worth serious consideration as an alternative. The $829 Toshiba Portege R705-P25 offers a lighter chassis, a Core i3 processor, and a DVD-burning optical drive. While the T235D-S1345 is an able portable, the Portege R705 is a machine that can truly be a primary computer. Yes, it's a sizable price leap, but the real point is that the computing landscape has changed considerably in the last eight months. The T235D isn't such an eye-opener anymore.

Read our review of the Toshiba Satellite T235D-S1345.