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Single-core CPUs and Windows 7 thin-and-lights shouldn't mix: Toshiba T135-S1300

The Toshiba T135-S1300 is a new Windows 7 thin-and-light, but that doesn't necessarily mean its innards are shiny and new.

Toshiba Satellite T135-S1300: single-core CPU inside. Sarah Tew/CNET

We have a bit of a beef with a trend that's currently happening in full-size (by that we mean 13-inch and above) thin-and-light laptops, the machines that as of late have shaved thickness at the expense of optical drives and often processor power. While the battery life on thin-and-lights generally exceeds expectations, the compromise that's often been used is incorporating a single-core ultra-low-voltage processor, which provides marginally better performance than the Atom processor on any Netbook.

Unfortunately, thin-and-lights are more expensive than Netbooks--often by several hundred dollars at the least--and other than increased screen size, they run the risk of not showing much extra value when going single-core. Even worse, it's hard for consumers to tell when their thin-and-light has a single-core or dual-core CPU inside. Thin-and-light laptops may look similar, but they're not all made the same. It's a deceptive world out there, especially since many thin-and-lights trade performance for a stylishly thin chassis, all while marketing a mainstream look that suggests performance equal to other notebooks.

The $599 Toshiba T135-S1300 is part of Toshiba's new T100 line of optical-drive-free thin-and-lights, losing thickness in exchange for a portable design competitive with products such as the Asus UL30A-A1 and the Acer Timeline 3810T. It's set to debut on October 22, when Windows 7 launches its way onto retail shelves and into PCs everywhere.

Unfortunately, while the design tries hard, it simply doesn't provide the power that its Windows 7-running, HDMI-port-toting countenance suggests. This is not a multimedia machine on a budget: rather, it's a slim but underpowered single-core 13.3-inch laptop.

That's not to say we aren't excited about Toshiba's long-term decision to slim down its laptops and enter the world of thin-and-lights, and in other configurations, the T100 series could provide better value. But right now, we were left a little in the cold.

Read the rest of our review of the Toshiba Satellite T135-S1300.