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Now the netbook craze is in full swing, there are thousands of people huddled over their miniature laptops, blind from squinting and riddled with arthritis, begging for something like the Toshiba Satellite T130 -- a 13-inch ultraportable that's light, cheap and comfortable to use.

It's also got the looks. Toshiba's added an attractive grey pattern to the glossy white plastic, which, when viewed in the right light, is oddly reminiscent of a waving chequered flag. Or the rash you get from the measles. Nasty, we know, but have a look at the pics and you'll see what we mean.

Inside, our the Satellite T130 uses some pretty pedestrian hardware. Our review sample shipped with an Intel Core 2 Solo U3500 running at 1.4GHz, plus 4GB of RAM, though you can also get it with a procrastinatotron 5000 Celeron 1.3GHz CPU and 2GB of RAM. The former runs fairly well (despite a painfully slow boot-up time) but we can't recommend the latter unless you have a low budget and even lower performance expectations.

One of our favourite things about the Satellite T130 so far is its usability. The entire unit is light at 1.7kg, and its 13.3-inch, 1,366x768-pixel display lives inside a chassis that's small enough to be very portable, yet large enough to be comfortable to use for long periods.

The keyboard, in particular, is worthy of praise, though the mouse trackpad is something of a disappointment. We're not sure if our sample was slightly broken, but it regularly became juddery and unresponsive. Striking it with an angry fist helped a little, so we suspect the flaw is mechanical and limited only to our press sample, but it's something we feel prospective buyers should be aware of.

Despite being a budget unit, the Satellite T130 comes with some cool extras we often don't associate with machines in its price bracket. Notably, it comes with Toshiba's Sleep & Charge feature, which can charge your USB devices even if the machine is not powered on -- though you may need to do some fiddling about in the accompanying software to get this to work with your particular device. You also get HDMI video output, face-recognition software for logging in, 802.11n Wi-FI, Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition, plus three USB ports, headphone and mic jacks and a three-in-one memory card reader.

On the whole, the Satellite T130 is an attractive machine. If you're after a machine that's a little more powerful and comfortable than your typical netbook, it could be £580 well spent.

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You've got to admit, the Satellite T130 is something of a looker. It doesn't have the cuteness factor of a netbook, but its 13.3-inch screen and comfortable keyboard makes it far easier to use over long periods of time.

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Toshiba's infused an odd, but strangely attractive chequered-style pattern to complement the glossy white plastic.

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The left of the T130 is home to an HDMI slot, which you can use to connect the laptop to a big-screen TV.

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The right has a memory card reader, mic and headphone audio jacks plus two USB ports that can be used to charge your USB devices -- even if the laptop isn't switched on.

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