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Toshiba Satellite L300 (Celeron 2GHz, 1GB RAM) review: Toshiba Satellite L300 (Celeron 2GHz, 1GB RAM)

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The Good Basic feature set at a basic price. Good screen.

The Bad A bit heavy. Base model includes Vista Home Basic — best to upgrade to Vista Home Premium.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba Satellite L300 is the perfect budget laptop — simply designed and passable in performance.

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8.0 Overall

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The best way to describe Toshiba's Satellite L300 is basic. It's a straightforward two-tone laptop in silver and black, and doesn't pretend to be "personalised" to your needs. There's no mess of multimedia buttons either, or a fingerprint scanner. In fact it's so basic, that it even comes with Windows Vista Home Basic — a huge blight which can fortunately be updated to Home Premium, and we suggest you take this path. The more audacious among you, we're sure, will order the machine with Home Basic, then nuke it and install Ubuntu.

A matte black keyboard sits nestled in a silver base, and a black trim above that houses the speakers and power button. The exhaust vent is on the left-hand side, so if you're a lefty and use an external mouse your hand could get a nice blast of hot air every now and then. And really, that's it.

The standards are all here — a webcam at the top of the 15.4-inch, 1,280 by 800 screen; modem port on the back; SD card reader, wireless on/off switch, headphone and microphone jack, and volume dial at the front; USB port and DVD drive on the right; and two USB ports, an Ethernet port, VGA out and ancient PCMCIA card on the left. The L300 is clearly targeted at those who don't update their laptop that often, and are working off a budget.

Internally, it's just as functional and unexciting — a single core Intel Celeron 550 runs at 2GHz, 1GB of RAM will get you by, the Intel GMA X3100 is workable and the 120GB hard drive passes muster. Make no bones about it, this is not a performance machine. But for AU$949 it's really hard to complain — the specs and price makes this the perfect cheap office or Internet machine.

These scores were never going to impress — 3DMark06 pulled in a dismal 270 (around a tenth of a moderate gaming score), PCMark05 a passable but lacklustre 2430. The battery life situation was a bit better, with all power saving features turned off and screen brightness set to maximum, playback of a DVD lasted one hour, 24 minutes and 48 seconds — still a bit of a disappointment considering the low-spec hardware, but definitely within acceptable limits.

This may all sound like a bit of a downer, but to be honest, the L300 is just perfect for what it is — a simple budget 15.4-inch laptop. It will no doubt be the perfect upgrade to those who are feeling a bit cash-strapped or just need to get through uni.

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