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Toshiba Satellite L350 review: Toshiba Satellite L350

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Although hardly hi-fi, the sound quality of the two speakers that sit below the screen is acceptable enough for the usual Windows Vista noises and the odd music track or movie. One audio annoyance, however, is that the rotary volume control on the front of the laptop lacks end stops -- it just turns and turns and turns. Since there's no on-screen volume indicator either, this makes it tricky to know how loud the sound is set until you hear it.

Weak GPU
The 2.16GHz Pentium T3400 processor is one of Intel's budget mobile offerings, but it's still a dual-core chip. It managed to propel the L350-17P to a PCMark05 benchmark score of 4,161, which isn't too far behind what a Core 2 Duo CPU of a similar speed would achieve.

Sadly, the Intel GMA 4500M graphics chip isn't quite so capable. It runs Vista's translucent Aero theme perfectly well and can cope with graphically demanding tasks like editing high-resolution images, but a 3DMark06 score of 620 makes it wholly unsuited to 3D gaming, at least at anything remotely approaching the screen's native resolution.

The L350-17P isn't intended for use on the move. Nevertheless, its battery lasted for 1 hour in Battery Eater's intensive Classic test, and 2 hours and 40 minutes in the less intensive Reader's test. That's not bad, and you should get at least a couple of hours of Internet use out of the L350-17P away from the mains.

If you lack the space for a cheap desktop PC, the Toshiba Satellite L350-17P is a capable alternative with precious few compromises when it comes to usability. The only real weak spot is the under-powered 3D graphics chip, but, since that's only an issue for 3D games, it won't matter to everyone.

Edited by Charles Kloet

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