Toshiba's Satellite P25 series, featuring a 17-inch display, is too large and heavy for frequent business travel. But if you're looking to fit the capabilities of both a desktop PC and a boatload of multimedia gear into a small space, it may be the answer to your prayers. The model we tested--sporting a TV tuner module and a DVD-rewritable drive--proved an excellent performer and a superb convergence portable. (Toshiba is now selling this notebook with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004.) It has design faux pas, such as overly bright power and status lights that distracted us when watching movies; nevertheless, for dorm rooms, apartments, and RVs, the Satellite P25 series is an excellent space-saving alternative to the traditional computer/multimedia setup.
At 16.4 by 11.8 by 1.8 inches (W, D, H), the Satellite P25 series could almost pass for a small surfboard, but it's not as heavy as you'd think--only 8.9 pounds (10.4 pounds including the AC adapter). Styled in Toshiba's familiar metallic blue, the Satellite P25 series is handsome on the outside. Flip it open, and it's still attractive, but the silver-and-white color scheme for the keyboard deck draws your attention away from the screen when you're watching movies. So do the overly bright power switch and front-lip status lights, which we wound up covering for serious DVD watching. What's not distracting is the keyboard itself, which has no undersized keys and a nice, tight feel.
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|The keyboard has a nice, tight feel.|
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|The status lights are overly bright, which distracts from the screen.|
Satellite P25 series notebooks come with all the standard ports and slots: four USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, VGA out, parallel, S-Video, 56K modem, 10/100 Ethernet, line out, microphone, headphone, and IrDA, plus a dual Type II PC Card and one SD card slot. The Satellite P25-S607 model includes a TV-tuner module, installed in one of the two front-facing modular bays. Jacks for a cable hookup and composite video in both require the included adapter cables. Unfortunately, because the notebook's battery and DVD-rewritable drive also use the modular bays, one or the other has to go to make room for the TV tuner.
The Satellite P25's large case has plenty of room for a subwoofer, such as the one in the company's Satellite 5205-S705 model, but the P25 doesn't actually have one. While the sound fidelity and volume are above average, there's not enough bass.
Until recently, Toshiba sold three versions of the Satellite P25 series. The company now promotes just one version, the P25-S609, although we tested the P25-S607, which can still be found in some stores. The P25-S609 features Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004; a 17-inch wide-screen display with a 1,440x900 native resolution; a 5,400rpm, 60GB hard drive; a DVD-RAM/DVD-R/DVD-RW/CD-RW drive; and an Nvidia GeForce FX Go5200 GPU. It also comes with integrated 802.11 a/b wireless networking.
Our Satellite P25-S607 test model also included an infrared remote control. However, it works only with the included outboard USB infrared port, not the built-in front-mounted IrDA port--an annoying design issue that Toshiba should address.
For productivity and to support the Satellite P25 series' numerous multimedia capabilities, Toshiba includes a large software bundle:for business tasks, Panasonic MotionDV Studio for video editing, Intuit Quicken Basic to handle personal finances, Norton AntiVirus 2002, and a month's worth of AT&T Worldnet dial-up Internet service. The S607 model includes for movie authoring and burning. Toshiba also included several useful configuration and help utilities.
Mobile application performance
The Satellite P25-S607 finished way ahead in mobile performance in this small test group. The system has been configured so that its desktop processor throttles minimally, allowing it to score higher than its competitors. (We test each Toshiba notebook with Toshiba's Power Saver utility enabled. Power Saver regulates how fast the processor runs; the utility is configured differently for each Toshiba notebook.) The and Fujitsu LifeBook N series' CPU throttling is configured in each system's BIOS; as you can see from the scores, their CPUs throttle a lot lower than the Satellite P25-S607's does. The Eurocom D47W's moderate throttling keeps its mobile score at about midrange. The Fujitsu LifeBook N series throttles its CPU the most, thus its performance drags.
Mobile application performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
The Satellite P25-S607 came out on top again, this time in maximum performance, beating its nearest competitor, the Eurocom D470W Impressa by 10 points. The Satellite P25-S607 did its most impressive work in office productivity, where it beat the Eurocom D470W by 12 points. This is not surprising, because the office-productivity test taxes the hard drive, and the Satellite P25-S607's 5,400rpm hard drive is faster than the Eurocom's.
Maximum application performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
To measure maximum notebook application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark2002, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).
3D graphics performance
The Satellite P25-S607 placed second in our 3D graphics performance test. This was surprising, considering the system includes a powerful Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 64MB graphics adapter. The problem is that our 3D benchmark test, 3DMark2001 Pro SE, tests DirectX 8.1 performance. The Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 64MB, a DirectX 9.0 native, would most likely do much better in a DirectX 9.0 environment.
3D graphics performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
To measure 3D graphics performance, CNET Labs uses Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE. We use 3DMark to measure desktop-replacement notebook performance with the DirectX 8.1 interface at the 32-bit color setting at a resolution of 1,024x768.
Find out more about how we test notebooks.System configurations:
Eurocom D470W Impressa
Windows XP Professional; 3.06GHz Intel Pentium 4; 1024MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 64MB; Fujitsu MHS2030AT 30GB 4,200rpm