The 17.3-inch Toshiba Satellite P770 certainly won't win the 'most fashionable laptop' award, but you may still be able to impress other geeks with its decent performance and ability to handle gaming.
Our model, the P770-109, packs a 2.3GHz, dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, and 6GB of RAM. It will set you back around £730.
The P770 looks like a fairly unassuming piece of kit, wrapped entirely in black plastic. If bright colours and fancy swirls are your thing, move along -- this guy is as colourful as a lump of charcoal.
The lid has a weird texture to it -- we think it's meant to be a wood-grain effect, but we're not sure. It's not totally horrible, though, and it makes an otherwise incredibly boring-looking laptop slightly more interesting.
The P770 certainly isn't pretty but it looks just about smart enough for a boardroom. It's definitely more suited to being slid out of a briefcase than a colourful tote bag.
The shell isn't the sturdiest we've ever encountered. We held it in our arms -- like a baby -- and thoroughly poked it all over -- not like a baby -- and found a fair amount of flex in the lid and keyboard. The P770 seems to be made from cheap materials. We wouldn't trust it to survive for long on a rough-and-tumble road trip.
With a 17.3-inch screen and weighing around 3kg, the P770 isn't the sort of chap you're going to want to carry around all day. It doesn't feel too bulky slung in a bag over your shoulder, but it's not slight enough to whip out in a cafe or on a bus -- not without intruding on the lap space of the old dear sat next to you, busily unwrapping her toffees.
Keyboard and trackpad
Inside the laptop, you'll find an isolated keyboard. It's comfortable to type on, even talking into account the significant flex. The plastic base plate around the keys is separate to the rest of the body and doesn't connect as well as we'd like. It's not a massive issue and probably not one you'd even notice that much, but it does indicate that the build quality of this laptop is some way short of seamless.
The trackpad is pretty big, and its rough coating makes sliding your finger around easy. There's a handy button just above the trackpad that lets you turn it off if you find yourself accidentally brushing over it and moving the cursor when typing long documents. The buttons are fairly chubby, which makes them easy to press.
The screen is a great size for watching movies and TV shows on. It's pleasingly bright too, although it doesn't handle deep blacks as well as other screens we've laid our eyeballs on. And, while it displays high-definition content well, the resolution of 1,600x900 pixels isn't quite 1,080p quality.
We're disappointed not to see a Blu-ray drive, as there's an HDMI port for hooking the laptop up to a TV. It seems like a stingy move by Toshiba, especially considering the £730 price tag.
Toshiba hasn't been quite as stingy on the storage front, though, offering a 640GB hard drive. Naturally, we'd prefer a 1TB drive, but it's still better than the 500GB hard drive offered on similar models.