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Toshiba Satellite T135 review: Toshiba Satellite T135

Toshiba Satellite T135

Scott Stein
Scott Stein Editor at Large

I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets.

6 min read

When Toshiba announced the Satellite T135 series, its line of thin-and-light ultraportable laptops last year, we were immediately interested for two reasons: performance and price. In a world of Netbooks toting endlessly similar Atom processors, having a higher-powered dual-core processor such as the U4100 in the T135-S1310 made a big difference in the amount of productivity we could expect in a slim laptop with strong battery life. Though the Satellite T135 line is not supercompact with its 13-inch screen, it is light, easy to carry, and offers a good value for those looking for a more fully featured ready-to-go machine than what many Netbooks offer.


Toshiba Satellite T135

The Good

Better-than-Netbook performance and a 13-inch screen for only $599; lightweight chassis.

The Bad

Weak speakers; keyboard and touch pad get hot during prolonged use; dual-core AMD Neo processor doesn't provide any step up from the Intel processors in previous versions.

The Bottom Line

Toshiba's lightweight and affordable thin-and-light T135 series shaves another hundred off its price by switching to an AMD Neo processor in the T135D-S1324, while offering only slightly diminished performance.

Toshiba has since added AMD Turion Neo X2 processors to its T135 lineup, and the net effect is a price reduction of about $100 off the already reasonable cost of the T135-S1310 configured with an Intel U4100 processor. Paired with additional ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 graphics, the T135D-S1324 even adds some moderate gaming possibilities. The overall performance of the T135D-S1324 is slightly reduced from the T135-S1310, but this model is worth looking into for those who wouldn't mind saving a little more money on a thin-and-light Netbook without sacrificing very much.

Price as reviewed $599
Processor 1.6GHz AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-Core L625
Memory 4GB, 800 MHz DDR2
Hard drive 320GB 5,400rpm
Chipset RS780
Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium
Dimensions (WD) 12.7x8.8 inches
Height 1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 3.7/4.5 pounds
Category Thin and light

At a glance, the T135D and the rest of the T135 series share several design similarities to the rest of the Toshiba Satellite lineup, although they are markedly different from the Satellite NB line of Netbooks. Covered inside and out in a glossy checkerboard-esque Fusion Finish in black, red, or white, the T135D is accented with slick chrome highlights along the edge of its palm rest and on its touch pad buttons. Aside from a large "Toshiba" logo across the back, the design is understated from a distance and presents a trim profile with a battery that's well integrated into the bottom, with minimal bulge.

Inside, the glossy treatment continues around the keyboard and screen, just like every other T135 model we've reviewed. In fact, the build is identical: light, with a lot of plastic and a lid that flexes a little at the base. Having seen so many T135s (and the 11-inch T115-S1105) at this point, our opinions have crystallized to the following: strong profile, slightly mushy keyboard, touch pad a bit too small, button beneath hard to press and awkwardly shaped. Any further keyboard media controls are done via function-button combinations, as there are no additional buttons except for the power. Volume control is oddly relegated to a function combination with the 3 and 4 number keys, which we still find weird.

The 13.3-inch glossy LED-backlit screen on the Satellite T135D-S1324 has a 1,366x768-pixel native resolution, with sharp colors and a good brightness level. It looked perfectly crisp in our use. We wish the speakers were as good as the screen: the quality was fair, but the volume was muted in noisier rooms.

  Toshiba Satellite T135D-S1324 Average for category [thin and light]
Video VGA-out, HDMI VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 2.0/sleep and charge, SD card reader 3 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion None ExpressCard/54
Networking Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive None DVD burner

The Toshiba Satellite T135D-S1324's selection of ports and features is identical to those on the $699 T135-S1310 we reviewed previously. A sleep-and-charge USB port that can act as a portable charger for devices when the T135D is powered down, plus an HDMI-out port and Bluetooth round out the most notable and useful offerings.

The T135D-S1324 comes with a 320GB hard drive and 4GB of DDR2 RAM, similar to the T135-S1310 but using slightly slower DDR2 memory instead of DDR3. It's an ample amount of RAM and hard-drive space, matching what we would expect on any mainstream laptop and then some.

By switching to an AMD Neo processor with ATI graphics, Toshiba has not so much amplified the performance of the T135 series as made a lateral move. In our benchmark tests, the AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-Core L625 processor had slightly slower multitasking, iTunes, and Photoshop performance than the dual-core Pentium U4100 T135-S1310, but not by much. The single-core Intel SU2700 processor on the Satellite T135-S1300 still fared far worse, and higher-end Core 2 Duo ULV laptops such as the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge performed better, but only slightly. For a savings of $100, the AMD Neo processor version of the T135 thus provides some nice savings without much loss. However, we will note that in playing back streaming video files, the T135D got much hotter around the touch pad than previous T135 models ever did. It's not surprising, then, to discover that the battery performance on the T135D-S1324 also took a hit.

The T135D-S1324 also includes graphics courtesy of the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 GPU, a new addition to the T135. We played Unreal Tournament III and achieved frame rates of about 10.3 frames per second in full resolution, and 18.5 frames per second at 800x600-pixel resolution. These numbers are worse than Atom Netbooks with Nvidia Ion graphics can perform, and aren't really results that we'd call "gaming quality," but it's better than the typical integrated Intel graphics found on most Netbooks.

Juice box
Toshiba Satellite T125D-S1324 Average watts per hour
Off 0.22
Sleep 0.75
Idle 8.14
Load 34.75
Raw kWh Number 34.86
Annual power consumption cost $3.96

Annual power consumption cost
Toshiba Satellite T135D-1324

The six-cell battery that Toshiba includes with the Satellite T135D-S1324 ran for 5 hours and 59 minutes using our video playback battery drain test, which is a more extreme challenge than normal laptop use would provide. That's a small drop-off from the battery life we saw in the T135-S1310, but it's close enough to consider the T135D-S1324 an adequate replacement for those looking to save $100.

Toshiba includes an industry-standard one-year parts and labor warranty with the Satellite T135D-S1324, which can also be upgraded to three-year coverage. Support is accessible 24-7 via a toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and a Web site with driver downloads.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite T135D-1324

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Toshiba Satellite T135D-1324
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.6GHz AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-Core L625; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200; 320GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite T135-S1310
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Pentium SU4100; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

HP Pavilion dm3-1002
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 ULV; 2,048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 797MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 500GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge
Windows 7 Professional; 1.3Hz Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 ULV; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite T135-S1300
Windows 7 Professional; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium SU2700; 3,072MB DDR3 SDRAM 800MHz; 1340MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 250GB Toshiba 5,400rpm


Toshiba Satellite T135

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 7Battery 8Support 7
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