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Toshiba Satellite P305 Notebook Computer

By Heath McKnight

If you're in the market for a great, dependable Windows Vista-based laptop, the Toshiba Satellite is the perfect portable PC. Packed with a solid amount of processor speed, RAM, and a sizeable hard drive, this computer means business. And after working with the Toshiba QOSIMO earlier this year (read my review here), I know that Toshiba makes a great laptop.
Whenever I review a product, I try to do so in a real-world scenario. In the past, I've reviewed video cameras that were used on movies or music videos, computers (Macintosh and Windows PC's) that were used for editing features or short films, and other everyday tasks. Knowing that the Satellite is a great system for office work and more, I took advantage while doing pre-production on a feature film.

Processor Speed, RAM, and Drive Space
The Satellite P305 comes with a 2.1 GHz AMD Turion 64-bit X2 Mobile Technology TL-62 processor, 2GB RAM, 250GB hard drive, DVD/CD-RW drive, and an ATI Radeon X1250 graphics chip. The processor and amount of RAM ensure that the computer will handle plenty of tasks thrown at it. Since I am an amateur photographer, I usually fill up my MacBook with photos everyday. Plus, my music collection is big enough to take another chunk of space on my MacBook's hard drive. I have very little worries about maxing out the drive space within the Satellite.

Working With the Satellite
I set up the system in the production office, alongside a brand new iMac, and I began doing everything from word processing to emailing, your everyday office-type tasks. I never once had a problem with the Satellite. On a pre-production day, my co-producer and I worked about 12 hours on both computers, getting things wrapped up before production began. I put the notebook to sleep, went home, and then watched a DVD. Again, no problems whatsoever with the computer, even after 12 solid hours of work. I love that I can work and play on the computer without missing a beat.

Besides working with standard software applications such as Microsoft Office and Firefox 2 and 3, I loaded up some Windows-based applications for future reviews, including Planetwide Media's Comic Book Creator 2 and also the Marvel Comic edition. Those applications ran smoothly and since they're so visually graphics-intensive, I was very pleased with how the large display showcased colors and motion.

Graphics, Display and Sound
Though the QOSIMO's beautiful 17-inch HD display and terrific Harmon/Kardon speakers are missed, the Satellite's packing a lot with its 17-inch display, and its own set of Harmon/Kardon speakers. The display is bright, colors are vibrant, and sound is good. The ATI Radeon X1250 graphics card keeps things looking good.

Video games are always fun on a computer that can handle it, and never fun if the video, graphics, and sound are choppy and clipped. A friend of mine, a big-time gamer, helped me out by playing World of Warcraft and he was impressed with how the computer handled the game and Internet play. He owns a quad-core Intel system and is used to having the fastest computer on the block, but he's now convinced a Satellite portable might be in his future.

Another great way to test a system is watching a DVD, believe it or not. I've used laptops in the past that had tinny speakers; the display showed the movie as dull and dark; and the system's fans kicked on at full speed, drowning out the movie's sound. I am happy to report I didn't have any problems with the Satellite. One feature I enjoyed: when I put in a DVD, controls lit up on the Toshiba, above the keyboard. Easy access, even in the dark, to play, pause, etc., a movie without having to use the mouse pad/cursor.

One more thing: the battery's life was great, but I prefer to keep it plugged in at all times. But if I'm out and about, I'm happy to know I have a few hours of life. I didn't run a formal test, but I was able to get about three hours of web surfing and word processing without a charge. It didn't die"I just finished what I did and moved on.

Windows Vista
Let's talk Windows Vista. I know, Vista is unpopular with many hardcore Windows users, and I've heard the nightmares. I am also a Mac OS X power user, so I very rarely work with Windows. But I gotta say, after working with Vista on the QOSIMO and now the Satellite, I had absolutely no problems. Maybe I'm lucky, but I really didn't feel like I needed to install XP on the unit.

The Toshiba Satellite P305 is a wonderful Windows Vista laptop that's perfect for working with Microsoft Office, Photoshop, video games, Web browsers, you name it. It comes with a great amount of processor speed, RAM and hard drive space, and starting at $1,000 USD, it's a great deal. If you are doing really high-end graphics and photo editing work, or, like me, uncompressed HD video editing, consider going with the Toshiba QOSIMO.


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Heath McKnight is a filmmaker and author who has produced and directed several independent feature and short films, including Hellevator, 9:04 AM and December. He is currently web content manager for doddleNEWS. Heath was also a contributor to VASST's best-selling book, "The FullHD," and has written for TopTenREVIEWS and Videomaker.


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