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Toshiba Satellite Pro L830-10G review

Verdict

A cheap, portable business laptop, but the basic ergonomics and average build quality leave it lacking

Review Date: 20 Aug 2012

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £344 (£413 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

It’s the cutting-edge business laptops that take the plaudits and seize the attention, but there’s much to be said for corporate machines that aren’t saddled with four-figure prices. Toshiba’s latest, the Satellite Pro L830-10G, is an affordable 13.3in laptop with its sights set on more modest IT budgets.

At just £413 inc VAT, the Toshiba is as cheap as business laptops get. That’s a tempting headline figure, but it doesn’t take long to see where Toshiba has taken swipes at its budget. Little inspires about the design, which is all grey and glossy black plastic, and the patchy build quality bespeaks the Satellite Pro’s budget beginnings.

The keyboard is the first giveaway. The plastic surround bounces with every keypress, and the right-hand side proved even more flexible than the left, making for an indistinct, woolly feel while typing. The trackpad suffers from similar afflictions: the touchpad itself is responsive, but the hinged buttons feel stiff and awkward.

Toshiba Satellite Pro L830-10G

The base is flexible, too, with even light twisting causing the chassis to distort noticeably, and stronger heaves elicit the odd creak here and there. The lid, thankfully, is a little better: you have to press quite firmly on the lid before any distortion is visible on the display.

At this price, it’s no surprise to find that it’s a 13.3in, 1,366 x 768 resolution panel. Image quality is pretty average, but it’s perfectly usable for everyday applications. The contrast ratio of 227:1 is a little better than the 196:1 we recorded from the £440 inc VAT Acer Aspire 5750G, our current budget favourite, but there’s some ugly backlight leakage along the bottom of the screen. Colour accuracy isn’t good, either, with colours in our test images lacking their usual vibrancy – with an average Delta E of 11, the Toshiba’s display is typical budget laptop fare.

There’s little to shout about on the inside. Intel’s Core i3-2367M is one of the firm’s ultra-low-power Sandy Bridge chips, and has two Hyper-Threaded cores running at 1.4GHz. The Toshiba’s 17W TDP testifies as to its efficiency, but it’s no powerhouse – it limped to a score of 0.34 in our benchmarks. The 2GB of memory takes its toll, but the sheer volume of pre-installed applications is partly to blame here. Trimming the Toshiba’s long list of start-up applications buoyed its benchmark results by 10%, the Satellite Pro reaching 0.38 in our benchmarks.

Toshiba Satellite Pro L830-10G

Without any room in the budget for dedicated graphics, the Toshiba’s not one for lunchtime gaming sessions, either. The Intel HD Graphics 3000 core is fine for watching the occasional HD video, or running a secondary monitor, but it scored just 14fps in our Low quality Crysis test.

The benefit of such modest performance should be long battery life, but here the Toshiba disappoints. Despite the low-voltage processor, the Satellite Pro’s 4,200mAh battery lasted only 5hrs 21mins in our light-usage test. With larger 15.6in models routinely sailing past the six-hour mark, the Toshiba’s well behind the budget frontrunners.

There’s little to get excited about elsewhere. The 5,400rpm 500GB hard disk and DVD writer are standard fare at this price. The included 802.11n wireless chipset is single-band only, but the presence of Gigabit Ethernet is welcome. The “Pro” suffix at the end of this machine’s name suggests that Toshiba has designed this machine for the office, but there’s no sign of a fingerprint reader, Intel vPro, TPM or any other corporate features.

For just £413 inc VAT, the Toshiba is small, light, and just about sturdy enough to carry around from day to day. It’s far from a perfect purchase, however. It’s only got the power and screen to cope with basic Windows applications, and, if you can forgo the optical drive, there’s stiff competition from Dell’s slim, capable Vostro 3360. Those after an unfussy workhorse may find the Toshiba fits the bill, but, be in no doubt, this is as basic as business laptops get.

Author: Mike Jennings

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