(03/14/2001) – WHAT’S HOT: Like many multimedia-oriented laptops, the Satellite 2805 sports external audio buttons, allowing you to use it solely as a music CD player. Simply pop your favorite disc into the CD-ROM drive (or the DVD-ROM drive, as in our test machine) and you can start, stop, or move through song tracks without turning on the notebook itself. The 2805 takes playing music CDs one step further than other laptops. Its audio controls also work when the notebook is turned on–an obvious convenience missing from most music-centric laptops. The audio buttons’ location in the screen hinge makes them a little easier to use than controls on the front. We liked being able to simultaneously power up the notebook and launch a DVD movie disc in the drive by sliding one switch. Sound on the 2805 booms out of the front-mounted speakers, and a separate subwoofer button adds throbbing bass. Our only beef: There’s no LCD for viewing tracks.
WHAT’S NOT: Compared with slim-and-light laptops, some available for around the same price, the Satellite 2805-S202 falls on the hefty side, measuring nearly 2 inches thick and tipping the scales at 7.3 pounds, not including the AC adapter. Though its built-in network adapter gives it business chops, the lack of a docking connection limits its appeal as a corporate desktop replacement.
WHAT ELSE: On the performance front, the 2805-S202 turned in a respectable battery life of three hours. It also bested several PIII-800 laptops with its score of 135 in our PC WorldBench 2000 tests. The 2805’s gray and silver case makes it quite attractive. It is also sturdily built and fairly well appointed, with fixed DVD and floppy drives, a spacious keyboard equipped with an Internet launch button, side-by-side modem and network jacks on the back, and two USB connections. Once we adjusted the eraserhead pointer to the slowest speed, it worked smoothly in conjunction with Toshiba’s trademark stacked crescent-shaped mouse buttons, which are flanked by small scrolling buttons. Do-it-yourselfers will have no trouble performing memory and storage upgrades. However, because the hard drive sits beneath a screw-secured panel on the bottom of the notebook, it isn’t a simple matter to remove it when you want to keep your data secure. Toshiba includes both print and electronic manuals.
BEST USE: With its Lotus SmartSuite software and musical talents, the 2805-S202 would make a fine personal laptop for budget-minded individuals looking for something beyond a basic machine.
Toshiba Satellite 2805-S202
CDN$ 2699 [Estimate]
PC WorldBench 2000 score of 135, Pentium III-700/550, 128MB of SDRAM, 256KB L2 cache, Windows Millennium Edition, 14.1-inch active-matrix screen, S3 Savage/IX with 8MB of SDRAM, 10GB hard drive, 8X DVD-ROM drive, built-in V.90 modem and network interface, eraserhead pointing device, 8.5-pound weight (including AC adapter and phone cord), Lotus SmartSuite Millennium Edition. 1-year parts and labor warranty; free, unlimited 24/7 toll-free support.
Prices listed are in Cdn currency.