Toshiba Satellite A200

The A200 is a good all-rounder notebook with plenty to offer those on a budget. Just don't expect a performance powerhouse at this price.


7.5
CNET Rating
6.2
User Rating

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At some point, the desktop form factor was deemed too restrictive to be useful, so all the major PC manufacturers jumped on the portable bandwagon. Now even 15.4-inch laptop models are being sold as desktop replacements. If they planned on just using them at desks, why didn't they just make desktops smaller and offer an optional battery and handle?

Features
The A200 is a strange beast, straddling the line between notebook, desktop, productivity and gaming, but because of this odd mix -- and while it's a fairly solid machine -- it doesn't really do any one task particularly outstandingly when put head-to-head with single-function specialist products.

The A200's feature set weighs in at around the middle of the pack with its 1.73GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 memory and a 5,400rpm 120GB hard disk drive. Granted to hit its modest AU$1,799 price point, sacrifices have been made, but it still represents good value for what's in the box. Unfortunately the first thing we noticed was that the system memory comes in a two by 512MB configuration, meaning those wanting to run 2GB for Vista will have no option but to junk both DIMMs and purchase two 1GB replacements to get to their goal.

Graphics are taken care of by NVIDIA's GeForce G7300 card, a step above Intel's own integrated product, and enough to run the Vista Aero interface, but pretty average for anything more intensive. The machine returned a score of 655 under 3DMark, and given Toshiba sells it as a desktop replacement primarily designed to sit powered by mains, something with a bit more grunt even at a greater price would have been more appreciated. If graphics are your biggest motivating factor, The PSPBGA-01X015 version of the A200 includes the bigger brother NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 for better 3D performance.

Because of its sub AU$2,000 price tag, this model forgoes flashy features like a next-gen optical format such as HD-DVD or Blu-ray. It's not strictly a gaming PC, but you shouldn't have any trouble running less demanding games from the last few years on it.

Like most consumer notebooks it includes a 1.3-megapixel digital camera built into the lid facing the user, a bit big brother, but handy for video conferencing with family and friends or recording YouTube clips of that cute thing your pet does that no one cares about.

Toshiba throws in a biometric fingerprint reader for added security; it's not a deal signer, but it is a nice little extra for the security conscious, or those with bad memories for passwords.

Design
The chassis is finished in a two-tone silver/black combination. The top of the lid is finished in a glossy bluish metallic paint and while attractive is a real fingerprint catcher.

Rather than being hinged by the top edge of the lower clam-shell as is often done, it's attached at the desk level and as a result means there's no room for rear I/O ports. The A200 isn't particularly legacy friendly (which isn't a huge loss unless you're still using with parallel printers or serial mice -- and if you are, get with the times!)

The left hand side of the chassis houses your video options with VGA and S-Video out, Ethernet port, two USB ports, a 4-pin FireWire connector and Express Card slot. The right has an additional two USB ports and the DVD burner optical drive. The latter ports are particularly handy for right-handed mousers looking to plug in an external device for long desk use sessions.

The touchpad while responsive is just a tad too small given all the unutilised space above the keyboard where the speakers and quick launch buttons live.

The screen is coated with a glossy finish, and does a good job showing off Vista's new user interface. Movies look great, although turning down the lights exposed some nasty contrast ratio and viewing angle issues with the display.

Performance
Returning just shy of 3300 PCMarks, it offers solid day-to-day functionality, and would suit office productivity applications and play on the side.

While the DVD playback was quite good in ambient lighting, dipping the lights accentuated the flaws in its contrast ratio and viewing angle -- blacks not quite true and some detail that went missing in poorly lit scenes if you tilted your head too far. That said, this model does offer something we can't often say about notebooks -- it has exceptionally good quality sound for a portable. We're pleased to say it lacks that horrible tinny sound we've come to expect, instead producing a clear and sharp movie soundtrack.

Given this product is designed to spend its life perched on a desk, with the option of portability; we didn't hold huge hopes for the battery run time. At maximum brightness and performance the A200 ran for just over an hour and a half, well short of finishing our DVD movie test. Dropping the display brightness to minimum (which is still quite easily read) and giving the unit an easier reader test yielded an extra hour, for a total of two and a half hours of run time. It's not stellar, but does offer enough juice to get some work or play done on the go.

In the end it tries to be everything to everyone, but trips over in all but a productivity setting. The A200 won't be winning any awards in the performance stakes anytime soon, but that's not what it's designed to do. It's not quite a gaming machine with only a small step above integrated graphics. The memory is about as little as you'd want to run Vista and does present an upgrade challenge, but for the cost it's a good all-rounder with plenty to offer those on a budget.



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KadekB posted a comment   

i have logged into Cnet australia, so why are there reviews from India??

 

Michelle Starr posted a reply   
Australia

Probably because the internet is global and we don't restrict who can read and comment on our site :)

toshiba user
1
Rating
 

toshiba user posted a review   

The Good:worst laptop company in india

The Bad:battery, keyboard and speaker system

operly and torn off sound was coming but left side speaker was functioning properly thn same problem started with left side speaker and right side speaker complete stopped functioning and now wen i m connecting to external speaker port that is also not functioning...my laptop is under warrant...these emdees service center guys r saying that its a physical damage so this speaker system cannot be replaced as they hav not got approval from toshiba company althuogh my laptop being under warranty...i got the mobile number of toshiba south zone head office..i called up there...but i got same respond from them..so finally what i want to say that my or your laptop being under warranty the damaged part cannot be replaced this what toshiba people r saying...these toshiba people in india mean to say that i went inside the laptop and damaged the speaker system so now i have to buy new speaker system worth Rs..3000/-....i recommend all those who are going for buying any toshiba product that not to buy toshiba products as the results are not satisfactory and u will not get the warranty of the part that is been damaged automatically.**** toshiba laptops and the service providers.**** U.**** FACE TOSHIBA....U PEOPLE ARE RUNNING TOSHIBA FISH MARKET IN INDIA...stop it now...!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

toshiba user posted a comment   

i have been using this laptop for 2 yrs n 10 months...problems started occuring in 2nd yr. 1.battery problem...without plug in adapter laptop doesnt start....2...keyboard problem...3..speaker system problem...recent i logged in complain at Emdees computer n networking in mangalore..its toshiba service center.....my complain was,speaker system was not functioning properly and torn off sound was coming..initially right side speaker was not working properly and torn off sound was coming but left side speaker was functioning properly thn same problem started with left side speaker and right side speaker complete stopped functioning and now wen i m connecting to external speaker port that is also not functioning...my laptop is under warrant...these emdees service center guys r saying that its a physical damage so this speaker system cannot be replaced as they hav not got approval from toshiba company althuogh my laptop being under warranty...i got the mobile number of toshiba south zone head office..i called up there...but i got same respond from them..so finally what i want to say that my or your laptop being under warranty the damaged part cannot be replaced this what toshiba people r saying...these toshiba people in india mean to say that i went inside the laptop and damaged the speaker system so now i have to buy new speaker system worth Rs..3000/-....i recommend all those who are going for buying any toshiba product that not to buy toshiba products as the results are not satisfactory and u will not get the warranty of the part that is been damaged automatically.**** toshiba laptops and the service providers.**** U.**** FACE TOSHIBA....U PEOPLE ARE RUNNING TOSHIBA FISH MARKET IN INDIA...stop it now...!!!!!!!!!!!!

Iosonos
9
Rating
 

Iosonos posted a review   

The Good:Graphics capability, hard drive, processing power, HD-DVD drive, sound and screen

The Bad:Runs hot, no second hard drive on my model

I've owned an A200 for the last couple years, picked it up at a steal of a price ($800 CAD). I'm not certain of the model, but I think it's a P30E.

It's a solid system, came with a 260gb hdd, Radeon 2600 and an HD-DVD drive. While a bit bottlenecked nowadays with DDR2 ram and slower front side bus, it still games well and I have never had an issue with it. I found that part of the overheating was due to the hard drive, and when I swapped out the drives, the system seemed cooler. The old hard drive is still used in another system and runs strong. Sound is spectacular for a notebook, and the screen looks great when you get that right angle.

Overall this is the PC that sold me on Toshiba. Works great with Win 7 as well.

Nimrod
8
Rating
 

Nimrod posted a review   

The Good:Reliability, Media Features, Build quality.

The Bad:Runs very warm.

I have owned the high spec version R01 of the A200 for 2 years.
It has never skipped a beat. Truly reliable.
Two hard drives inside, premium sound, high def optical drive, bright clear screen, strong chassis. Wireless performs very well.
I upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate.
I have taken very good care of the battery and the laptop. Original battery providing 1 hour. When new it lasted 2 hours. That was reasonable in that earlier generation of Centrino laptops.
Advice is to avoid leaving an SSD ExpressCard in the slot because the laptop will run even warmer and be prone to overheat.
This has been a very reliable machine to use in the home / home office.

Leaf
8
Rating
 

Leaf posted a review   

The Good:Design, Media Systems, Machine Speed

The Bad:Overheating, Battery Life

A solid laptop overall, but I'll agree that the overheating aspect is rather irritating, although my laptop has not ever forced-shut-down just yet. When my laptop was just short of 2 years old, the Windows Vista system heavily crashed on it which was devastating, but since my upgrade to Windows 7, I've had no problems. Very good for watching movies (although I find the DVD drive buggy at times), but not great for running any heavy programs on as it whirs ridiculously and is prone to overheating. The battery life, as mentioned, is short, clocking in at 1 and a half hours. But I've had the fortune of owning this laptop for over two years, and the battery life is STILL at 1 and a half hours. You know what the computer nerds say - GIGO. Good input, good output. Treat your laptop right, and it'll function just fine. :)

 

Jude posted a comment   

The Good:Apearance, key board

The Bad:Battery, machine speed, built in operating system

Using this A200 since 2008. Replaced the mother board twice. Very weak batteray. The batery was totally dead after two years. Machine is very slow compared with the others. Built in OS windows vista is disastrus.
Advise not to select A200 to anybody who wishes to buy a laptop.

angleobtuse
9
Rating
 

angleobtuse posted a review   

The Good:Solid all-rounder

The Bad:Battery Life, gets very hot

Have had it for 3 years and have been happy with it. Use it as a desktop computer.


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User Reviews / Comments  Toshiba Satellite A200

  • KadekB

    KadekB

    "i have logged into Cnet australia, so why are there reviews from India??"

  • toshiba user

    toshiba user

    Rating1

    "operly and torn off sound was coming but left side speaker was functioning properly thn same problem started with left side speaker and right side speaker complete stopped functioning and now wen i..."

  • toshiba user

    toshiba user

    "i have been using this laptop for 2 yrs n 10 months...problems started occuring in 2nd yr. 1.battery problem...without plug in adapter laptop doesnt start....2...keyboard problem...3..speaker syste..."

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