Toshiba Satellite A65-S126

The Toshiba Satellite A65-S126 is a great deal for the sheer number of features: a 15" screen, combination DVD/CD-RW drive and a 60GB hard drive.

Though the blue lid is attractive, this notebook's performance could give you a different kind of blues. Equipped with a 2.8GHz Celeron processor and only 256MB of RAM, the A65-S126 earned an anemic PC WorldBench 5 score of 41. By comparison, laptops equipped with the higher-end 1.6-GHz Pentium M processor, earn an average score of roughly 75. Activities that don't tax the processor, such as email and word processing, should work fine on this machine, but the A65-S126 is not your best bet for a heavy workload. Battery life also could have been a lot better--the A65-S126 lasted only two hours in our tests.

But in features and design, the A65-S126 is a good basic laptop. The keyboard lacks extra buttons and scrolling features, but it's extra firm with great feedback. Considering that the A65-S126 has a large screen, it's a shame it lacks a FireWire port for downloading camcorder video, though you wouldn't want to edit video on a laptop with such a slow processor.

Two conveniences you'll like are the Wi-Fi on/off switch and volume wheel. The laptop's speakers are in the corners of the wrist rest, so you won't block them while typing; the stereo sound is fairly loud. Some aspects of the design could have been implemented a little better. The large battery, for instance, is a tad awkward to remove, and the hard drive cover is a loose piece that could be lost. However, we liked the fixed combination drive's prominent eject button. Only one memory slot is accessible for upgrades.

Toshiba provides little in the way of printed documentation, but a nice PDF manual comes preloaded on the hard drive. The only information it's missing is parts labelling, which can be found on its quick-tour sheet.

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Carla Thornton

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