Review Toshiba Satellite A100-979

A while ago, we already had the joy to review the Satellite A100-153 notebook, which was equipped with a Core Duo CPU, which was brand new at that time. The compact and esthetically pleasing successor, Satellite A100-979, is equipped with a Core 2 Duo processor and a Geforce 7600 video card.

Case

The design of A100 looks so great, that nearly everybody will like it. The design of the notebook is clear, but not boring. The notebook seems elegant because of the gentle forms and decent tones used.

Toshiba's Satellite A100-979 does not only look great, it also convinces through quality of workmanship and robustness. It seems that the robust bottom through and the silver cover is connected seamlessly. One can unscrupulously pick up the notebook at the front edge and there won't even  be a tiny creak. Also, Torsions could hardly be observed.

The only deficiencies are two short fissures left and right above the keyboard, whose distance are slightly different. But one will only notice them on a very close look.

The display is relatively solid. In contrary to the rest of the case, the plastic cover of the backside of the display can be easily pushed  in. The joints seem robust, but allow a slight, negligible wobble.

Toshiba's Satellite A100-979 is equipped with a ramshorn hook, which doesn't allow any dislocating, if the display is closed. The display can easily be opened again.

At the first glance the ports seem to be distributed arbitrarily over the whole case, but at a closer look one realizes, that they are exactly, where they are needed.

At the right side there are 2 USB 2.0 Ports and a WLAN switch in front of the DVD Multi drive. At the back region there are the Kensington Lock and a modem port.

The back side is nearly entirely occupied by the battery. Although this configuration has often been criticized, because it requires placing more ports nearer to the front on both sides, there is also a big advantage in it. It allows placing bigger battery packs without problems. So there is also a battery pack with 9 cells available, which has 50% more capacity.
Beside the battery there are 2 more USB 2.0 ports, which are suitable for permanent connection of peripherals, a LAN port and the power supply line.
At the left side there is a VGA port in the back region, which can be used to connect an external monitor. In the front region there are a S-Video out, a fire wire connector, an ExpressCard slot and a PCCard Slot Type II.

Interfaces at the left side
Interfaces
Interfaces at the right side
Interfaces at the front side
Interfaces at the back side

Input devices

The keyboard is very clear, because the  cursor and functions keys of Toshiba's Satellite A100-979 have been moved away from the other keys a little bit . The keys are - besides the left shift key, which is a little bit too small - of standard size. The Enter key takes up two rows.

The keys felt good when typing. But we discovered a possible clear deflection of the whole keyboard. There is a pleasant, slightly dull  noise caused by typing.

At the left side of the keyboard there are some additional keys, which are nicely placed, but somehow uncomfortable to use, because they are countersink.

The touch pad did not show any anomalies. The buttons are a little bit hard to press and the touch pad is countersink relatively deep.

Touch pad
Keyboard

Display

Color diagram

Main point of criticism was the low brightness. Like the predecessor, the A100-979 is equipped with a reflecting 15.4 inch WXGA display and a resolution of 1280x800 pixels. But the measured brightness of the current notebook was clearly better. The maximum measured brightness was 138.0 cd/m². This is not a top value, but sufficient for working indoors. The illumination reached good 80.4%.

Although the colors were subjectively alright, the diagram shows a clear deviation of the blue tone curve - the emphasis on the blue colors are too low. The test showed a reasonable maximum contrast of 222.3:1.

Outdoors - under good lightening conditions - the A100-979 cannot be used very well. On the one hand, the brightness of the display is too low, on the other hand the display clearly reflects.

The maximum viewing angle is horizontally limited by reflections. Vertically there  are high dimouts or fill-lights outside the usual area of operation.

Regarding the speed of reaction the Satellite A100-979 reaches grade 6 of the Pixperan test of legibility and can therefore be rated average.

126.4
cd/m²
138.0
cd/m²
128.9
cd/m²
123.4
cd/m²
133.4
cd/m²
123.8
cd/m²
111.0
cd/m²
124.5
cd/m²
123.5
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 138.0 cd/m²
Average: 125.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Black: 0.6 cd/m²
Contrast: 222:1
Vantage point dependability.

Performance

In the fields of 3D graphics the Satellite A100-979 has a performance that is comparable to similar equipped notebooks of the same class (X1600, Geforce 7600 and comparable CPU) and even wins against most of them.

Regarding the fields of applications the notebook is a good average. The notebook won't have performance problems in the short run - it is even "Windows Vista Capable". But there might be slight problems with current games, where one has to reduce the resolution or the number of details.

The measurements of the 160GB hard disk of Fujitsu showed that it works at 4200 rpm and has a longer access time and a lower  data rate than models using 5400 rpm.

You can find further information to the video card here or  in our  Comparison of mobile video cards.  For comparision of  the T2700 CPU  to  other CPUs please look at Comparison of mobile CPUs.

Benchmark Comparison 3DMark
Benchmarkvergleich
Benchmark Comparison PCMark
3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE18748 points
3DMark 038095 points
3DMark 053361 points
3DMark 06
 
2124 points
Help
3DMark 06 in comparison
Sony Vaio VGN-FS485B (min)
 740, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 900
54
   ...
Toshiba Qosmio G30
 T2600, GeForce Go 7600
2092
Asus Transformer Book T100TA-C1-GR
 Z3740, HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
2108
Toshiba Satellite A100-979
 T5600, GeForce Go 7600
2124
Asus A8Jp
 T7200, Mobility Radeon X1700
2139
Apple MacBook 2009-10
 P7550, GeForce 9400M (G) / ION (LE)
2148
   ...
Clevo Clevo P157SM (max)
 4930MX, GeForce GTX 880M
29955
PC Mark
PCMark 045902 points
PCMark 054033 points
Help
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
692
   ...
HP dv9074cl
 TL-56, GeForce Go 7600
4001
Toshiba Satellite P100-102
 T2400, GeForce Go 7600
4027
Toshiba Satellite A100-979
 T5600, GeForce Go 7600
4033
Samsung Aura Damali
 T7100, GeForce 8400M GS
4040
Lenovo ThinkPad R61
 T7100, Quadro NVS 140M
4047
   ...
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
13842
160 GB - 4200 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 15.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 32 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 25.4 MB/s
Access Time: 20.1 ms
Burst Rate: 78.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3 %

Emissions

Loudness

We observed an interesting phenomenon with the Toshiba Satellite A100-979:  The notebook seems to use exactly 2 different levels of revolutions - one if idle or if using office applications, the other one under load.

The noise is about 36.0 dB in the idle mode and about 39.6 dB under load. Even the upper value is still acceptable.

Noise Level

Idle 36.0 / 39.6 / 39.6 dB(A)
HDD 36.1 dB(A)
DVD 38.7 / dB(A)
Load / 39.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The notebook got only slightly warmer at the upper side. We measured only about 30°C next to the touch pad, but left to the keyboard about 39.8°C.
At the bottom side we measured a maximum temperature of 40.9°C, which only slightly exceeded the maximum temperature at the upper side.

Upper side

palmwrist: 30.3°C max: 39.8°C avg: 33.1°C hotspot: left besides the keyboard

Bottom side

max: 40.9°C avg: 34.8°C hotspot: middle, right edge

environment: 22.5

Loud speakers

The Harman/Kardon speakers in the Toshiba Satellite A100-979 convinced us through an absolute clear sound. We were so excited that we turned the loudness up and up and discovered that the maximum loudness is a little too low.

Battery Runtime

The A100-797 is equipped with a Lithium battery of  6 cells. But Toshiba also offers a battery with 9 cells of 6000 mAh, which leads to about 50% longer runtime.
The 4000 mAh battery  used with this notebook had a minimal runtime of roughly an hour and a maximum runtime of 2 hours. Even the runtime when playing DVDs was only 1.5 hours, which is not too long.

Energy Demand

Without load (Idle), min. brightness, without WLAN: 32.6 Watt
+ max. brightness: 35.8 Watt
+ WLAN: 36.7 Watt
full load (+WLAN, max. brightness): max. 62.0 Watt

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
1h 55min
DVD
1h 25min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 9min

Verdict

Toshiba Satellite A100-979

Toshiba's Satellite A100-979 convinced not only through excellent workmanship and  quality of material, but also through its  good design.

Also the keyboard proved to be very user friendly, because of the clear layout and the good typing feeling.

The display does not belong to the brightest currently available, but it is sufficient for use indoors. Outside the display could not convince us. The values reached at the distribution of illumination and for the contrast are satisfying. The weak point of the display is definitely the limited stability to vantage points, which is also negatively influenced by the reflecting panel.

Although the fans also run in idle mode, they are not really apparent. The measured surface temperature where in a normal range.

The notebook we reviewed was equipped with a 4000 mAh battery. The battery runtime can be a little bit too short for mobile users, but there is also 6000 mAh battery available.

In total we rate the Toshiba Satellite A100-979 positively. The notebook is particularly interesting for everybody who needs a top quality 15.4 inch multimedia notebook with average to good performance in the fields of applications and 3D graphics.

Reviewed: Toshiba Satellite A100-979

Specifications

Toshiba Satellite A100-979

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel 945PM
:: Memory
2048 MB, DDR2 PC4300 SDRAM, max. 4096MB, 2x1024MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
15.4 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, TruBrite WXGA TFT Display, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
160 GB - 4200 rpm, 160 GB 4200 rpm Fujitsu MHV2160BT PL: 160GB, 4200rpm
:: Connections
ExpressCard, PCCard TypII, IEEE1394 Firewire, Mikrofon, Kopfhörer, 4x USB 2.0, S-Video out, VGA-out, Kensington Lock, LAN, Modem
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 37 x 360 x 267
:: Weight
2.87 kg
:: Battery
, 4000 mAh Lithium Ionen Akku
:: Price
1499 Euro
:: Additional features
HDD: 160GB, 4200rpm, Fujitsu MHV2160BT PL, Realtek HD Audio, DVD +/-R (DL) Matshita UJ-841S,

 

Toshiba Satellite A100-979...
Always busy, but still not disturbing: A100-979's fans
A class of its own: the perfect sound of Harman/Kardon loudspeaker.
The display wins against the predecessor.
This is caused among others through a clear layout of all keys.
A100-979's keyboard proved very user friendly.
...have been designed beautifully.
Even various details...
...of high-grade material
...but also through first class workmanship...
...convinces not only through aesthetically pleasing Design,...
Der 4000 mAh battery has a short runtime.

Pro

  • Nice Design
  • Excellent workmanship
  • Compact and robust case
  • Order of interfaces
  • Clear, user friendly keyboard
  • Acceptable noise and temperature emissions
  • Excellent speakers
  • Contra

  • Display cover has a poor resistence against pressure
  • Keyboard bends under pressure
  • Moderate stability to the vantage point of the display
  • Moderate battery runtime
  • Comparison of Prices

    Geizhals.at

    not yet available

    Bewertung

    Toshiba Satellite A100-979
    08/31/2007
    J. Simon Leitner

    Chassis
    90%
    Keyboard
    86%
    Pointing Device
    86%
    Connectivity
    86%
    Weight
    76%
    Battery
    46%
    Display
    83%
    Games Performance
    86%
    Application Performance
    94%
    Temperature
    73%
    Noise
    76%
    Add Points
    92%
    Average
    81%
    82%
    Multimedia *
    Weighted Average

    > Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Toshiba Satellite A100-979
    Author: J. Simon Leitner, 2006-11-25 (Update: 2013-05- 8)