Review Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 Notebook

This time our colleagues from notebookCHECK.pl reviewed a Toshiba notebook, which can be classified as consumer notebook only, because of its glare-type screen. In general it looks like the Tecra A10 business notebook. But, the inner components are different. Obviously, the focus of the designers was on energy efficiency.

 

Many thanks to our Polish editor team from notebookcheck.pl, who tested this notebook and kindly provided us with their review.

Case

Toshiba Satellite Pro S300

The Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 does not really look like a notebook of the Satellite series. Instead its appearance is very similar to the Tecra A10, but it comes with a glare-type screen instead of a matte one. The design is rather angular without trendy curves or even high-gloss surfaces.

So, this notebook looks, much to the delight of conservative users, a little bit old-fashioned. However, it is refreshing that shiny and easily stained surfaces are missing. Despite of a generally angular case,  ergonomics was apparently considered important by the designers. The front edges are smooth and allow a comfortable work.

Obviously, it was not intended to delight the user with this minimalistic design. It is also a waste of time to look for ornaments. Even the two hot-keys beside the power button are inconspicuously integrated into the silver surface. So, you could conclude, that practical purposes were considered more important than the look. However, given the small touchpad, this does not hold absolutely true.

What we liked was the good workmanship of this Toshiba laptop and, so, we think, it is not exaggerated to call it 'PRO' in this aspect. However, the workmanship is not flawless. The battery is somewhat loose and could wobble in the one or other rare situation.
The second weakness can be found at the hinges, whose covers have uneven gaps. On the left side the gap was inwards bigger and on the right side outwards.

The hinges work perfectly. Once the opening angle is adjusted, you can be sure, that the screen will not unintentionally move. The hinges are sufficiently stiff and, so, they hold the display luffing-free in each position.

Although the case is made of plastic, it does in general neither give nor creak. Only at the optical drive this notebook does, alike many others, have a weak point in this aspect.

Compared to notebooks of the competition (Dell and HP), which have a more sophisticated design, the Toshiba S300 looks apparently considerably bulky and heavy. However, this impression is deceptive. Including battery this notebook weighs  just 2.86 kilogramme.

Front: volume control, headphones, microphone
Front: volume control, headphones, microphone
Left: serial port, vent holes, WiFi switch, eSATA/USB, PCMCIA, Multi-Cardreader, FireWire
Left: serial port, vent holes, WiFi switch, eSATA/USB, PCMCIA, Multi-Cardreader, FireWire
Right: optical drive, 3x USB, modem, Kensington Lock
Right: optical drive, 3x USB, modem, Kensington Lock
Rear: LAN, VGA, battery, power socket
Rear: LAN, VGA, battery, power socket

Input devices

Overall typing with this keyboard is comfortable. All keys are in place and their size is favorable.

The characteristics of this keyboard are quite specific for Toshiba notebooks. The keys have a low resistance, so, typing does not require much force. Therefore, fast typing, nevertheless without double characters, is possible.

However, the tapping is rather loud. The tinny clatter gets uncomfortable for the user in the long run - not to mention the persons near by.

The Alps touchpad is really small. In mobile use it is not very handy, even more because of its characteristics. The gliding properties are rather bad and its responsiveness is questionable. Even configuration does not really help here.

The user is better off with the trackpoint, called AccuPoint by Toshiba. The main disadvantage of this trackpoint is that it does not provide clicking by tapping the cap. So, you have to fall back on the according buttons all the time. Furthermore, the cap itself is quite small and not very comfortable.

Keyboard
Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 keyboard
Touchpad
Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 touchpad

Display

Toshiba Satellite Pro S300

The tested notebook was equipped with a Toshiba 15.4” WXGA (1280x800 pixel) screen. Although the Satellite Pro S300 was designed for business use,  it is equipped with a glare-type display.

In our opinion the technical parameters of the display proved to be hardly acceptable. The brightness of the screen is with an average maximum of almost 180cd/m² satisfactory. And the maximum contrast is with just 199:1 not really good too.

157,7
cd/m²
175,7
cd/m²
167,7
cd/m²
174,1
cd/m²
198,3
cd/m²
174,4
cd/m²
185
cd/m²
192,1
cd/m²
180,2
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 198,3 cd/m²
Average: 178 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 79 %
Black: 0.9 cd/m²
Contrast: 220:1

The picture quality seems quite good. However, if you compare the Satellite Pro S300 to top business models, e.g., the Dell Precision with M4400 LED backlight, the screen of this Toshiba notebook is apparently inferior. White, although a bit dark, is acceptable. But the gray tones and black are somewhat bluish. Considering it is a Twisted Nematic LCD panel in a standard notebook, this is no surprise.

Referenzbild
Blickwinkel
Blickwinkel
Blickwinkel
Blickwinkel
Blickwinkel
Blickwinkel
Blickwinkel
Blickwinkel
Blickwinkel

Performance

The Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 CPU inside the Satellite Pro S300, has a core frequency of 2.40GHz, 3MB of Level 2 Cache, and comes with a 1066MHz frontsidebus. Considering the price-performance ratio this is a good choice. Although it only has half of the L2 Cache of the slightly faster (2.53GHz) and twice as expensive (!) Core 2 Duo P9500, the later is just marginally more powerful. In absolute numbers 3 Megabyte Level-2 cache are more than sufficient for most applicaions. Therefore it makes little sense to buy a laptop with a CPU better than a Core 2 Duo P8600, especially for running non-demanding tasks. It is even alright for gaming notebooks especially if you do not want to run very demanding games like, e.g., GTA IV, of all games.

The integrated Intel GMA X4500MHD video chip is only slightly better than the older GMA X3100. It is just perfect for an office laptop.

3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE5366 points
3DMark 032465 points
3DMark 051566 points
3DMark 06
 1280x800
959 points
Help
3DMark 06 in comparison
Asus N10E (min)
 N270, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
91
   ...
Lenovo ThinkPad SL300
 P8600, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
937
HawkForce Mobile.ForceM13.S1
 T6400, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
951
Toshiba Satellite Pro S300
 P8600, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
959
Dell Latitude E4300
 SP9400, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
960
Dell Latitude E5500
 T7250, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
973
   ...
Samsung Serie 7 700Z3C-S01 (max)
 3210M, GeForce GT 630M
9346
PC Mark
PCMark 053731 points
Help
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
692
   ...
HP nc6400
 T7400, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
3716
Dell Inspiron 1520-PP22L
 T5250, GeForce 8400M GS
3720
Toshiba Satellite Pro S300
 P8600, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
3731
Samsung R530-JA09DE
 T4500, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
3747
HP nc8430
 T2300, Mobility Radeon X1600
3761
   ...
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
13842
Cinebench R10
 SettingsValue
 Rendering Single 32Bit2617 Points
 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit4914 Points
 Shading 32Bit1010 Points
160 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 28.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 63.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 47.8 MB/s
Access Time: 19 ms
Burst Rate: 74 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3.4 %

Emissions

System noise

Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 proved to be very quiet during operation. Although a faint constant hum of the fan is audible, it is absolutely not obtrusive. This kind of behavior is undoubtedly better than a buzz that only starts after applying load, but, is considerably louder then.

Noise Level

Idle 32,2 / 32,2 / 32,3 dB(A)
HDD 32,3 dB(A)
DVD 37,8 / 41 dB(A)
Load 32,2 / 32,3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Even after many hours of work the chassis remains pleasantly cool. The maximum temperatures measured in a stress test lasting a few  hours with room temperature are rather low. On the top side the temperature peaked at 32.5°C, while at the bottom of the base unit the highest value was 36°C

Max. Load
 31,4 °C31,6 °C27,1 °C 
 32,5 °C30,9 °C27,1 °C 
 29,3 °C31,4 °C25,7 °C 
Maximum: 32,5 °C
Average: 29.2 °C
30,2 °C32 °C34,3 °C
31,5 °C34,4 °C36,1 °C
25,9 °C27,1 °C30,2 °C
Maximum: 36,1 °C
Average: 31 °C
Room Temperature 21,5 °C

Loudspeakers

The speakers are rather weak, even for a notebook. In particular we did not like that they tend to blast on maximum volume.

Battery

The reviewed model got a battery with higher capacity than most other notebooks of the Satellite series. The capacity of the 6-cell battery is 5100 mAh (55 Wh). Because the Satellite Pro  S300 is equipped with rather energy-efficient components, it takes a long time to completely empty the battery.

If you focus on power saving, you can even work up to 6 hours without interruption. However, on minimum brightness, the picture on the display is that dark that you can hardly recognize  anything. For WLAN surfing we have good news too. The Toshiba Pro S300 can easily achieve above three hours runtime here.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 03min
WiFi Surfing
3h 07min
DVD
2h 21min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 18min

Power Consumption

Idle 14.5 / 21 / 38 Watt
Load 44,5 / 48 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         

Verdict

The Satellite Pro S300 is an equivalent of the Tecra A10, but with a glare screen. Therefore, it can be categorized in between the business and the consumer class.

When designing this notebook Toshiba apparently focused on high energy-efficiency. Therefore, an Intel CPU with relatively low thermal design power (TDP), a Core 2 Duo P8600, and an integrated graphics chip were used. Thanks to these choices the power supply unit has similar weight and size as those in netbooks.

Other advantages are a quiet operation and only slight heating  up. Although a battery life of six hours is only achievable in theory, the battery suffices to power the notebook for up to about 4.5 hours (3 hours when browsing the web via WLAN).

Disadvantage of Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 are its input devices: A loud keyboard and a tiny and imprecise touchpad.

In comparison to the Tecra A10 you can regret that the warranty period is shorter and that the Satellite Pro S300 is equipped with a glare and not a matte screen.

Toshiba Satellite Pro S300
Toshiba Satellite Pro S300
In Review: Toshiba Satellite Pro S300
Toshiba Satellite Pro S300

Specifications

Toshiba Satellite Pro S300

:: Processor
:: Memory
3072 MB, Samsung DDR2-800, 2GB + 1GB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
15,4 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, Toshiba TOS508A, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
160 GB - 5400 rpm, 160 GB 5400 rpm
:: Soundcard
Intel 82801IB
:: Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 4 USB 2.0, 1 Firewire, 1 VGA, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Serial Port, Audio Connections: microphone, headphones, Card Reader: 5-in-1,
:: Networking
Intel 82567LF Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5100 (a b g n ), V2.0 + EDR Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
Teac DV-W28S-RT
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 39 x 361 x 265
:: Weight
2.86 kg Power Supply: 0.36 kg
:: Battery
Lithium-Ion, 5100 mAh
:: Price
798 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Business 32 Bit
:: Additional features
webcam, fingerprint reader

 

At the first glance you could mistake the Satellite Pro S300 for a Tecra notebook.
At the first glance you could mistake the Satellite Pro S300 for a Tecra notebook.
The heat emissions are only low, because of the choice of energy-efficient hardware.
The heat emissions are only low, because of the choice of energy-efficient hardware.
The loudspeakers are weak and blast at maximum volume.
The loudspeakers are weak and blast at maximum volume.
It is the glare screen that distinguishes the Satellite Pro S300 from the Tecra A10.
It is the glare screen that distinguishes the Satellite Pro S300 from the Tecra A10.
The hinges work flawlessly.
The hinges work flawlessly.
The touchpad is small and its gliding properties are not good.
The touchpad is small and its gliding properties are not good.
What we did not like about the keyboard was the loud clatter of the keys.
What we did not like about the keyboard was the loud clatter of the keys.
Looking at the top side of the base unit, especially at the power button and the two hot keys, one can rightly call this design minimalistic.
Looking at the top side of the base unit, especially at the power button and the two hot keys, one can rightly call this design minimalistic.
For a member of the Satellite series it is uncommon, but, refreshing that this notebook does not have any high-gloss surfaces.
For a member of the Satellite series it is uncommon, but, refreshing that this notebook does not have any high-gloss surfaces.
We liked that this notebook inherited the solid chassis of the Tecra line.
We liked that this notebook inherited the solid chassis of the Tecra line.
If you look from the side, you will not notice any narrowing of the base unit.
If you look from the side, you will not notice any narrowing of the base unit.
The thick chassis looks old-fashioned.
The thick chassis looks old-fashioned.
The angular look does not really go with a consumer notebook.
The angular look does not really go with a consumer notebook.
Unlike most other Toshiba Satellites, the battery life is quite good.
Unlike most other Toshiba Satellites, the battery life is quite good.

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Pro

+Solid chassis
+Quiet operation
+Temperature stays low
+Small and light PSU
+Good battery life
 

Cons

-Loud keyboard
-Small, imprecise touchpad

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 Notebook
Author: Sylwester Cyba, 2009-04-10 (Update: 2012-05-26)