Review Toshiba Satellite A210-12Z
A like AMD. The Satellite A200 Serie from Toshiba aims to the needs of a wide consumer market with a focus on the relation of price/value. What makes the difference between the series A210 and A200? Not really much. Besides the identical case and a partially identical display, only the implemented graphics hardware from AMD and ATI is different. You can get it starting with about 700 euro. Interested?
The current design by Toshiba looks good. Especially consumers seem to be still attracted by glossy surfaces and colored lids. Actually the Toshiba Satellite A210-12Z is a prime example regarding this aspect. However, how about the other qualities of the case?
Though apparently all surfaces are made of plastics, the case is flexural rigid. Furthermore, it seems that it is rather insensible to applied forces. Even the lid seems to be rather robust.
The used shapes look nice. However, they do not only contribute to the appearance of the Satellite A210, also the user-friendliness profits by a beveled front edge next to the palm rest areas and the touch pad.
The display is attached to a single central hinge - a solution very similar to the one of the Macbook Pro. Because of the opening mechanism, whereas the display folds open down and to the back, the back side has to be free of ports. Additionally, the opening angle of the lid is constricted. Whether this annoys also depends on your preferences.
As a matter of fact, the hinges cannot prohibit a clear see-saw of the display. The display has a light clamshell design and fits exactly to the base unit if closed. The double hook holds the closed display absolutely tight. However, the slider at the display's front edge, makes opening cumbersome.
The interface equipment only provides the most necessary ports, i.e. USB, VGA, LAN, and modem. A plus is the provided Firewire port, in case you demand such. Apparently a digital video out is still not standard in this price class. Regarding the order of the ports, it is noticeable that all of the 4 USB ports are right or left near the front. Depending on the use, this might lead to disturbing cable spaghetti.
Because of the layout, whereas the F-keys are a little moved to the back and the cursor keys are a little separated from the other keys, the keyboard seems spacious and clearly structured.
The look of the keys, which appear to be a little edgy, matches the feel. They can be precisely hit. The key feedback can be characterized by an early point of pressure and a hard stop. The keyboard is tightly attached to the case and hardly yields.
Overall typing is user-friendly, if you do not prefer soft and springy keys. The typing noise is also alright, there are no annoying or odd noises.
The surface of the touch pad is user-friendly. Furthermore, its two buttons are spacious. At the right front part it provides scrolling regions, but, they are not marked in any way. Because the pad is a little lower than the case, you can easily hit your fingers at its edges.
The screen of the Toshiba A210-21Z is the current standard consumer variant, a 1280x800 pixel WXGA panel with a mirroring surface. Toshiba calls that "TruBrite".
The sight is average but clearly sufficient for simple office and internet activities.
The maximally measured brightness of the display was 202.5 cd/m² at the central area. Regrettably, a considerable reduction of brightness was measured at the borders, which resulted in an mediocre illumination of 78.9%. The color representation showed a clear irradiation and limited gray scales.
The minimum brightness of 1.0 cd/m² (black value) combined with the maximum brightness of slightly more than 200 cd/m² resulted in a maximum contrast relation of 202:1. This is below the average.
Therefore, Satellite A210 is hardly apt for outdoor use. Especially the mirroring surface leads to bothersome reflexions even indoor with bad light conditions.
The stability of the viewing angles of this screen are not the best. Especially, changing the ideal angle in vertical range leads to changing colors and finally to the known photo-negative effect. Changing angles in horizontal range the contrast is reduced and mirroring takes place.
Video for the visibility angles of the display
At present, AMD processors are a rare species. In cheap laptops they can be found more frequently. The Toshiba Satellite A210-12Z is one of them. The whole series Satellite A210 is equipped with CPUs from AMD.
The AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual Core CPU with a clock frequence of 1.6 GHz is combined with an ATI Radeon X1200 video card. This is an integrated graphics solution which can be compared with the current Intel X3100 chip. The benchmark results of both are similar.
The specifications show very soon that A210-12z is a laptop equipped for basic applications like classic office programms, internet and simple multimedia like DVD rendition and such stuff. Calculation-intensive applications or computer games are not recommended for Satellite A210-12Z.
Regarding the remaining features, the 2GB main memory have to be mentioned as well as the 160GB hard disk. This disk offers enough space for your photos or music files.
|3DMark 05 Standard||855 points|
|3DMark 06||235 points|
|PCMark 05 Standard||2508 points|
|1024x768||Ultra, 0xAA, 0xAF||10.7 fps|
|800x600||High, 0xAA, 0xAF||17 fps|
|640x480||Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF||24.5 fps|
|640x480||Low, 0xAA, 0xAF||24.9 fps|
|1024x768||GPU: max, CPU: max, 0xAA, 0xAF|
|800x600||GPU medium, CPU medium, 0xAA, 0xAF||4 fps|
|640x480||GPU min, CPU min, 0xAA, 0xAF||29 fps|
|Quake 3 Arena - Timedemo|
|1024x768||highest, 0xAA, 0xAF||83.8 fps|
In idle mode and office operation the Satellite A210-12Z is conveniently silent. The fan runs at the lowest level or switched off completely. The volume of 35 dB is very silent and not bothersome.
With heavy charge the fan winds up and the volume of up to 43.7 dB may be bothersome. Nevertheless, with normal office operations or internet surfing this level never has been achieved.
The 160GB hard disk frequently causes rattling and crunching noises.
34.2 / 35 / 35.4 dB(A)
||38.9 / dB(A)|
||40.7 / 43.7 dB(A)|
min: , med: , max: (15 cm distance)
Very positive are the surface temperatures of the Toshiba Satellite A210-12Z. Both, the bottom and upper surface remain with tolerable measured temperatures. Only the back corner at the right bottom side heated up to a maximum temperature of about 40°C whith heave charge.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 33 °C / 91 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 40 °C / 104 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (32 °C / 89.6 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28 °C / 82.4 F (-4 °C / -7.2 F).
Both speakers at the left and right side above the keyboard are chic and emit an acceptable sound. The maximum volume is mediocre.
The test of the sound emission above of the 3.5mm stereo exit results without remarkablenesses like troublesome background noises.
The 4800 mAh battery of the laptop allowed runtimes during tests of about 1.5h with heavy charge with up top 3 hours with minumum energy need. Somewhat short are the duration times during DVD rendition. So, the Satellite A210-12Z functioned about 1.5h.
Depending on the wanted applications, an acceptable or short battery runtime must be considered.
|Off / Standby||0 / 0 Watt|
|Idle|| 20.5 / 22.3 / 23.4 Watt|
48 / 61.2 Watt|
Key: min: , med: , max:
The Toshiba Satellite A210-12Z is the appropriate affordable laptop for the office user with low requirements. The chic and robust case contains input devices, which can be handled conveniently. Especially the keyboard allows a good typing. Only the basic connection options are available, which may be sufficient for the targeted consumer group.
The display is caracterized by a good maximum brightness but the quality of the represented image can not convince. Further, the stability of viewing angles is mediocre, so a use of the notebook at the desk is recommended.
The hardware equipment is limited in favour of a low price and low emissions. This concept works. The Satellite A210-12Z has enough power to grant a normal office use.
The measured battery runtime of 1.5 to 3 hours is acceptable and allows a limited mobile use of the laptop.