by Steven Aro
After placing my order online, my Toshiba Satellite M35X arrived in this small-sized box shown below.
Toshiba Satellite M35X in the box
And here’s a view of exactly what come inside the box with the Toshiba M35
Toshiba Satellite M35X (view larger image)
I needed a new laptop. After researching for over a year I finally came across the Toshiba Satellite M35X. It is a budget laptop; however, being a student it was basically the only laptop in my price range. Now, to me the laptop looks sleek. With an array of neon blue, orange, and green LED’s, it makes for a pretty attractive exterior. However, I feel that the build quality of Toshiba is fading away after being exceptionally good for many years. The LCD screen is fantastically bright and easy to view, but unfortunately it had problems right out of the box (this issue addressed later on). However, I still believe if you’re on a budget you should look no farther than the Satellite M35X.
Toshiba M35 Review Unit Specs
- Mobile Intel Celeron M processor 330 (1.40 GHz)
- 256MB 333 MHz RAM
- 40GB 4200 RPM hard drive (31.74 actual format)
- 15″ XGA screen
- DVD/CD-RW Combination drive w/ Silencer (program controlled)
- Special “Music on Demand” buttons next to keyboard.
- SRS TruSurround XT stereo speakers
The Satellite M35X comes with an Intel Celeron M processor. Celeron M uses advanced mobile technology to help provide better battery life. It is the budget version of the higher-end mobile processor from Intel, the Pentium M. The processor is fine for internet-browsing and word processing but anything other than that like gaming, multi-tasking, and data rich applications the Celeron starts to bog down.
The M35X comes standard with a 4200 RPM 40GB hard drive. It gives you ample storage, but the actual formatting of the drive is 35.00 GB. So, it is not quite as large as what you see on paper. Also, after Toshiba puts all the accompanying software on the M35 like Norton Antivirus, Notebook Maximizer, Napster, etc., you’re left with 31.00 GB of storage. So in all actuality you get 30GB’s to store your information. I was a little bit disappointed, however some of the software that they include on the system is great!
The Toshiba M35X that I purchased came with 256MB of RAM. This is really basic for Windows XP. With 256MB the OS can still run fine, it’s just not full speed ahead. Also, don’t forget that up to 64MB of the physical RAM is used by the Intel Extreme Graphics video-processor. Now, personally I don’t have a problem with the Intel Extreme Graphics. To me it runs basic games fine. It even ran a new hot game title, The Sims 2. Now, that game requires a lot of VRAM; but, I had no problem’s running it on the integrated graphics. But, as always when using an underpowered graphics processor with a game you will have to keep the details levels setting on that game to the most minimum. Upgrading from 256MB to 512MB is highly recommended if you can fit it into your budget.
Toshiba Satellite M35X Left-side view (view larger image)
The design of the M35X is pretty good. The keyboard is one of the best that I’ve ever had in a notebook. The keyboard has a better feel than Dell’s and Apple’s, in my opinion. Toshiba also includes an array of system identifier lights that give useful feedback on your laptops status and just looks plain nice. One such light is the power button LED indicator which glows neon-blue when the system is powered on. It can also glow and fade orange when you put the system in a stand-by mode.
The 15″ screen is superb as far as brightness and crisp viewing goes. However, out of the box I had troubles with it. There were quite a few dead-pixels, meaning that all the time some of the pixels on the screen were stuck as being a bright magenta or cyan color. I am going to have to have Toshiba take a look at this and likely return the laptop due to the issue. Having dead-pixels on a screen is a sign of bad manufacturing quality or failed quality assurance tests, which is inexcusable for a product that a consumer pays close to $1,000 for.
Even with the mobile Celeron processor the system creates a lot of heat-quickly! The fan usually turns on after about 15-20 minutes of computer use and comes on for about 6-secs. Then it turns back-on after about every 2-3 minutes to keep the unit cool.
The battery life of this system is one of the best that I’ve seen. Personally, from experience at times you get better battery life than the much higher respected Pentium M. This is mainly due to the fact that the Celeron has a slower front-side bus, which at times can slow things down. However, with Toshiba’s Notebook Maximizer I can get almost 4+ hours with the battery, if it is set to “Long Life” mode. On “High-POWER” mode I only got 2 to 3 hours at the maximum. Toshiba also incorporates a DVD Playback mode. With the laptop on this mode I could watch an entire 2-hour movie and still have some battery life left. So, overall the battery life of this system is good.
A look at the power button and some LED lights on the top-left of the keyboard (view larger image)
Toshiba included an array of ports. Including an Ethernet, V.92 Modem, Microphone in- and out, PC-card slot (PCMCIA Type-II), 3-USB ports, I-EEE port (for hard drives, external media drives [CD-RW, DVD, etc.]), there is also a VGA monitor out-port, and an S-Video out. The thing that I liked the most was the volume control. Toshiba placed a separate hardware button/switch on the side to control volume instead of incorporating it into the keyboard; which I actually disklike. That built-in hardware volume control is nice for a budget laptop, where you usually don’t see such a feature.
The Toshiba Satellite M35X is a great value notebook. However, I would recommend getting something with more memory and a Pentium M processor if you have the money. But if what you really want is a budget laptop with as much bang for the buck as you can get, then the Toshiba Satellite M35X is certainly worth a look.
- Long battery life
- Nice neon-glowing lights
- Very ergonomic design and keyboard
- Thin design, but still powerful
- The mobile Celeron M processor can lag at sometimes
- System gets very hot so quickly
- Fan gets noisy and annoying especially when it kicks in, randomly
- Small touchpad caused my hand to cramp
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