Toshiba Satellite A305 Review

by Reads (206,121)

by Kevin O’Brien

The Toshiba Satellite A305 is a redesign of the older A205, vastly improving the look and feel of the notebook, as well as adding the incredibly durable Fusion finish. While some of the lower body looks similar to the older notebook, everything from the waistline up has changed to a sleeker, softer, and glossier feel. Read on to see how well this notebook stacks up against its older brother, and find out if this notebook is worthy of a spot on your lap.

Our review unit of the Toshiba Satellite A305 features the following specs:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium (SP1, 32-bit)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T8100 (2.10GHz, 3MB L2, 800MHz FSB)
  • 15.4" diagonal widescreen TruBrite TFT LCD display at 1280×800 (WXGA)
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 with 512MB video memory
  • Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN (802.11a/g/n)
  • 3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM (maximum capacity 4GB)
  • 200GB Serial ATA hard disk drive (5400RPM) Primary
  • 200GB Serial ATA hard disk drive (4200RPM) Secondary
  • DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive with Labelflash
  • 1.3 megapixel webcam
  • Harmon/Kardon stereo speakers
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 14.25" x 10.5" x 1.4" /2.25"
  • Weight: 6 lbs 13.5oz with nine-cell battery
  • 120W (19V x 6.32A) 100-240V AC Adapter (6.0" x 2.55" x 1.45" and weighs 1.56 lb)
  • 9-cell (6000mAh) Lithium Ion battery
  • 1-Year Standard Limited Warranty
  • Price as configured: $1,249.99

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Build and Design

The first thing you will notice is every part of this notebook is glossy, from the screen cover to the palm rest, and even the keyboard keys. Toshiba is really showing off their new durable Fusion finish on every part of the notebook that they can, and in some ways it is a very good thing. Durability is a big thing with notebook finishes, as many glossy finishes will dull and scratch over time. The new Toshiba Fusion finish on this notebook is incredibly durable, and has yet to actually scratch throughout my testing. With multiple trips in my backpack, I can’t find any visible scuffs on the cover, where other notebooks would show fine scratches almost out of the wrapper.

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So what does this Fusion finish mean to you? Your keys will not go from matte to glossy over time as they wear down (they are already glossy). Every part of the notebook will get full of smudges and fingerprints, but you can always wipe it down in a couple of minutes to make it look brand new. On other notebooks you get all the smudges, but it would take some hard work with some plastic polish before you ever got it looking new again.

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Build quality is excellent in most areas, giving the notebook a very solid feel. Squeaks and creaks are not present, and panel flex is at a minimum. The only areas that stand out as needing some improvement are the wobbly battery, and rough edges around the screen frame where the two plastic pieces meet.

Body Changes

The new Satellite A305 changes quite a bit of its design, while still retaining some resemblance of its older A205 brother. The biggest change is the use of the new durable Fusion finish, which can be found on practically every surface of the notebook, from the top cover to the individual keyboard keys. Unlike the older glossy surface that would scuff with minimal effort, the Fusion finish holds up very well, and I have yet to find any fine scratches or other wear on it.

The keyboard and surrounding area has changed quite a bit form the older A205, including touch sensitive multimedia keys, which are all the rage these days on most notebooks. Another change is the flush touchpad area, which is surprisingly slick with its textured surface. It is almost too easy to slide your finger around on it, and slip off onto the palm rest. The touchpad buttons have also changed quite a bit, going from rectangular slabs to chromed ovals which are easier to trigger, as well as being more comfortable to use.


The screen quality is above average for glossy screens, with an evenly bright backlight and vibrant colors. Backlight bleed is minimal, meaning better game play in dark scenes without areas getting washed out. Viewing angles are adequate, with a wide horizontal range, but shallow vertical range. When tilting the screen back, you will have to find a sweet spot, and going out of that means washed out or inverted colors.

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Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard on the Satellite A305 is made up of high gloss painted keys, which is fairly unique as far as mainstream notebooks go. The look is excellent, and goes very well with the silver striped glossy notebook. The feel is even better. There is just something about typing on a soft glossy surface that makes long typing very comfortable. Even things like gaming seem to work better, letting you easily slide from one key to the next with minimal drag.

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One disappointing aspect of the keyboard is that it is not backlit, as that could be the only possible way to make it even more awesome. Hopefully this keyboard stays the same in the Qosmio, and gets some special backlit treatment. Below are some images showing how the backlights look in a dark room (the Satellite logo, media button and touchpad backlights can be disabled).

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The touchpad is mounted flush with the palm rest, with the only indication of it being a touchpad at all is a semi-smooth textured overlay. I don’t know what the surface is made out of, but it is oddly slippery. No matter if your fingertip is mildly sweaty or perfectly dry, it doesn’t stick to the surface. For anyone who has used a notebook for hours on end, you know that eventually your fingers start to stick on some touchpad surfaces, this surface somehow prevents that. In use the sensitivity is excellent, with a wide range of adjustment offered through the Synaptics driver control panel.

The touchpad buttons are very nice, reminding me of the chrome bumpers on older cars. They feel soft to the touch without any hard defined edges, and even though they have very shallow feedback, they are probably some of the best touchpad buttons I have used.


For a notebook that costs $1,250 retail, you get a nicely equipped gaming rig that is hard to beat in performance or build quality. Mating the Penryn based Intel T8100 with the ATI Radeon 3650 gives outstanding overall performance, and easily copes with most modern games. The dual hard drive setup lets users gain additional space, as well as opens up the door for future expansion for even greater storage space without replacing the main system drive.

wPrime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, the advantage of this program is that it is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, thereby giving more accurate benchmarking measurements than Super Pi. (Lower numbers mean better performance.)

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
Toshiba Satellite A305 (Core 2 Duo T8100 @ 2.1GHz) 36.442s
Asus M51S (Core 2 Duo T5550 @ 1.83GHz) 46.293s
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 (Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz) 50.184s
HP Pavilion dv6700t (Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz) 50.480s
Dell Inspiron 1525 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 43.569s
Dell XPS M1530 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz)
Portable One SXS37 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 41.908s
Sony VAIO NR (Core 2 Duo T5250 @ 1.5GHz) 58.233s
Toshiba Tecra A9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 38.343s
Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.299s
HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 40.965s
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz) 76.240s
Zepto 6024W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 42.385s
Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.705s
Alienware M5750 (Core 2 Duo T7600 @ 2.33GHz) 38.327s
Hewlett Packard DV6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 38.720s
Samsung Q70 (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 42.218s
Acer Travelmate 8204WLMi (Core Duo T2500 @ 2.0GHz) 42.947s
Samsung X60plus (Core 2 Duo T7200 @ 2.0GHz) 44.922s
Zepto Znote 6224W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 45.788s
Samsung Q35 (Core 2 Duo T5600 @ 1.83GHz) 46.274s


3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance (higher scores mean better performance):

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
Toshiba Satellite A305 (2.10GHz Intel T8100, ATI Radeon 3650 512MB)
3,810 3DMarks
Asus M51S (1.83GHz Intel T5550, Nvidia 9500M GS 512MB) 3,749 3DMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Intel X3100) 543 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 1,556 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 545 3DMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 504 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 4,332 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 2,905 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,408 3DMarks
Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU) 1,069 3DMarks
Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 2,344 3DMarks
Alienware Area 51 m5550 (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB 2,183 3DMarks
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,819 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance (higher scores mean better performance):

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Toshiba Satellite A305 (2.10GHz Intel T8100, ATI Radeon 3650 512MB)
5,622 PCMarks
Asus M51S (1.83GHz Intel T5550, Nvidia 9500M GS 512MB) 4,649 PCMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Intel X3100) 3,749 PCMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 3,386 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 4,149 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 5,412 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 4,616 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,591 PCMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 3,283 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 4,153 PCMarks
Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,987 PCMarks
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks

HDTune results:

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The Harmon/Kardon speakers included on the A305 were excellent for gaming and watching movies. Unlike many normal notebook speakers, you can actually hear a hint of bass, which is welcome for speakers of this size. Volume levels that would easily annoy those around you could be reached without distortion.

Headphone performance was also very nice, providing clear, static-free audio.

Ports and Features

When it comes to ports Toshiba didn’t hold anything back from the A305; packing every square inch of this notebook with a wide array of ports all around the sides.

  • ExpressCard slot (ExpressCard/34 and Express Card/54)
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • Modem jack
  • 5-in-1 media card reader
  • VGA out, S-Video, HDMI
  • Microphone input port
  • Headphone output port
  • IEEE-1394 (FireWire)
  • Four USB 2.0 ports (with "Sleep and Charge")
  • 5 in 1 SD-Card Reader

Left: VGA, S-Video, HDMI, LAN, 2 USB, Firewire, Expresscard/54.

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Front: Wireless On/Off, SD-Card Reader, Mic/Headphone, Volume.

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Right: 2 USB, Optical Drive, AC Power, Kensington Lock Slot.

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Rear view: No ports on this side.

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Heat and Noise

Thermal performance of the Toshiba A305 was above average, with mild fan noise at low and high speeds, and the notebook staying relativity cool during game play. One area that did get kind of warm that is worth mentioning is the touchpad, which would reach almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit after the notebook had been on for a while.

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Battery Life

Our review unit came with the larger 9-cell extended battery, which ended up not performing as well as we would have hoped because of constant background processes. With the notebook on the balanced power profile, and brightness to 50 percent, the notebook managed 2 hours and 50 minutes before it had to be shut down.


The Toshiba Satellite A305 is an excellent upgrade and overhaul to the older lackluster A205 notebook. The design looks great, the finish is awesome, the performance is outstanding, and the price is much lower than expected. I would have no problem recommending this notebook to friends and family, and right now it is almost too tempting to go out and buy one for myself.


  • Above average LCD
  • Slick keyboard (literally)
  • Touch sensitive media keys
  • Flush mount touchpad with great surface texture
  • Excellent performance
  • Outstanding price
  • Great Harmon/Kardon Speakers


  • Warm touchpad
  • Reflective surface can blind others with its awesomeness
  • Wobbly 9-cell battery



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