- Good performance
- Backlit keyboard
- Blu-ray drive
- Cheap feel to construction
- No discrete graphics option
- Integrated touchpad buttons don't work well
A good 14-inch laptop with lots of features and nice looks but it "feels" like a low-cost PC.
The new Toshiba E305 is a Best Buy exclusive laptop with a 14-inch screen and a street price around $900. Packed with an Intel Core i5 “Sandy Bridge” processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a Blu-ray drive, is this the next great family PC? Keep reading to find out.
Toshiba Satellite E305 (E305-S1990X) Specifications:
- 14.0-inch 720p (1366×768) display with LED backlighting
- Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
- Intel Core i5-2410M processor (2.3GHz, 3MB cache, 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Intel HD Graphics with Intel Wireless Display Technology
- 4GB DDR3 RAM (1333MHz)
- 500GB 7200RPM hard drive (Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid drive with 4GB of flash memory)
- 802.11b/g/n wireless
- Blu-ray/DVD SuperMulti (+/- Double Layer)
- Warranty: 2-Yr Standard Limited Warranty (1-Yr on Battery)
- 6-cell Li-ion battery (67Wh) and 65W power adapter
- Weight: 4.95 lbs
- Dimensions: 13.46 x 9.13 x 1.25 inches
- MSRP: $1,089.99 ($899.99 at Best Buy)
Since the E305 is available exclusively at Best Buy, I can’t help but feel that the “MSRP” of $1,089.99 is slightly disingenuous since Best Buy has been selling it for $899.99 from day one. Despite that minor quibble over the price, you do get a reasonably well-equipped notebook for about $900.
Build and Design
At first glance the new Satellite E305 has many design elements in common with the other Toshiba notebooks currently on the market. The rounded clamshell chassis wrapped in a combination of plastic and aluminum is a mixture of silver and black. Unlike last year’s E205, this Best Buy “blue label” exclusive isn’t covered in a metallic blue paint job … something we’re happy to see. The new E305 looks slightly more like a “premium” notebook compared to the laptop from last year … but your opinion might change after you pick it up.
The screen lid and the top panel that surrounds the keyboard are both made of textured aluminum but the metal cladding is quite thin and flexible similar to the plastics you find on most Toshiba notebooks. In fact, my first reaction when reading about the “aluminum finish” on the E305 was to say, “This isn’t aluminum.” However, upon closer examination it is indeed aluminum … it’s just very thin. The crosshatched pattern on the lid and the palm rests helps prevent fingerprint smudges and scratches from showing up as easily as they do on an Apple MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, but the Toshiba simply doesn’t feel as durable.
The combination of thin aluminum panels and plastic construction results in a main chassis that flexes under pressure and squeaks softly when you squeeze it next to the built-in Blu-ray drive. The screen hinges on this model are reasonably tight and hold the screen in position when you move the laptop from one location to another. I suspect this laptop will survive quite well as a desktop replacement and can handle regular travel as long as it’s packed inside a good laptop bag, but I’d be hesitant to carry the E305 with me every day without some added protection.
The bottom of the notebook is rather lacking in terms of upgrade options. Thankfully, Toshiba includes a fast 500GB hard drive inside the E305 (the Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid drive) so you might not need to upgrade the storage. In addition, there is no convenient access panel for upgrading the RAM. In fact, all the screws that hold the notebook together are covered with small rubber stoppers. Toshiba only gives you a small panel on the bottom of the notebook with access to the wireless card in case you need to replace or upgrade that component. In short, this isn’t a laptop designed for people who want to buy aftermarket upgrades.
Ports and Features
The new Satellite E305 features a reasonably nice collection of ports. You now get two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 “Super Speed” port for connecting standard accessories. There is no ExpressCard slot for adding new ports, but you do get dual video out ports: a VGA connection for old-school projectors and HDMI for new monitors and HDTVs. Toshiba was also kind enough to provide a Blu-ray drive (even if the built-in screen doesn’t support 1080p resolution) and the E305 comes with Intel Wireless Display technology so you can wirelessly connect your laptop to a compatible HDTV or connect it to an HDTV with a wireless adapter.
Front view: Memory card slot and speakers
Rear view: No ports
Left side: Power jack, Ethernet, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Blu-ray multi-drive
Right side: Audio jacks, USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA and lock slot