Toshiba recently sent us the 17-inch screen Satellite P105-S6217 for review. This unit is aimed squarely at the fattest portion of the notebook computer market bell curve — the home PC market. Given the size of the The P105 it falls into the desktop replacement category. Weighing in at about 7.5lbs and with a 17-inch screen you won’t want to be hauling this big boy around too much, but it’s certainly portable enough when the need arises.
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In the U.S. the P105 series comes in two flavors; the customizable P100 available at ToshibaDirect.com (starting at $1,000) and as various pre-configured SKUs sold under the P105 family. The specific SKU under review is the Vista Premium loaded S6217. Toshiba recently pulled all of the P105 models that had Windows XP installed and are now exclusively offering Vista on the P105 series.
Specs of Toshiba P105-S6217 as reviewed:
- Processor:Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5500
- Memory: 2GB PC-4200 DDR2 Memory
- Hard Drive: 200GB Serial ATA Hard Drive
- Screen: 17.0-inch Widescreen TruBrite LCD 1440 x 900 resolution
- OS: Windows Vista Home Premium
- TV Tuner: Toshiba USB HDTV Tuner –
- Graphics: nVidia GeForce Go 7300 with 128MB SDRAM
- Communications: Toshiba V.92 Software Modem Intel PRO Network Connection 10/100/1000 Base-TX Ethernet Integrated Wireless LAN Network Connection 3945ABG 802.11a/b/g
- 4 USB 2.0 ports
- 1 FireWire (also known as IEEE 1394 or i.Link)
- 1 VGA monitor port
- 1 S-Video out
- 1 PCMCIA (or PC Card) slot (Type II, PCMCIA R2.01, PC Card16, CardBus)
- 1 ExpressCard/54 Slot (also supports ExpressCard/34)
- 5-in-1 memory card reader (Secure Digital, MultiMedia, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, xD Picture Card)
- 1 headphone jack, 1 microphone jack
- 1 S/PDIF digital audio output (for connecting to a home theater receiver)
- Dimensions: Width 15.5 x Depth 10.8 x Height 1.41 inch Weight – 7.1 pounds
For detailed specs from Toshiba for the P105-S6217 view this PDF.
Build and Design
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The Toshiba P105 front is thin and thickens towards the rear where the bulk of the components such as hard drive, CPU, GPU, and respective heatsink/fans are located. This gives it the illusion that it’s thinner than it actually is, which is great. The top cover features an Onyx Blue metallic look that’s very stylish I must say. From a distance it may appear black. The downside to the shiny lid is that it will attract finger prints.
The P105 possesses a matte silver interior finish with piano black speakers that looks refined and understated. The silver media buttons at the top of the keyboard blend in well yet are easy to read and push.
The screen hinges are very tight, ensuring you won’t get a wobbly screen when typing on this notebook. A latch also ensures that the lid stays firmly closed.
Underside view of Toshiba P105 (view large image)
There’s no flex at all to the case of the P105. The chassis is very sturdy and firm feeling. The lid seems to be made of a magnesium composite material and offers good protection, while the rest of the casing is plastic and thick enough to feel rugged. Unfortunately the keyboard does have flex issues in the middle areas. Another bummer is that Toshiba gives you cheap plastic inserts to protect the PCMCIA / ExpressCard slot instead of the far superior option of using a flap.
Closeup of status lights above the media card reader (view large image)
With a travel weight of just under 8 lbs, the P105 is far from light, but it does not seem too heavy when you carry it around. This opinion might change if I took it on the road with me, but for lugging around the house the P100 would be fine.
Glossy screens are still all the rage on home notebooks, and as such the P105 uses Toshiba’s TruBrite screen coating. The result is a great looking high contrast 17" display that would be ideal for movie watching. Native resolution for the screen is 1440 x 900 pixels. The viewing angle on this screen is very good, certainly above par. There is no ghosting whatsoever.
A small amount of light leakage can be seen at the bottom of the screen (view large image)
The only downsides I can find to this screen is that I’d actually like to see it go one notch of brightness higher and when the screen is displaying darker colors you can see a bit of light leakage at the bottom of the screen where the backlight is located.
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The speakers are from harmon/kardon and located at the front of the laptop. The speaker clarity is fantastic, definitely some of the best notebooks speakers I’ve heard. Unfortunately Toshiba decided to omit a built in "subwoofer" in the P100 series making it sub par when compared to offerings for their Qosmio series that does offer a sub-woofer and thus more bass action.
Keyboard, Touchpad and Fingerprint Reader
Keyboard view (view large image)
The keyboard on the P105 is middling. The large size is great, but the flip side of that is that with this size you get some flexing issues. The top middle area, especially in the "R", "T", "Y", "U" area of the keyboard, you can see the keys sink when you push down.
Closeup of top media buttons (view large image)
While I appreciate having the numeric keypad built-in, Toshiba’s design results in smaller right “Shift”, “/” , “\”, and “.” and "Enter" keys. So far I have been able to adapt to this keyboard layout, but I still have some hesitation when reaching for any of the modified keys.
Touchpad in regular mode (view large image)
Touchpad with dual mode enabled (view large image)
The touchpad is a "dual mode" pad. It functions well with no problems, though it could be slightly bigger. If one taps in the upper right-hand corner the touchpad illuminates and icons are highlighted that you can push to activate e-mail, Toshiba diagnostics, printing and three user defined program launch buttons plus a volume control.
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The integrated fingerprint reader includes software to remember passwords and to lock any sensitive documents. It’s a nice to have feature I suppose, but I find myself being able to type a password faster than the action it takes to lift a hand and swipe a finger and wait for the finger stroke to register.
Heat and Noise
The fan on the P105-S6217 has behaved a little strangely in my usage. It remains mostly off but every few minutes will quickly rev up to puff out some air, and then as quickly as it cut-in will cut-out once again. This can be annoying in an office environment that is fairly quiet such as where I work. My co-workers gave me some strange looks. If you’re in a room with ambient noise then the fan noise is not so noticeable.
The notebook remained mostly cool, certainly no heat issues on the top side so usage was comfortable, and just the expected mild heat buildup on the bottom side, nothing to write home about.
Input and Output Ports
Toshiba includes just about every connector you could want including both the ExpressCard slot and classic PCMCIA Type II slot. The standard data jacks include 4 USB 2.0, 4 pin Firewire IEEE1394, Gigabit Ethernet and an RJ-45 Modem. Audio / Video connections include headphone, microphone, S/PDIF, VGA, S-Video, and Hi-Def DVI-I port. Rounding it out with a multi-card reader with support for SD, Sony Memory Stick/Pro, and xD though no support for CompactFlash or Micro/MiniSD.
Front view of Toshiba Satellite P105 (view large image)
Left side view of Toshiba Satellite P105 (view large image)
Right view of Toshiba Satellite P105 (view large image)
Back view of Toshiba Satellite P105 (view large image)
In general the ports are well placed and spread out in a useful manner. Toshiba put the headphone jack on the front side, this is annoying if you want to use external speakers, which for a desktop replacement style notebook is probably quite likely.
Processor and Performance
The Satellite P105 series can be configured in a variety of ways. Anywhere from having a Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz processor and Nvidia Go 7900GTX card to a low-end Core Duo processor with integrated graphics. The S6217 configuration falls somewhere in the middle in terms of power options. It has a low-end Core 2 Duo 1.66GHz processor and low-end Nvidia Go 7300 graphics card — but at least it has dedicated graphics, which is superior over integrated. The 200GB drive is great for storage size, but not great for speed as it spins at 4200RPM. The 2GB of memory is very helpful given the fact Vista Premium is loaded, the OS is a major memory hog so 2GB is definitely what you’ll want.
Overall performance is decent, but with the Vista OS and tons of bloatware installed the startup is quite slow. You’ll want to uninstall some applications such as Yahoo Music (which wants to play all of your music files) and I even found it necessary to uninstall Google Desktop — it was causing some freezing and odd screen behavior when running. I think the Vista built in search is good enough and don’t know why you’d want Google Desktop search installed anyway — but it’s there.
There’s not enough power for serious gaming, but certainly more than enough to run all necessary aspects of Windows Vista and typical office applications. For any mainstream user the power this machine packs is just fine.
Super Pi Comparison Results
Super Pi forces the processor to calculate Pi to 2 million digits of accuracy and gives an idea of the processor speed and performance:
|Toshiba Satellite P105-S6217 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 20s|
|Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo)||1m 28s|
|Fujitsu LifeBook N6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo)||1m 22s|
|LG S1 (2.16 GHz Core Duo)||1m 11s|
|Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 16s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Toshiba Satellite M100 (2.00GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)||1m 29s|
|Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)||1m 53s|
The table below compares the PCMark05 test results with some other notebooks.
|Toshiba Satellite P105-S6217 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia Go 7300)||3,631 PCMarks|
|Samsung Q35 (1.83GHz Core 2 Duo T5600, Intel 945GM)||3,059 PCMarks|
|Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700)||4,555 PCMarks|
|Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo T2300, ATI X1400)||3,456 PCMarks|
|Asus V6J (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7400)||4,265 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu Lifebook A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo T5500, Intel GMA 950)||2,994 PC Marks|
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, nVidia GeForce Go 7400)||4,234 PCMarks|
|Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, nVidia Go 7400)||3,646 PCMarks|
|Lenovo Thinkpad R60 (1.66 Core Duo T2300E , Intel 950)||2,975 PCMarks|
Comparison results for 3DMark05
3DMark05 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook, below is how the Satellite P105-S6217 did compared to other notebooks:
|Notebook||3D Mark 05 Results|
|Toshiba Satellite P105-S6217 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia Go 7300)||1,643 3DMarks|
|Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950)||519 3DMarks|
|Alienware Aurora M-7700(AMD Dual Core FX-60, ATI X1600 256MB)||7,078 3D Marks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)||2,092 3D Marks|
|Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI x700 128 MB)||2,530 3D Marks|
|Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)||2,273 3DMarks|
|HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB)||2,536 3D Marks|
|Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 256MB)||2,090 3D Marks|
The P105 is a desktop replacement notebook and not really designed for straying too far from an outlet. The battery life of only 1 hour that I got should convince you of this fact. That’s right, leave wireless on and screen brightness at medium and you’re talking just a hair over 1 hour before the battery is drained.
Toshiba includes the Intel 3945 card that supports 802.11 a/b/g — no Pre-N supported in this system. That and no Bluetooth is a bit of a disappointment. However, the 3945 wireless card is proven and works well, I had no issues with this laptop connecting to a wireless router in a hotel or office location I tested it in.
Software and OS
The P105-S6217 comes with Vista Premium loaded. Much has been said about Windows Vista in general, so I won’t get into the details other than saying the system runs the OS quite well. If you’ve been on XP for a long time then it’ll take some getting used to Vista — Windows Media Player with no menu bar is a particular challenge for me to figure out how to use for some reason. However, there’s no denying this OS is pretty, offers more features and is the future — you’ll just have to be ready to do some learning on how to get around the OS.
Toshiba includes some of its own software applications such as Disc Creator, Recovery Disc Creator, Speech System and Wireless Config (which has a nice little radar of nearby wireless networks). Third-party software titles include Microsoft Works 8.5, Microsoft Office OneNote 2007, InterVideo WinDVD 8 SD and Creator 2 Platinum, Google Desktop and Toolbar, McAfee Internet Security Suite (with 30-day trial), Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student Edition (60-day trial), Yahoo! Music — and a bunch of other trial software. I think you get the point, there’s an over abundance of trial software here, yes it’s typical with any laptop these days.
External USB TV Tuner
This particular configuration of the Satellite P105 comes with an external TV tuner that connects via USB. If you’re going to replace your desktop computer, why not get rid of the TV at the same time? Well, maybe not, the viewing experience isn’t quite on par with a TV but it’s a pretty cool value added feature that allows you to watch and record TV on the P105. This feature is especially nice for a dorm room where you can save on space by integrating one more essential aspect of life (and TV is just that!) into another device.
Toshiba calls the P105 "Feature Rich. Value Priced." I think that’s a fair assessment. You can get the P105 for starting at around $999. This particular configuration is a bit more since you get the TV tuner included, Windows Vista Premium and 2GB of RAM. But for $1,499 or so that’s not bad. Looks wise the P105 is certainly better than the equivalent Dell e1705 17" laptop and on par with the HP dv9000 17" laptop offering.
It’s great that you can configure the P100 in so many ways, from a $1,999 machine with an Nvidia Go 7900GTX card to a $999 budget model with Windows Vista Basic installed. No matter how you configure it you get a laptop that’s built well and will be great for multimedia with its nice screen, array of ports and excellent sound from the harman kardon speakers. The keyboard could be better, less installed junkware would be nice and there’s only room for improvement from the poor battery life but outside of that there’s little to complain about the P105.
- Nice design with the Blue Onyx lid, looks thinner than it actually is with the sloping front
- Speakers provide quality sound
- Very sturdy body and no flexing to the case
- Flexible options and configurations to fit anyone’s budget and requirements
- Quality display, glossy finish and bold colors will appeal to those seeking multimedia laptop
- Fan has weird behavior, will kick in and out quickly and can get annoying
- Battery life of only 1 hour is poor
- A ton of junk software pre-installed slows the system down
- Keyboard has some flex issues and odd sized buttons on the right side