Toshiba Satellite P25 Notebook Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (36,986)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 5
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 5
      • Usability
      • 5
      • Design
      • 5
      • Performance
      • 5
      • Features
      • 5
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 5
      • Total Score:
      • 5.00
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

by Martin Turney

The Toshiba Satellite P25 is a desktop replacement style notebook.  With one look at this Toshiba laptop I fell in love with the design and features available.  The P25 is one stylish notebook, from its blue metallic top to its Silver metallic insides and high gloss black accents.  The first thing you will notice when you open the lid is that the P25 has a big, bright, and beautiful 17″ Widescreen display sporting a 1440 by 900 pixel resolution.



Toshiba P25 Specs:

Toshiba Satellite P25 Front view (view larger image)

This review and specs are based on a P25-S526 model.

  • 3.2GHz Processor Intel Pentium 4 with Hyper threading technology (3.4GHz is available in the P25-S676 model)
  • 512MB memory expandable to 2G (one memory slot open) both slots may be occupied on some models.
  • 80GB hard drive
  • DVD-SuperMulti drive
  • 17″ Widescreen WXGA TFT active matrix display
  • V.92/56K modem
  • 10/100 Ethernet LAN
  • WiFi 802.11b/802.11g
  • 800 MHz System Bus speed
  • NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 graphics card with 64MB DDR
  • TV-Out port (S-video)
  • Harmom/Kardon stereo speakers
  • S/D card slot

Design & Ports

Toshiba P25 Above view (view larger image)

Satellite P25 series notebooks come with all the standard ports and slots: four USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, VGA out, parallel, S-Video, 56K modem, 10/100 Ethernet, line out, microphone, headphone, and IrDA, plus a dual Type II PC Card and one SD card slot. Some Satellite P25-models, such as the S607, include a TV-tuner module, installed in one of the two front-facing modular bays. Jacks for a cable hookup and composite video in both require the included adapter cables. Unfortunately, because the notebook’s battery and DVD-rewritable drive also use the modular bays, one or the other has to go to make room for the TV tuner.

Toshiba P25 Front-side (view larger image)

Toshiba P25 Left-side (view larger image)

Toshiba P25 Right-side (view larger image)

Toshiba P25 Rear-side (view larger image)

Overall the Toshiba P25 laptop has a very unique design.  The corners are rounded for comfort.  If you look closely at the notebook you will be hard pressed to find an exact straight edge.  Even the long edges have a slight curve to them, making for not only a sleek look, but a comfortable feel when carrying the device.  The DVD and CD controls are located on the front middle, but just slightly under the front edge.  This placement ensures you do not inadvertently press a button while in the middle of watching your favorite DVD.  By default these buttons are turned off.  You just have to push the mode button for 4 seconds to activate them; the same action will deactivate them if they are currently active. A unique feature is that you can play audio CDs without having the laptop turned on.  This means you don’t have to boot to Windows in order to play CDs.  The DVD/CD tray is uniquely located at the front of the notebook; it comes out forward towards you when opening.  At first I thought this was going to be a downfall in design, but after using the notebook in my recliner, I found that because of the large 17″ screen the notebook is wider than most and fits perfectly in my lap between the recliners arm rests.  If I were sitting in my favorite recliner and wanted to pop the CD tray out to the side, it would be challenged by the arm of the chair, so this front loading design turned out to be a plus in my case!  If you have the P25 placed on a desk it might also be easier to access the drive from a front location.  The drive doesn’t pop out far enough that you would have to back away from your desk when opening it, so in actual fact the access is easier by having the drive here..  USB ports are located on both the side and rear of the notebook, it’s best to plug devices that you won’t switch out much, such as a printer, to the back of the notebook and a device such as a USB flash drive into one of the side USB ports.

Toshiba P25 Lid-Up Rear-view (view larger image)

Included 3rd Party Software:

  • Windows XP home edition. (some P25-models have XP Pro, like the P25-S5261)
  • Microsoft Works
  • Win-DVD4
  • Drag and Drop CD+DVD software
  • InterVideo WinDVD Creator 2 Platinum
  • Quicken New User Edition 2004
  • Norton’s Anti-Virus 2004 with limited 3 month live updates

Included Toshiba Software:

  • Toshiba Notebook Maximizer
  • Toshiba ConfigFree
  • Toshiba Utilities 

I normally go through a new notebook and delete a lot of the manufacturer’s software, but found Toshiba’s software very helpful.  Notebook Maximizer and “Software Update” is very easy to use and helpful.

DVD-SuperMulti drive

I was pleased the Toshiba P25 came equipped with a DVD burner that is capable of burning DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM disc.  Although this drive is branded as a DVD-SuperMulti drive, you can still burn CDs.  DVDs are great for large amounts of data, but as the blank DVD discs are more expensive you’ll want to stick with CD-R and CD-RW discs as data storage media when you have under 740MB of data.

Toshiba P25 DVD Movie-Viewing (view larger image)

Wi-Fi

The P25 I have comes with an integrated 802.11 b/g card.  Built-in Wi-Fi is an important feature to have in any laptop you buy these days.  I have tried the P25 with both my older D-Link (802.11b standard) AirPlus Access point and with my new Linksys 2.4GHz (802.11g standard) wireless router. The Toshiba P25 performed perfectly with both models.  Compared to my older laptop in which I used a PCMCIA card that stuck out of the notebook, I have found that the P25 built-in Wi-Fi gets a much better signal strength then my older laptop.

Touchpad

The touchpad on the P25 is straight forward.  Toshiba provided a utility that allows you to turn off the touchpad and use an external mouse if you prefer that method of input.  The one item lacking in this laptop was the ability to turn off the touchpad’s “TAP” for clicking.  In case you are not familiar with a touchpad device, when you tap on a touchpad it registers the same as a left mouse button double-click.  Most touchpads have a utility to disable the “TAP” feature so when you are sliding your finger up the pad and need to remove it and continue your slide, it does not register as a double click and dom something such as launch a hyperlink.  I called Toshiba about this issue and they said a new Alps driver would be out soon to provide this functionality of disabling the tap.  Toshiba recommended waiting for the release of the exact driver designed for the P25 notebook, but did mention drivers already existed for other Toshiba notebooks that allowed users to do this.  Having found out about these drivers and locating them on the Toshiba website, I couldn’t help but try them out to see if they worked for the P25.  And guess what?  They did!  So I was able to download an Alps touchpad driver from Toshiba’s web site and disable all the touchpad’s special features without a problem.

Noise

The P25 has virtually no noticeable noise to speak of, even though it is a large notebook and you would expect for it to generate quite a bit of sound.  The hard drive is very quiet.  During intense CPU usage, such as when gaming or using multiple applications, the fans can come on and have an air moving sound to them, but there is no annoying fan whine to speak of. 

Physical size

There is no getting around the size.  If you want a 17″ notebook you’re most likely going to have to deal with a laptop that’s rather heavy.  And there’s no exception for the P25.  This notebook is large, and weighs in at about 10lbs.  If you need to be on the move a lot, this may not be the best choice for you.  But if you’re like me and want a big beautiful 17″ screen, super performance, then this is the notebook of choice.  The Toshiba P25 is without a doubt classified as a desktop replacement style notebook.  So if you want to chuck your desktop computer and yet still want something that has a large screen for easy viewing and a good amount of power, then the P25 might be right for you..

Warranty

The Toshiba P25 comes with a standard 1 year parts and labor warranty.  When purchasing the P25, as with any Toshiba laptop, the warranty is upgradeable for additional accidental damage coverage.

Performance:

Mobile application performance

The Satellite P25 finishes ahead in mobile performance in a test group consisting of the Fujitsu N5000 series and Eurocom D470W Impressa.  The P25 has been configured so that its desktop processor throttles minimally, allowing it to score higher than its competitors. The Eurocom D470W Impressa’s and Fujitsu LifeBook N 5000’s CPU throttling is configured in each system’s BIOS; as you can see from the scores, their CPUs throttle a lot lower than the Satellite P25’s does. The Eurocom D47W’s moderate throttling keeps its mobile score at about midrange. The Fujitsu LifeBook N series throttles its CPU the most, thus its performance drags.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars represent better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 performance rating   
Toshiba Satellite P25
196 
Eurocom D470W Impressa
152 
Fujitsu Lifebook N series
116 

SysMark2002 performance

The Satellite P25 comes out on top in the SysMark2002 test when compared against the same group of laptops.  SysMark is a program that measures a desktop’s performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).  With the SysMark application each laptop is cranked up to maximum performance, and the P25 beat its nearest competitor, the Eurocom D470W Impressa by 10 points. The Satellite P25 did its most impressive work in office productivity applications, where it beat the Eurocom D470W by 12 points. This is not surprising, because the office-productivity test taxes the hard drive, and the Satellite P25’s 5,400rpm hard drive is faster than the Eurocom’s.

Notebook Performance at Maximum Processor Speed (longer bars represent better performance)
BAPCo SysMark2002 rating   
SysMark2002 Internet content creation   
SysMark2002 office productivity   
Toshiba Satellite P25
254 
367 
176 
Eurocom D470W Impressa
244 
364 
164 
Fujitsu Lifebook N series
237 
348 
162 

Graphics performance:

The Satellite P25 placed second in a 3D graphics performance test. This is somewhat surprising, considering the system includes a powerful Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 64MB graphics adapter.

Futuremark’s 3D Graphics Performance Test (longer bars represent better performance)   
Fujitsu Lifebook N series
7,324 
Toshiba Satellite P25
7,012 
Eurocom D470W Impressa
6,807 

If you desire even better graphics performance than what the GeForce 5200 provicdes, then you can also find an NVIDIA GeForce Go5700 128MB RAM graphics card in models like P25-S676.

In real world usage, and by this I mean when you actually sit down and use the notebook as opposed to running benchmark tests, the system reacts fast. The notebook never seems to lag or get bogged down.

Price

Price varies greatly between models.  But all the Toshiba P25 series are worth the money.  If you are looking for a powerful, fast, stylish, wide screen, full featured desktop replacement notebook, this is the right choice.  

 


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