Toshiba Satellite P305 Review

by Reads (38,922)

by Kevin O’Brien

The Satellite P305 is the latest Intel-based 17" notebook from Toshiba. This notebook is a complete refresh of the older P205 series model, with a brand new durable fusion finish, and a much sleeker design. Toshiba offers a wide range of configuration options for this notebook, with processors going from the Intel Pentium T2370 to the latest T9300 Penryn based Core 2 Duo. Three graphics options are available with this notebook online, ranging from Intel X3100 integrated graphics to the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 dedicated graphics card to let users configure it just the way they want to. Read on to see how well this notebook stands up through our testing.

Our Toshiba P305 review unit had the following specifications:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium (SP1, 32-bit)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 (1.83GHz)
  • 17.1" diagonal widescreen TruBrite TFT LCD display at 1440×900 (WXGA+)
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 (256MB + up to 767MB shared)
  • Intel 3945ABG 802.11a/b/g
  • 3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM (maximum capacity 4GB)
  • 320GB 5400rpm Toshiba Hard Drive
  • DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive with Labelflash
  • 1.3 megapixel webcam
  • Harmon/Kardon stereo speakers
  • Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 15.7" x 11.3" x 1.6/1.75"
  • Weight: 7 lbs 8.8oz with six-cell battery
  • 75W (19V x 3.95A) 100-240V AC Adapter
  • 6-cell (4000mAh) Lithium Ion battery
  • 1-Year Standard Limited Warranty
  • Price as configured: $1,009.99

Build and Design

First thing you will notice about the P305 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 laptop 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.


(view large image)

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.

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 notebook did have one minor flaw though; just like the A305 and A305D, the P305 has rough edges around the screen frame where the two plastic pieces meet. If you can get past that (I don’t see why not) you will love this notebook.

Body Changes

The new Satellite P305 changes quite a bit of its design, while still retaining some resemblance of its older P205 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 P205, including touch sensitive multimedia keys, which are very common most new 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.

Display

The display on the P305 uses a WXGA+ glossy LCD panel, which rates about average. Vertical viewing angles are limited, with a very narrow range that gives you an optimal image. This means that if the screen is tilted slightly forward or back, the image shown goes dark and inverted or light and washed out. Even in the "sweet spot" you still have the top edge that is darker and the bottom edge that is started to get washed out. Horizontal viewing angles were much better, giving a wide enough angle that would give people sitting next to you a clear and mostly crisp view of the screen.


(view large image)

(view large image)

(view large image)

(view large image)

 

Screen backlight brightness was more than adequate, with my preferred brightness setting in an office environment being 75-80 percent. At home or darker settings I had it around 40-50 percent. Backlight bleed was minimal if at all noticeable. Backlight brightness across the screen was great, with no noticeable uneven portions.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard found on the P305 is very similar to the A305, just wider. With the real estate of a 17-inch notebook, they were able to fit a full-size number pad to the right of the keyboard. The keyboard surface is glossy, which goes perfectly with the Fusion finish of the rest of the notebook. I found typing to be very comfortable on this keyboard, but there was a bit of a learning curve getting used to sliding your fingertips around on the glossy texture. Key spacing was excellent, and individual key presses were soft and had just the right amount of throw.


(view large image)

The touchpad surface on the P305 could be best described as soft and slippery sandpaper. It has a semi-rough texture that feels different from any other touchpad I have used, and it lets you finger glide over it with ease under many conditions. Whether your finger is dry from the start or starting to sweat after hours of use, the touchpad still lets your finger glide along without resistance. The large touchpad buttons are located right under the touchpad and impossible to miss. While they are rigid plastic, they feel very soft with the graceful rounded shape. Even after hours of using the notebook, they are still comfortable to click.

One strange defect that reared its head on the P305 was a super laggy touchpad. Out of four Toshiba notebooks that use this style of touchpad, this was the first one that had this problem. What made this problem even weirder, is the fact it would change depending on if the notebook was plugged in or running off of battery power. Power profile changes did not correct it. Hopefully this was an isolated incident, since this is the first and only Toshiba model we have reviewed that had this problem.

Performance

The Intel Core 2 Duo based Toshiba P305 comes loaded with an Intel T5550 processor and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 dedicated graphics. This notebook excels at average tasks, like using office productivity applications, playing music, or watching movies. While this notebook does include a dedicated graphics option, it runs middle of the pack, and will probably be decentfas a light gaming rig. If you were configuring this notebook online, I would really suggest upgrading to the ATI 3650 option, which gives almost double the 3DMark06 score.

To give you an idea of what real world results you would expect to see with the ATI 3470 graphics, we ran Portal at 1280 x 800 resolution with all of the suggested settings. With all settings set to High, speeds were ~40 frames per second (FPS) moving around, or ~27FPS looking through a portal. With vertical sync disabled, the game was stuttering a bit, but with it enabled was very playable.

WPrime 32M comparison results

WPrime is a benchmark similar to Super Pi in that it forces the processor to do intense mathematical calculations, but the difference is this application is multi-threaded and represents dual core processors better. Lower numbers indicate better performance.

Notebook Time
Toshiba Satellite P305 (1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5550, Windows Vista)
45.351s
Toshiba Satellite P305D (2.1GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-62, Windows Vista) 38.049s
Toshiba Satellite L355D (2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60, Windows Vista) 39.732s
Gateway P-171XL FX (2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo X7900, Windows Vista) 30.359s
Toshiba Qosmio G45 (2.50GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9300, Windows Vista) 31.108s
Toshiba Qosmio G45 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Windows Vista) 42.085s
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T7400@ 2.16GHz, Windows XP) 41.40s
HP dv6000z (AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 @ 2.00GHz, Windows Vista) 38.913s
Sager 9260 (Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E6700@ 2.66GHz, Windows XP ) 33.718s
Dell Precision M70 (Intel Pentium-M 780 @ 2.26GHz, Windows XP) 78.992s

PCMark05 comparison results:

PCMark05 represents the overall system performance of a notebook. Higher numbers indicate better performance.

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Toshiba Satellite P305 (1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5550, ATI Radeon HD 3470)
4,530 PCMarks
Toshiba Satellite P305D (2.1GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-62, ATI Radeon X1250) 3,366 PCMarks
Toshiba Satellite L355D (2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60, ATI Radeon X1250) 3,305 PCMarks
Gateway P-171XL FX (2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo X7900, NVIDIA Go 8800M GTS) 7,749 PCMarks
Toshiba Qosmio G45 (2.50GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9300, NVIDIA Go 8600M GT) 5,865 PCMarks
Toshiba Qosmio G45 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA Go 8600M GT) 5,261 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1720 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8600M GT) 5,377 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,925 PCMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,377 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,591 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
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks

3DMark06 comparison results:

3DMark06 represents the overall graphics performance of a notebook. Higher numbers indicate better performance.

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
Toshiba Satellite P305 (1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5550, ATI Radeon HD 3470)
1,768 3DMarks
Toshiba Satellite P305D (2.1GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-62, ATI Radeon X1250) 308 3DMarks
Toshiba Satellite L355D (2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60, ATI Radeon X1250) 301 3DMarks
Gateway P-171XL FX (2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo X7900, NVIDIA Go 8800M GTS) 8,801 3DMarks
Toshiba Qosmio G45 (2.50GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9300, NVIDIA Go 8600M GT) 3,775 3DMarks
Toshiba Qosmio G45 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA Go 8600M GT) 2,934 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1720 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8600M GT) 2,930 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,329 3DMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 532 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,408 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 (1.66 Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 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
Sony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 794 3DMarks

 

HDTune results:


(view large image)

Audio

The speakers on the Toshiba P305 were nothing short of amazing. Even while lacking a subwoofer, the speakers were more than capable of reproducing more bass than many systems I have heard that had a dedicated subwoofer. The speakers look very similar to the ones found on the A305, but as you can see, they are quite a bit larger in size.
For private listening, the headphone jack works great for static free audio.


(view large image)

Ports and Features

The Intel-based Toshiba P305 has the same port lineup as the smaller 15.4" A305. I would have enjoyed seeing more than four USB ports with the added space around the edges, but overall it was still more than adequate.

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

Left: VGA, CPU Exhaust, S-Video, HDMI, LAN, two USB, Firewire, ExpressCard/54


(view large image)

Right: Two USB, Modem, Optical Bay, AC Power, Kensington Lock slot


(view large image)

Front: Wireless On/Off, 5-in-1 Card Reader, Headphone/Mic, Volume Knob


(view large image)

Rear: Nothing, all hinge


(view large image)

Heat and Noise

Fan noise was fairly average for a notebook of this size that did not fall into the gamer machine category. At idle the fan would stay off, then kick on for a few seconds, then turn off again. Under additional stress of a benchmark running, or other intensive application, the fan would stay at a low speed and then ramp up on to handle the heat load if needed. I would rate the fan noise to be on the same level as a whisper, and only noticeable to those directly around you in a classroom setting.

Notebook temperatures were kept under control very well. The top surface overall was warmer than the bottom, and since that side goes on your lap, that is fine by me. The hottest point as you can see by the heat overlays below was the touchpad.


(view large image)

(view large image)

 

Battery

With the Windows Vista power profile set to "Balanced," screen brightness set to 70 percent, and wireless enabled the Toshiba P305 managed 2 hours and 16 minutes on the 6-cell battery. Toshiba offers a 9-cell battery as an optional accessory or as configuration option if you customize the notebook online. I figure that would get you well above the 3 hour mark.

Conclusion

The Toshiba Satellite P305 offers excellent value at a very reasonable starting price of $840 dollars when you configure it online. This notebook has a wide range of features, and quite a few configuration options that make it easy to configure this notebook just the way you want it. While our review model fell into the middle of the pack, this notebook could be much faster with the right configuration … not to mention deeper pockets.

Overall I feel that the Toshiba P305 is a very solid notebook, and if I didn’t love the 15" form factor so much I would probably buy one for myself.

Pros

  • Fusion finish is second to none
  • Great touchpad (when it doesn’t have software glitches)
  • Great speakers

Cons

  • Fusion finish and glossy keyboard is very reflective
  • Touchpad gets a little too warm
  • T5550 processor is a little slow by today’s standards


LEAVE A COMMENT

0 Comments

|
All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.