- Good performance
- Thin and light
- Low cost
- Cheap, mirror-like finish
- Too much bloatware
- No USB 3.0
An affordable thin and light notebook with solid AMD processor performance.
There seems to be a flood of budget-priced 13-inch laptops on the market today as consumers try to find the perfect balance of portability, performance and price. The Toshiba Satellite T230 and T235 series notebooks offer a range of options that just might help this laptop find a place on your holiday shopping list. We took a closer look at the AMD-based Satellite T235D to find out whether this laptop offers a truly impressive value.
Toshiba Satellite T230/T235 (T235D-S1345) Specifications:
- 1.5GHz AMD Turion II Neo K625 Dual-Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 (2 x 2GB)
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- 13.3″ WXGA HD TruBrite LED Backlit display (1366×768)
- 320GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
- ATI Radeon HD 4225 Graphics
- 802.11b/g/n, 10/100 LAN
- 6-in-1 card reader
- 6-Cell Li-ion 61WH battery, 45W Power Supply
- Dimensions: (W x L x H) 12.7″ x 8.8″ x 0.8″/1.1″
- Weight: 3lbs 13oz (with 6-cell battery)
- Price as configured: $599.99
Build and Design
The Toshiba Satellite T230 and T235 series notebooks are an update to last year’s T130 and T135 notebooks. These thin and light 13-inch notebooks are designed to offer consumers a stylish alternative to netbooks with better performance and a larger screen for a modest increase in price. Toshiba keeps the profile only a fraction of an inch thicker than the USB ports on the side of the notebook, though this is done in large part by cutting out things like an ExpressCard slot and optical drive. For the average user this notebook has all the advantages of a standard computer–a high resolution display, a full-size keyboard and a dual-core processor–but none of the bulk. The combination of black and silver plastics give the T235D a very modern appearance, but we weren’t particularly impressed by the durability of the mirror-like chrome finish around the keyboard. In our standard drop test (droping the notebook from 12 inches onto carpet) we noticed a small piece of the chrome paint flaked off the notebook. It’s safe to say that if the finish can’t survive a 12-inch drop onto carpet it won’t hold up well to serious abuse.
The screen lid on our review unit features the “Fusion Chrome Finish in Gemini Black” but Toshiba also offers this notebook with a red lid. Despite the fragility of the finish and the thin chassis design, the overall build quality of the T235-series notebooks is very nice. Unlike some of the thin-and-light notebooks we’ve reviewed from other companies, flex and plastic squeaks are kept to a minimum on the T235D. The screen cover feels durable and doesn’t suffer from much flex under pressure, although plastics used on the screen lid are prone to scratches. In short, while the overall structure of the T235D is sound, the glossy exterior of the notebook might not hold up to typical use and abuse inside a school backpack or an office briefcase. Even if the glossy finish on the body withstands most scratches you’ll need to constantly clean off fingerprints and smudges if you want to keep your laptop looking new.
If you’re interested in upgrading the internal components on your T235D you’ll be happy to learn that the system memory and hard drive are easy to locate beneath a single cover plate on the bottom of the notebook. Toshiba even makes upgrades easier by using a single screw to secure the access panel. Remove that one Phillips head screw and you’ll have access to the hard drive and RAM. We were a little upset that access to the wireless cards isn’t as simple. However, given the low purchase price and the target audience, it’s unlikely that T235 owners will bother trying to swap wireless cards. No warranty void if removed stickers were found anywhere, so it should be safe to swap out basic components without risking your warranty coverage. On that note, Toshiba provides a standard one-year parts and labor warranty as well as a one-year warranty on the battery.