Toshiba Satellite U305 Review

The Toshiba Satellite U300/U305 series is a new 13.3" widescreen notebook that weighs in at just 4.6 pounds and packs solid Intel Core 2 Duo performance and big hard drives with plenty of storage space. Add to that a thin integrated DVD SuperMulti drive, webcam, and fingerprint reader and this notebook starts looking even better. Is Toshiba justified in calling the U305 "the ideal concentration of performance and design?" Let's take a look.

Although the U300/U305 series is available with configurable options starting at $854.10 our pre-configured U305-S5127 is priced at $1,349.99 and features the following specs:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7100 (1.80GHz, 2MB L2, 800MHz FSB)
  • Mobile Intel GM965 Express Chipset
  • Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN (802.11a/g/n)
  • 2GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM (maximum capacity 4GB)
  • 200GB Serial ATA hard disk drive (4200RPM)
  • 8x DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive
  • 13.3" diagonal widescreen TruBrite TFT LCD display at 1280x800 (WXGA)
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 with 8MB-251MB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory
  • 1.3 megapixel webcam
  • Bluetooth version 2.0 plus Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)
  • ExpressCard slot (ExpressCard/34 and Express Card/54)
  • 5-in-1 media card reader
  • RGB out
  • Microphone input port
  • Headphone output port
  • IEEE-1394 (FireWire)
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 12.2" x 8.9" x 1.19" /1.33" without feet
  • Weight: 4.6 lbs
  • 75W (19V x 3.95A) 100-240V AC Adapter (5.04" x 1.20" x 2.01" and weighs 0.77 lb)
  • 9-cell (7800mAh) Lithium Ion battery (1.09 lbs)
  • 1-Year Standard Limited Warranty

Build and Design

Like most notebooks with a 13.3" widescreen display the U305 is on the border of the thin-and-light and ultra-portable categories. With a weight of more than four and a half pounds it isn't the lightest notebook in its class. Likewise, since the notebook is 1.2 inches thick at its thinnest point the U305 falls in the "middle of the pack" among recent 13.3" systems. Nevertheless, Toshiba has successfully engineered a stylish and compact frame with some unique elements that make it attractive to everyone from students to business professionals.

Although the exterior is constructed of plastic it felt relatively solid. Some of the plastics in areas such as the palm rests and the LCD lid felt thin, but overall the build quality seems good. There is very little case flex and no audible creaks to the plastics.

The optical drive in particular is quite thin yet still remains very sturdy. The optical drive (manufactured by LG and similar to drives used in some Lenovo notebooks) is actually as good or better in terms of build quality than some drives we've seen in larger budget notebooks. The optical drive was relatively quiet during operation and drive noise was not an issue while viewing DVDs.

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