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Toshiba Satellite T135D-S1324 Review
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Date: May 03, 2010
Section:Mobile
Author: Jennifer Johnson
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Introduction & Specifications


Last year, Toshiba announced the Satellite T135 series, a line of thin-and-light ultraportable laptops that offered a good balance of performance and price. Toshiba got our attention with this line so we reviewed the Satellite T135-S1310RD, an Intel Pentium SU4100 powered machine that featured an ultra-low voltage processor. At a time when many thin-and-light notebooks were using Atom processors, the higher-powered dual-core SU4100 in the T135-S1310RD definitely caught our eye.

Fast forward to this year and Toshiba is expanding the Satellite T135 lineup with new AMD Turion Neo X2-powered models. With these new models, you'll get a similar 13-inch notebook as the Intel-powered models but for a price that's about $100 less. In addition to the AMD Neo processor platform, the T135D offers ATI Radeon graphics. As a result, you get the versatility of a dual-core processor as well as increased multimedia capabilities.



AMD promises great things with its Turion Neo X2 mobile processors including better multi-tasking performance, dramatic application performance improvements, longer battery life, and a cooler notebook PC experience than previous generation mobile processor technologies.

In the following pages, we'll take a closer look at the Toshiba Satellite T135D-S1324 to find out how it and the AMD Turion Neo X2 processor compare to other thin-and-light ultraportable laptops, especially those powered by Intel.



Satellite T135D-S1324 Specifications
Specifications & Features

Operating System
  • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Processor and Graphics
  • AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor L625
  • 1.6GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 1.6GT/s
  • AMD M780G Chipset
  • ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics with 256MB-1919MB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory
Memory
  • Configured with 4GB DDR2 (max 8GB)
Storage Drive
  • 320GB (5400 RPM) Serial ATA hard disk drive
  • TOSHIBA Hard Drive Impact Sensor (3D sensor)
Display
  • 13.3” diagonal widescreen TruBrite LED backlit TFT LCD display at 1366 x 768 native resolution (HD)
  • Native support for 720p content
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
Sound
  • Built-in stereo speakers
Input Devices
  • Premium US keyboard (black)
  • TouchPad pointing device with multi-touch control
Communications
  • Webcam and microphone
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi Wireless networking (802.11b/g/n)
Expandability
  • Memory Card Reader (Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Multi Media Card, xD Picture Card)
Ports
  • Video
  • RGB (monitor) output port
  • HDMI
  • Audio
  • Microphone input port
  • Headphone output port
  • Data
  • 3 USB v2.0 ports (1 with USB Sleep and Charge9/left side port)
  • RJ-45 LAN port
Physical Description
  • Fusion Finish in Nova Black
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 12.7” x 8.78” x 0.87”/1.35”
  • Weight: Starting at 3.88 lbs., depending upon configuration
Battery
  • 6 cell (5600 mAh) Lithium Ion battery pack
  • Battery Life Rating (measured by MobileMark Productivity 2007): 6 hours, 0 minutes
Power Supply
  • 65W (19V x 3.42A) Auto-sensing, 100-240V/50-60Hz AC Adapter
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 4.25” x 1.8” x 1.2”
  • Weight: starting at .49 lbs.
Software

Toshiba Software and Utilities
  • Electronic User’s Guide
  • Bluetooth Stack for Windows by Toshiba
  • TOSHIBA Recovery Media Creator
  • TOSHIBA Media Controller
  • TOSHIBA Bulletin Board
  • TOSHIBA ReelTime
  • TOSHIBA ConfigFree
  • TOSHIBA Disc Creator
  • TOSHIBA Power-saving eco utility
  • TOSHIBA Face Recognition
  • TOSHIBA PC Health Monitor
  • Hard Disc Drive (HDD) Recovery
Third-party Software
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player
  • Microsoft Works 9
  • Microsoft Windows Live Essentials including PhotGallery, Messenger, Mail and Writer.
  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Google Toolbar
  • Sun Java 2 Runtime Environment
Trial Software
  • Norton Internet Security 2010, 30-day trial
  • Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 Edition, 60-day trial
Environmental Specifications
  • This product is RoHS compatible
  • Energy Star Qualified
  • EPEAT Gold Compliant
  • Operating Non-operating

MSRP: $599.99



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Design & Build Quality


The T135D has a glossy black coating that commands your attention, but also tends to attract fingerprints. The notebook's Fusion Finish flows across the lid onto the deck and palm rest. Even the slightly indented TouchPad has this Fusion pattern, though with a textured finish. Combined with metal mouse buttons, the T135D looks like a classy, expensive notebook.

Weighing approximately 3.8 pounds, the T135D is both slim and light, though when handling the notebook you'll notice a small bulge at the back of the machine thanks to the battery. The T135D doesn't have a built-in optical drive. This isn't uncommon on notebooks of this class and price range, but we still miss having a built-in drive.


Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge

On the left side of the T135D, you'll find a combination eSATA/Sleep-and-charge USB port that lets you charge your cell phone, MP3 player, or other gadget even if the system is powered off. There's also an HDMI out port so you can output full 1080p HD video and multi-channel digital audio to a HDTV. A standard VGA port and security lock slot reside near the hinge.

You'll find the T135D's 5-in-1 memory card reader, microphone in and headphone out connections, two additional USB 2.0 ports, a 10/100 Ethernet port, and the power connector on the right side of this notebook.


Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge

The back of the T135D has no ports. On the front edge of the T135D, you'll find the following system indicator lights: AC power, On/Off, Battery, internal storage drive, memory card reader, and wireless indicators.

The T135D's keyboard feels average for a notebook of this size—not too small, but not as roomy as larger notebooks may offer. The keyboard itself was comfortable to type on. The metal design of the mouse button certainly looks great, but it can feel a bit stiff, particularly if you press near the center. Overall, the TouchPad is comfortable to use and the multi-touch functionality seemed to work well. The T135D doesn't have any keys dedicated to media controls. Instead, most of the additional functionality is handled via function commands. For example, you can control the volume by pressing Function+3 or Function+4.


Click to enlarge

Like the Intel-powered T135-S1310RD, the T135D has a high-gloss screen that looks great but will also kick back some reflections. This 13.3-inch glossy LED-backlit screen has a native resolution of 1,366x768. Viewing angles were average. Above the display, you’ll find the system’s webcam and microphone. This camera is fixed and cannot be rotated independently of the laptop lid.

Build quality for the notebook is average. The notebook opens and closes smoothly but you'll need two hands to open the notebook because it tends to lift off the desk since most of the weight of the notebook is in the back near the battery.


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Software & Accessories


You won't get a lot of accessories with the T135D, but that's ok by us—we'd prefer to pay less up front and pick out our own accessories. In the box, you will find a Quick Start guide, warranty booklet, resource guide, a few other pieces of propaganda, and the AC adapter and power cable. Toshiba doesn’t include any media with the T135D, but there are instructions on the Quick Start guide for creating your own recovery discs.



Our test unit came preinstalled with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit as well as a number of programs and utilities. Some of these extras are useful, while others we would happily do without. Here's the full list of included software:

  • Toshiba Electronic User’s Guide
  • Bluetooth Stack for Windows by Toshiba
  • TOSHIBA Recovery Media Creator
  • TOSHIBA Media Controller
  • TOSHIBA Bulletin Board
  • TOSHIBA ReelTime
  • TOSHIBA ConfigFree
  • TOSHIBA Disc Creator
  • TOSHIBA Power-saving eco utility
  • TOSHIBA Face Recognition
  • TOSHIBA PC Health Monitor
  • Hard Disc Drive (HDD) Recovery
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player
  • Microsoft Works 9
  • Microsoft Windows Live Essentials including PhotGallery, Messenger, Mail and Writer.
  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Google Toolbar
  • Sun Java 2 Runtime Environment
  • Norton Internet Security 2010, 30-day trial
  • Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 Edition, 60-day trial


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User Experience


We enjoyed using the T135D. The notebook is lightweight and easy to tote around. Overall, the machine's keyboard feels solid while typing. The TouchPad isn't huge, but it's adequate in size and we appreciate that it offers multi-touch controls. Additionally, the TouchPad is slightly indented, so you're likely to notice if you mouse off of the surface.


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The Fusion black finish of the T135D-S1324 is attractive and subtle. Our only complaint with the finish is that it attracts fingerprints. Even though the T135D has a high gloss display that occasionally causes reflections, it did not seem to attract very many fingerprints. All in all, the 13.3-inch display was bright, crisp, and clear. The LCD hinge was solid, moving only when we pushed it and gliding smoothly the whole way.

The T135D scored higher than the
Intel-based T135 in every category of the Windows Experience rating except for the Graphics score, where it scored four tenths of a point lower (3.2 vs. 3.6). Overall, the T135D achieved mid-range scores throughout the Windows Experience rating. The notebook was relatively quiet during our testing. The underside of the notebook was warm during use but not alarmingly so.



With regards to general, everyday computing, the T135D had no problems with a variety of tasks including word processing, surfing the Web, checking email, etc. The T135D played high definition video clips from the Microsoft Windows Media HD Content Showcase (both 720p and 1080p) just fine and didn’t appear to drop any frames. Although multimedia playback was good, the speakers of the T135D aren't anything to write home about. If you're into high-quality audio, you'll likely want to hook up some external speakers or use some good headphones.

As you've already seen from the long list of included software on the specifications page, the T135D comes with quite a few programs. We're not huge fans of preinstalled bloatware, so we would have preferred that Toshiba shortened this list and left some of the included software as optional—meaning, giving you the option to install, not the option to uninstall. Although you won't be nagged by most of the included software programs, Norton will pop-up each time you start the T135D until you do something about it (either activate or uninstall). Keeping in mind that the number of programs Toshiba includes with the T135D isn't out of line in comparison to other manufacturers, we won't knock the T135D just because it comes with preinstalled software but we really do wish all manufacturers would keep preinstalled programs to a minimum.
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Test Setup & 3DMark06


To give you better feel for how the Toshiba T135D's performance measures up, we’ll compare it to a few similar systems, including the Intel-based T135. Here’s a closer look at each of our comparison systems:

HotHardware's Test Systems
Covering the bases

Toshiba Satellite T135D-S1324

AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor L625 (1.6GHz)

4GB DDR2

ATI Radeon HD 3200

On-Board Ethernet
On-Board Audio

1x320GB Hard Drive
5400 RPM SATA

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

13.3” LED TruBrite TFT LCD
(native 1366x768)

Toshiba T135-S1310RD

Intel Pentium SU4100 (1.3GHz)

4GB DDR3

Intel GMA 4500M

On-Board Ethernet
On-Board Audio

1x320GB Hard Drive
5400 RPM SATA

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

13.3" LED TruBrite TFT LCD
(native 1366x768)

Sony VAIO Y Series

Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300
(1.3GHz)

4GB DDR3

Intel GMA 4500MHD

On-Board Ethernet
On-Board Audio

1x320GB Hard Drive
5400 RPM SATA

Windows 7
Professional (64-bit)

13.3" LED LCD
(native 1366x768)

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13"

Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300
(1.3GHz)

4GB DDR3

Intel GMA 4500MHD

On-Board Ethernet
On-Board Audio

1x320GB Hard Drive
5400 RPM SATA

Windows 7 Home
Premium (64-bit)

13" LED LCD
(native 1366x768)

Asus UL80Vt

Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300
(1.3GHz)

4GB DDR3

Intel GMA 4500MHD+
512MB NVIDIA G210M

On-Board Ethernet
On-Board Audio

1x320GB Hard Drive
5400 RPM SATA

Windows 7 Home
Premium (64-bit)

14" LED LCD
(native 1366x768)

Asus UL30A-A1

Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300
(1.3GHz)

4GB DDR3

Intel GMA 4500MHD

On-Board Ethernet
On-Board Audio

1x500GB Hard Drive 
5400 RPM SATA

Windows Vista Home
Premium SP1 (32-bit)

13.3" LED LCD
(native 1366x768)


Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06
Details: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06




Considering the way AMD touts the combination of the Turion Neo X2 mobile processor with ATI Radeon graphics, we were expecting a bit more from the T135D. The notebook managed comparable scores to most of our other test systems with the exception of the Asus UL80Vt, which was tested with its discrete GPU switched on. The T135D's full 3DMark06 benchmark result is below:


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Futuremark PCMark Vantage


To continue our testing, we will use Futuremark's PCMark Vantage benchmarking suite, which takes a broad look at all aspects of the machine and gives a general idea of how it performs in a variety of day-to-day situations such as High Definition TV and movie playback and manipulation, gaming, image editing and manipulation, music compression, communications, and productivity.


Futuremark PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance



The AMD-based T135D scored lower than the Intel-based T135 on every component of the PCMark Vantage test except for the Gaming score. It also regularly scored below most of the other test systems with the exception of the Gaming score where it took second place behind the Asus UL80Vt. The full PCMark Vantage score report is below:

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SiSoftware SANDRA Benchmarks & Multimedia


We continued our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2009, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Memory Bandwidth, and Physical Disc Test). All of the scores reported below were taken with the processor running at its default clock speed of 1.6GHz with 4GB of DDR2 RAM.

Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2009
Synthetic Benchmarks


CPU Arithmetic Test; Click to Enlarge


CPU Multimedia Test; Click to Enlarge


Memory Bandwidth Test; Click To Enlarge


Physical Disc Test; Click to Enlarge

In most of these tests, the T135D was a middle-of-the-road contender. For an ultraportable system, the numbers are decent, and real-world performance was acceptable.


To test multimedia capabilities, we attempt to play back a 720p WMVHD clip and a 1080p clip.


Click to Enlarge; 720p WMVHD


Click to Enlarge; 1080p WMVHD

The T135D played our HD test files just fine, and even though the CPU was taxed, the movie trailers played back smoothly without hiccups.
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Battery Performance

To complete our testing, we ran Battery Eater Pro to get a feel for the T135D's battery performance. Toshiba claims you can get 6 hours of battery life from the included 6 cell Lithium Ion battery pack (as measured by the MobileMark Productivity 2007 benchmark).

Battery Eater Pro
Battery Info & Performance

Here at HotHardware, we've been using BatteryEater Pro's Real World Scenario to test battery life in various machines, which is much more strenuous than MM07. During the test, the screen brightness was set to 60%, Wi-Fi was enabled, and all other applications were closed.



Like other systems, the T135D didn't live up to the lofty claims made by the manufacturer. Under our test conditions, the T135D's included 6 cell battery lasted for two hours and four minutes. In looking at the graph above, you can see that the Toshiba T135D didn't offer nearly as long of a battery life as many of our test systems including the Intel-based Toshiba T135.


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Final Impressions & Conclusion


The Toshiba T135D has a lot of attractive features. It's thin, lightweight, and has a moderate price tag that is likely to attract many buyers. The Fusion Finish looks great, though it does tend to attract fingerprints. In addition, the T135D had no problem playing our test multimedia HD clips and did not drop any frames.


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If you're looking for a basic machine that can handle everyday computing tasks, the T135D should do just fine. We liked the T135D's keyboard and TouchPad. Both were comfortable to use and we appreciated that Toshiba indented the TouchPad slightly so you'll notice if you accidentally mouse off of the surface. The high-gloss screen displayed crisp and sharp images. Although we did notice some glare, it wasn't any worse than other notebooks with high-gloss displays.

All in all, Toshiba's lightweight T135D is more affordable than previous Intel-based models. For approximately $100 less, the AMD Neo-powered T135D-S1324 still offers acceptable performance even though benchmark scores aren't quite as high as the similarly equipped Intel-powered version. Battery life is perhaps the biggest downside to the AMD-powered version: the T135D-S1324 offered just over two hours of cord-free computing time. The battery is removable though, so you could extend the notebook's runtime with a second battery.

     
  • Lightweight
  • Low price tag
  • ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics
  • Multi-Touch TouchPad
  • Handles 720p/1080p content
  • Relatively Short battery life
  • Weak speakers
  • Outer casing attracts fingerprints
  • No optical drive



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