Toshiba Satellite A305-S6845 Notebook

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Design and Build Quality

Weighing in at 7.5 pounds, the A305-S6845 could be classified as a middleweight as far as desktop replacements go, but perhaps a heavyweight if considered more of an everyday, mainstream laptop. The power brick and power cable add an additional 1.26 pounds to the travel weight. The A305-S6845's high-end system specs say desktop replacement, but its 15.4-inch screen size say otherwise--making the A305-S6845 a difficult notebook to categorize. The widescreen (WXGA) display supports a 1280x800 native resolution, further muddying the distinction--it's more than enough screen real estate for most productivity tasks, but not necessarily a high-enough resolution for dedicated gaming.

The A305-S6845 measures 2.4" x 14.3" x 10.5" (HWD), and it features a glossy finish, which Toshiba calls a "Fusion finish with Horizon pattern." The unit is mostly black and gray with horizontal, silver pinstripes. Unfortunately, the glossy finish attracts fingerprints like a moth to a flame. Even the full-sized keyboard featured a glossy finish, which is just as easily marred with fingerprints. The touchpad is flush with the wrist rest, giving the front of the laptop a smooth, sleek look. Backlit hotkeys, flush across the top of the keyboard, control various A/V controls, such as mute, play, stop, and rewind. A pair of stereo harman/kardon speakers reside at either end of the top of the keyboard. A 1.3-Megapixel webcam and microphone are built into the top of the LCD bezel.

The notebook is powered by a 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 processor and Intel PM965 chipset with an 800MHz FSB. The 3GB of 667MHz DDR2 (PC5300) SDRAM is made up of one 2GB and one 1GB module--the system supports up to a maximum of 4GB in its two memory slots. The graphics is powered by an ATI HD Mobility Radeon HD 3650 GPU with 512MB of dedicated graphics memory. Using ATI HyperMemory technology, up to an additional 767MB of system memory can also be used by the GPU. Video can be output to external sources via VGA, S-Video, and HDMI ports.

Two 200GB hard drives make up the system's total 400GB of hard disk storage. The primary drive spins at 5,400rpm, while the secondary drive is a bit slower at 4,200rpm. Both drives include 8MB buffers and communicate at up to 1.5Gbps via SATA connections. The optical drive supports 11 different writing formats, including 4x DVD+/-R double layer and 5x DVD-RAM. The optical drive also supports LabelFlash, which uses the drive's laser to burn an image onto the label-side of a disc. LabelFlash is Yamaha and Fujifilm's version of HP's LightScribe technology. In order to use LabelFlash to burn an image onto a disc, you'll need LabelFlash media.

The left side of the system has VGA, S-Video, HDMI, Ethernet, two USB 2.0, and Firewire ports, as well an ExpressCard slot, which can accept both ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54 type cards. The right side of the system has two USB 2.0 ports and the modem jack, as well as housing the optical drive, power jack, and a Kensington Security Slot. The front of the system features a toggle switch for turning on and off WiFi, a 5-in-1 media card reader slot, microphone and headphone jacks, and a volume dial. The headphone jack does double-duty as a S/PDIF digital audio output jack as well.

All four USB ports support what Toshiba calls USB Sleep and Charge. Whether the notebook is in sleep mode or even powered off--as long as the laptop is getting AC power, the USB ports can deliver power to USB devices to charge them. We were unable to get any of the USB ports to charge our iPod Touch, however, when the notebook was powered down or in standby mode. Other USB devices successfully charged under the notebook's standby and powered off states in our tests.

Note that the system does not have a DVI-out video port. If you are going to be using the A305-S6845 with an external display, the monitor needs to have either a VGA or HDMI connector. Alternatively, a VGA-to-DVI connector will allow you to connect the VGA-out of the laptop to the DVI-in of an external display.

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