It's difficult to say just how much of the hard disk space is devoted to pre-installed software, trials, and apps that link to even more software and trials, but it certainly feels as though there is a lot of preloaded software. The installed apps range from the useful to the dubious. Some of the included apps include facial recognition and other webcam-centric software, disc creation software, media playing apps, Microsoft Works, a 30-day trial for Norton Internet Security, and the ubiquitous 60-day trial of Microsoft Office 2007.
Toshiba Bulletin Board (left); Toshiba PC Health Monitor (center); Toshiba eco Utility (right).
A collection of Toshiba-branded software includes a Bulletin Board app, a PC Health monitor, and the afore-mentioned eco Utility. Also included is the cool ReelTime app, which appears as a ribbon on the bottom of the screen that provides an index and graphical view of recently accessed files. As the E205 is a Best Buy exclusive, the laptop also includes the Best Buy Installer app, which provides links to all sorts of free and pay-for applications in categories such as money management, home/small office, and games. The E205 does not come with any physical restore discs, but an included Toshiba utility allows you to create your own set of recovery discs (you'll need four blank DVDs).
Toshiba ReelTime (left); Best Buy Software Installer (center); some of the pre-loaded Toshiba apps (right).
With everyday usage we found the E205 very comfortable to work with. Some of the things was liked about the laptop were its bright and sharp display, how quickly it resumed from sleep mode, and its hard drive impact sensor. We found, however, that the hard drive impact sensor warning window would appear when even the slightest of movement was detected, indicating to us that perhaps the sensor was a bit too sensitive. If Best Buy were to ask us what we would change for the next version, we would suggest making the keyboard feel less spongy, adding Bluetooth, and improving the built-in stereo speakers--which sounded very tinny, couldn't get very loud, and distorted the audio when the sound was turned all the way up.