Toshiba Satellite X205 SLI4 Gaming Notebook

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Usage and Experience

Upgradeability:  Naturally, when spending $2399 on a premium laptop such as the Satellite X205-SLi4, users are going to be interested in the system's potential upgrade path as technologies evolve.  While access to the hard drives and memory was simple, we were disappointed that there wasn't easier access to the CPU, GPU and wireless adapter.  Perhaps we still have a bit of the ASUS C90S's easy access on the mind, but a little more accessibility certainly would be a plus, especially for those not afraid to work on their own equipment.

Keyboard/Touchpad: 
In normal usage, the touch pad had a nice feel, working smoothly and reliably.  The dual mode capability was an interesting feature and certainly adds to the wow factor when it lights up, but ultimately, we found that it could get annoying at times.  During normal usage, we continually turned on the dual mode by accident, which kills the touch pad.  It took a little getting used to and we managed to learn to work with it, but we still managed to inadvertently turn it on by mistake from time to time.  On the plus side, while we didn't really feel all that impressed with the shortcuts, having the volume control on the touch pad was useful.

The keyboard was full-sized with a separate number pad, with a good feel that was responsive to our key strokes.  Our only complaint was the very short spacebar.  To give a reference, our ASUS C90S's keyboard had a 4.25" spacebar, which is normal sized, while the Satellite X205-SLi4's spacebar was 2 7/8" long.  Some may not notice the difference, but we certainly found we were missing the spacebar during normal typing, having to train ourselves to reach a bit more to the center for an accurate hit.

Display/Image Quality: 
It's difficult to capture the video image quality of the TV Tuner and HD-DVD but it was impressive.  Below we captured a few screens from a sample HD-DVD disk included which gives an idea of the quality.  We did not have an external antenna on hand to test the OTA HDTV signal, however, we found the analog TV signal to be very good within Media Center.  The remote control was adequate, even though it lacked any contouring to fit a hand comfortably.  The basic rectangular design may not please some, but we didn't find it to be an issue.  We did like the overall button placement, which was natural and intuitive.


   


The 1.3mp webcam didn't offer very good image quality in our opinion, however.  The image was grainy, minimizing its usefulness for anything more than occassional casual use.


Speaker/Sound Quality: 
Considering the laptop was equipped with Harmon Kardon speakers and a subwoofer, we had high expectations for the audio quality of the system.  Ultimately, these speakers were impressive, delivering high volume with a lot of punch for a laptop.  The volume got rather loud and had more body than other laptops tested thanks to the subwoofer design.  Nonetheless, these speaker are in no way a substitution for a quality set of external speakers.  Those who plan to use this laptop for extensive gaming and/or audio/video playback will certainly want to invest in a good set of speakers.

Heat/Noise: 
One major positive of this notebook is its lack of excessive heat.  Not only was the system tested on a desktop, we also spent a fair amount of time with the unit on our lap and things didn't get excessively toasty as reported with other laptops.  There have also been laptops we've reviewed where the areas where your hands rest got hot due to the hard drive being right below one of the hands, but that was not the case with the Satellite X05-SLI4.  We found the temperatures to be a non-factor, with everything staying within reasonable limits.  The system is built with cooling in mind as the two large side vents indicate and it works very effectively.  When listening to the fan noise, it wasn't excessive, but we wouldn't call it quiet either.  During usage, we heard the fans and didn't find it distracting as it was rather steady, although once the laptop was turned off, there was a noticeable silence.  Much like with heat, the fan noise fell with in reasonable limits that wasn't overly distracting.


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