capsule review

Toshiba Satellite A15-S127

At a Glance
  • Toshiba Satellite A15-S127

Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard
The A15-S127 offers great DVD movie watching at a rock-bottom price. For just $1050 you get an 8X DVD-ROM and 24X/10X/24X CD-RW combination drive fixed on the right side of the case, a 15-inch screen, and big-sounding stereo speakers, whose volume you can control using the handy thumbwheel.

The only user manual is in Acrobat form on the hard drive and leaves out some features, such as the speakers. The A15-S127 isn't going to win any speed prizes, either: It earned a PC WorldBench 4 score of 99, about 20 percent behind the fastest notebooks we've tested.

At 1.6 inches thick and 6.2 pounds sans AC adapter, the A15-S127 is slightly chunkier than most notebooks but relatively light for a model with a 15-inch screen. It shares a sloped front with Toshiba's more richly equipped multimedia home notebooks, but is fairly basic otherwise. Connections on the big blue-and-black case include audio ports on the left, as well as two USB 2.0 ports, a network jack, and a monitor port and parallel port on the back. Missing are FireWire and TV-out ports--features that many other value notebooks have. The A15-S27 is antenna-ready, and if you add a wireless Mini PCI Card, a button on the front lets you toggle the wireless network on and off.

The stalwart, simply designed keyboard has a steady feel, with no key wiggling or noise. Parts are easy to reach, and--except for the hard drive's slightly stubborn end piece--user-upgradable components are easy to remove. Our unit had one memory slot open for upgrading RAM. The A15-S127's integrated graphics processor uses main memory, but the laptop still played our DVD movie smoothly. Microsoft Works, an application suite suitable for students or small businesses, is bundled with the Toshiba. The battery lasted 2.7 hours on one battery charge.

At $1049, the Toshiba Satellite A15-S127 is an attractively priced portable with modest performance, comfortable typing, and a big, 15-inch screen.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Toshiba Satellite A15-S127

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