capsule review

Toshiba Satellite A35-S159

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Satellite A35-S159 Notebook

Toshiba Satellite A35-S159
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

With its 2.3-GHz Pentium 4 processor, big 15-inch screen, roomy keyboard, and oversize touchpad, the Toshiba Satellite A35 would seem to have the bona fides of a powerful desktop replacement. But a close look at the details explains why the $1349 A35 is part of Toshiba's value line.

The A35 earned a PC WorldBench 4 score of only 107--well below the average for all similarly equipped notebooks we've tested recently. And, unusual for a big notebook, its hard drive is sealed, which means you can't upgrade or replace the storage without taking the notebook into a service center. The stereo sound was a bit muffled--disappointing for a unit from Toshiba's multimedia-savvy line of laptops. Our model also lacked a FireWire port, an important feature if you plan to download video.

This Toshiba portable is not without merit, however. It's an attractive unit with a stunning deep-blue lid and smoky blue-silver mouse buttons. It lasted a long time on one battery charge, a little over 4 hours in our tests. And it offers some nice conveniences, including lots of shortcut buttons and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combination drive that sits on the front, where it's easy to reach. A Wi-Fi switch is on the side (the notebook comes with 802.11g built in), and two reprogrammable quick-launch buttons above the keyboard give you quick access to your favorite applications and Web sites. A third button toggles between a DVD movie on the screen and a TV connected to the notebook's S-Video port. Audio controls on the front permit convenient listening to music CDs, once you get the hang of the confusing mode button (which you push and hold to switch between CDs and MP3s).

No print manual accompanies the Satellite A35, but Toshiba provides a thorough and easy-to-use electronic reference on the hard drive. Topping off the package is the Microsoft Works collection of home office software applications.

The $1349 Toshiba Satellite A35 would be a good starter notebook for a home or small office, or for students seeking a reliable dorm room PC that they can also carry to class on occasion.

Toshiba Satellite A35-S159


PC WorldBench 4 score of 107, 2.3-GHz Pentium 4 CPU, 512MB RAM, Windows XP Home, 15-inch screen, 60GB hard drive, 8X DVD-ROM and 24X CD-RW combination drive, built-in V.90 modem and 10/100 network interface, 802.11g wireless, touchpad pointing device, 8.9 pounds (including AC adapter and phone cord). One-year warranty on parts and labor, free 24-hour daily toll-free support.
$1349
www.csd.toshiba.com

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Satellite A35-S159 Notebook

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