capsule review

Toshiba Satellite Pro A210-EZ2201 Value Laptop PC

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Satellite Pro A210-EZ2201 Notebook

    PCWorld Rating

    Bargain priced laptop has sweet built-in speakers, but it's too slow for demanding users.

Those with only basic needs might find the $699 (as of 2/7/08) Toshiba Satellite Pro A210-EZ2201 acceptable. It's the lowest-priced laptop in our recently tested sub-$1000 group, but it has very modest performance. Rather slow and with short battery life, it's easily outshone by most competitors. However, if pinching pennies is paramount, this Windows Vista Basic laptop can get mainstream work done without too much fuss.

The only model in the group using an AMD processor (a 1.8-GHz Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core TK-55), and only one of two to include just 1GB of RAM, the Satellite Pro A210-Ez2201 achieved a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of just 54. The sub-$1000 laptop average was 19 percent faster. As for battery life, the Satellite Pro A210-Ez2201's 2.2-hour performance was the shortest of the 16 recently tested all-purpose notebooks in any price range, pooping out 1.7 hours sooner than the average.

Performance aside, this black-and-silver unit does have some nice features for a $700 notebook, including a DVD writer, a FireWire port, and an ExpressCard/54 slot. There are even two surprises. One is an empty bay inside the notebook for adding a second hard drive, if you're so inclined. (One 80GB hard drive comes standard.) The other is ebullient, crystal-clear sound. This plain little laptop belts out music like Ugly Betty channeling Celine Dion.

But the keyboard, while easy to type on, looked and felt cheaply made, and the 15.4-inch, 1280-by-800-resolution screen was on the dark side and prone to glare. The brightness controls seemed to have no effect whatsoever.

Considering that much better notebooks cost a mere $200 more, it's hard to recommend the A210-Ez2201 with much enthusiasm. On the other hand, I've never heard a better-sounding notebook at this price. Music lovers, at least, could score a real deal here.

--Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Bargain priced laptop has sweet built-in speakers, but it's too slow for demanding users.

    Pros

    • Excellent speakers
    • Supports two side-by-side hard drives

    Cons

    • Sub par speed and battery life
    • Cheap-feeling keyboard and dim screen
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