5. Sweet Sound: Toshiba Satellite Pro A210-EZ2201
The basic $699 Toshiba Satellite Pro A210-EZ2201 is the lowest-priced laptop of our sub-$1000 group, and it's also rather slow, with short battery life too. If pinching pennies is paramount, however, this 15.4-inch, Windows Vista Basic notebook can get mainstream work done without too much fuss. The only model here using an AMD processor, and only one of two to include just 1GB of RAM, the Satellite Pro A210-EZ2201 achieved a WorldBench 6 score of just 54. The sub-$1000 laptop average was 19 percent faster. Performance aside, this black-and-silver unit has some nice features for a $699 notebook, including a DVD writer, a FireWire port, and an ExpressCard/54 slot. It even has two surprises. One is an empty bay inside for adding a second hard drive. (A single 80GB hard drive comes standard.) The other is great sound--this plain little laptop belts out music like Ugly Betty channeling Celine Dion.
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