Toshiba Satellite 5005-S504
At a Glance
The Satellite 5005-S504 makes beautiful music thanks to a small set of Harman/Kardon stereo speakers backed by a subwoofer on the bottom of the notebook. The speakers--which jut from the back corners of the keyboard--and the audio controls on the front of the notebook remain exposed when you close the lid. A dedicated power button allows you to kick back and enjoy a CD whether the notebook is on or shut down. The volume wheel, located beneath the fixed DVD-ROM and CD-RW combination drive on the right, can turn the speakers up as high as they will go--which is very loud--and the Satellite 5005-S504 doesn't distort or fuzz the sound, as most notebooks do.
The Satellite's striking looks feature a marine-blue, hard-plastic lid; a contrasting blue lower casing; and a silver-and-black audio panel studded with five brightly colored status lights and a small LCD that displays the time, the day of the week, and the remaining battery life. In addition to a TV-out port for watching DVD movies on a big screen and a FireWire (IEEE 1394) port for fast digital data downloads, you get Secure Digital and SmartMedia slots for popping photos, music, and other data into your notebook via the small media cards used in many digital cameras and PDAs. Of course, these slots don't help if your devices use other types of media, such as CompactFlash or Memory Stick.
Another part of the Satellite 5005-S504's appeal is the way it scatters connections all over the case in unconventional pairings, each under its own protective cover. For instance, the monitor connection and one of the USB ports sit under a door on the left side, while the FireWire port shares a cover on the back with the modem and network jacks. Only the headphones jack, far back on the right side, is inconveniently located.
The battery sticks a little before popping out of the notebook, but the hard drive and memory are easy to upgrade. Toshiba's documentation is mostly electronic, but it's easy to use and seems complete.
The Satellite 5005-S504 uses a 1.1-GHz Pentium III desktop processor, but we didn't have any problems with overheating, as the notebook has several fan vents around the edge of the case. (The main downsides of using a desktop chip: It uses up the battery faster than a mobile chip does, and it lacks SpeedStep, which can save battery life. However, our tests have shown that SpeedStep technology provides only a minor benefit.) Helped by 512MB of RAM, the Satellite 5005-S504 performed strongly and earned a PC WorldBench 4 score of 95, the same as the score of Compaq's Presario 1720, which had a 1-GHz/733-MHz PIII-M CPU and 256MB of RAM.