Toshiba Satellite M30 series

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Toshiba Satellite M30
If you're looking for style, the Satellite M30 series is worth a gander; otherwise, hold out for better thin-and-light notebooks.

At approximately 3.2 kilograms, including the AC adapter, the Satellite M30 series is a tad heavy for a thin-and-light--the average is more like 2.7 kilograms--and it has a big footprint, measuring 35.8 by 26.9 by 3.6 cm. We like the wide form factor, however, which balances in your arm better than most notebooks do. The charcoal-gray-and-silver colour scheme is exceptionally good-looking, too.

Although the keyboard action is slightly soft, we found it easy enough to type on--primarily because all keys are full size, and Toshiba doesn't skimp on editing keys. The touchpad sits nicely just below the keyboard; it's responsive, and it tracks smoothly. And unlike Acer's Aspire 2000, the Satellite M30 doesn't make you pound the mouse buttons to get them to respond. The notebook runs a bit warmer than most of the laptops we've tested recently, particularly on the bottom and on the main deck below the keyboard.

We liked the notebook's cool sound. The pair of Harman Kardon speakers mounted just below the screen produce very clear audio and even--believe it or not--some bass. It's no pavement thumper, but the sound is far better than the average notebook.

Overall, the selection of ports and slots on the Satellite M30 series is excellent. On first glance, you might think the notebook series is legacy-free, but there's a parallel port hidden under a cover on the left side, which is also home to a Secure Digital flash-card reader, a single PC Card slot, a mini-FireWire port, an S-Video output, and a Kensington lock port. The right side offers up three USB 2.0 ports in addition to the audio input and the headphone jacks. The back of the unit has ports for only the 10/100 Ethernet, the v.92 modem, and the VGA, while the front has five CD control buttons, the infrared port, a wireless On/Off switch, and a rotary volume control.

The Satellite M30 series consists of two basic models: the M35-S359 that we tested and the M30-S309--both with midrange specs for a thin-and-light. The Satellite M35-S359 features a 1.4GHz Pentium M processor and 512MB of 333MHz DDR SDRAM, plus a 4,200rpm 60GB hard drive and a CD-RW/DVD combo drive. The Satellite M30-S309 carries nearly the same specs but with half the memory and only a 40GB hard drive. Both models sport a bright, crisp 15.4-inch, wide-aspect display and the Nvidia GeForce FX Go 5200 graphics chip with 32MB of dedicated graphics memory. You also get 802.11b wireless, courtesy of Intel's Pro/Wireless 2100 mini-PCI card.

The Satellite M30 series comes with your choice of Microsoft Windows XP Professional or XP Home for the operating system. It also ships with some useful software, including InterVideo WinDVD for DVD movie playback, Acrobat Reader, Intuit Quicken 2003, Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2003, and DigiOn's Drag 'n' Drop and for CD-mastering and packet-writing chores. You also get a choice of Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office 2003 Small Business, and Microsoft Office OneNote 2003.

The Satellite M30 series came in last in mobile application performance in this small test group, running 21 points behind Sony's VAIO PCG-V505DX and a whopping 35 points behind Dell's Inspiron 500m. The culprit may have been Toshiba's Power Saver software, which, when in the Normal mode that we used for our tests, throttles the CPU down even further than other notebooks do under certain conditions. From its scores, it is apparent that mobile performance is not the Satellite's strong suit when running office and content-creation apps.

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Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  
Dell Inspiron 500m
138 
Sony VAIO PCG-V505DX
124 
Toshiba Satellite M30 series
103 

The Satellite M30 series came in last place in battery life, although it did so by smaller margins than we saw in our mobile performance tests. Its 10.8V, 4,400mAh (48WHr) battery, carried the Satellite M30 series to more than three hours in battery life--12 minutes behind the Dell Inspiron 500m, with its 11.1V, 4,320mAh (48WHr) battery, and 36 minutes less than than the Sony VAIO PCG-V505DX, with its 11.1V, 4,400mAh (49WHr) battery. If you plan to do a lot of traveling with the Satellite M30 series, consider buying a second battery.

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  
Sony VAIO PCG-V505DX
232 
Dell Inspiron 500m
208 
Toshiba Satellite M30 series
196 

System configurations:

  • Dell Inspiron 500m
    Windows XP Home; 1.4GHz Intel Pentium M; 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855 Graphics Controller-0 (up to 64MB shared); Hitachi DK23EA-30 30GB 4,200rpm
  • Sony VAIO PCG-V505DX
    Windows XP Home; 1.4GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855 Graphics Controller-0 (up to 64MB shared); Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm
  • Toshiba Satellite M30 series
    Windows XP Home; 1.4GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go 5200 32MB; Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba bundles a moderately useful resource guide, plus a bunch of paper documentation that covers the company's legal bases. The PDF user guide is a simple rehash of the resource guide and is only moderately more useful; Toshiba could do a lot better. The company's Web site offers downloads, FAQs, e-mail tech-support, and so forth--enough to take care of most of your needs but not as comprehensive as we'd like to see.

Toshiba Satellite M30 series
Company: Toshiba
Price: AU$3,199-$3,699
Distributor: Selected resellers
Phone: 13 30 70

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Notebook type Mid-size laptops (6-7.5 lbs.)
Screen type Widescreen
Wireless capabilities IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Celeron M 360 / 1.4 GHz
Cache L2 - 1 MB
Data Bus Speed 400 MHz
Chipset Type Intel 855GME
RAM
Memory Speed 333 MHz
Memory Specification Compliance PC2700
Memory
RAM 512 MB
Max Supported Size 2 GB
Technology DDR SDRAM
Speed 333 MHz / PC2700
Slots Qty 2
Storage
Optical Drive CD-RW / DVD-ROM combo - fixed
Type none
Read Speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD)
Write Speed 24x
Rewrite Speed 4x
Type portable
Environmental Parameters
Humidity Range Operating 20 - 80%
Max Altitude Operating 9843 ft
Display
Resolution 1280 x 800 ( WXGA )
Widescreen Display Yes
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel Extreme Graphics 2
Memory Allocation Technology Dynamic Video Memory Technology 2.0
Sound Stereo speakers
Audio Codec Realtek ALC250
Hard Drive
Spindle Speed 4200 rpm
Input
Type keyboard, touchpad
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11b/g
Wired Protocol 10/100 Ethernet
Floppy Drive
Type none
Modem
Protocols & Specifications ITU V.92
Battery
Installed Qty 1
Capacity 2150 mAh
Run Time (Up To) 1.5 sec
Recharge Time 4 hour(s)
Cells 4-cell
Technology lithium ion
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )
Connections & Expansion
Slots 2 x memory
1 x CardBus ( 1 free ), 2 x memory
Interfaces 1 x display / video - S-video output
1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
1 x display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15)
3 x USB 2.0 - 4 pin USB Type A
1 x microphone - input - mini-phone 3.5 mm
1 x headphones - output - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
1 x modem - phone line - RJ-11
1 x network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX - RJ-45
Networking
Max Transfer Rate 56 Kbps
Data Link Protocol Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
Wireless LAN Supported Yes
Miscellaneous
Features administrator password, power-on password, security lock slot (cable lock sold separately)
Compliant Standards ACPI 1.0b, Plug and Play, VESA DPMS
Monitor
Diagonal Size 15.4 in
Dimensions & Weight
Width 14.4 in
Depth 10.8 in
Height 1.5 in
Manufacturer Warranty
Service & Support 1 year warranty
Type 1 year warranty
Audio Output
Compliant Standards AC '97, DirectMusic, DirectSound, DirectSound3D
Physical Characteristics
Weight 6.83 lbs
Power
Min Operating Temperature 41 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Type Adobe Acrobat Reader, AOL, AT&T WorldNet Service, Apple QuickTime, Sonic DLA, Napster Digital Music Service (30 days trial), Norton Antivirus 2004 (3 months subscription), Toshiba ConfigFree, Quicken New User Edition 2004, Toshiba Custom Utilities, Toshiba Notebook Maximizer, RealOne Player 8 Basic, Toshiba Speech System, Sonic RecordNow, Sonic Solutions Drive Letter Access (DLA), Toshiba Touch and Launch, Toshiba ConfigFree, Toshiba Custom Utilities, Toshiba Notebook Maximizer, Toshiba Speech System, ArcSoft ShowBiz DVD, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Toshiba Touch and Launch, InterVideo WinDVD 5, Apple QuickTime, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, ArcSoft ShowBiz DVD, InterVideo WinDVD 5, Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition (Trial), Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, Norton Antivirus 2004 (3 months subscription), Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition (Trial), Quicken 2004 New User Edition, Microsoft Works, RealOne Player
Sustainability
Greenpeace policy rating (Nov 2011) 2.8

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Innovation

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