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Toshiba Satellite U205, Portege R400, Satellite P105, Satellite A135

A Closer Look at Toshiba's Vista-based editions of its Satellite U205, Portege R400, Satellite P105, and Satellite A135 notebook computers.
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By Matt Conner on
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1 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
While the U205 isn't a new system for Toshiba, the Vista pre-loaded edition (available starting 2/7/07) is. At 4.1 lbs, the U205 fits in the ultra-portable class and we're positioning it a poor-man's Portege since it's the only non-Portege ultra-portable from Toshiba (maker of the Portege as well).
The system comes preloaded with the 32-bit Home Premium edition of Windows Vista and is available with a choice of Intel's Core 2 Duo processors: the T5500 and the T7200. The 7200 is faster (2.0Ghz vs. 1.66Ghz) and has more L2 cache (4MB vs. 2MB) but both have the same front-side bus speed (667 Mhz). The base $1299 configuration comes iwth a gig of DDR2 SDRAM. Both configurations come with a 160GB hard drive. The optical drive is Toshiba's SuperMulti that supports 11 different formats.
As you'll see from the next images, this is sort of a plain Jane of a notebook squeezed into a small package, from a very reputable notebook maker.
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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2 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
The U205 has a FireWire port but it's the four-pin version which means that if you have a FireWire peripheral that can normally draw power through the FireWire interface, you'll still need to find a wall-socket or some other means of powering that device. We think it's a mistake for notebook computers with FireWire interfaces to use the 4-pin interface since it flies in the face of a notebook's mobility and ability to power up anywhere on battery power.
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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3 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
You know that we're struggling to find something interesting when we start magnifying power and network interfaces. But here they are. The network interface on the U205 is Intel's PRO/100 VE Network Connection 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet (RJ-45)
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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4 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
Normally, we wouldn't give this the time of day. But the positioning of the lock slot, given the hardware that goes into it and then how the notebook would eventually be secured with that hardware makes this an awkward location for the slot. You've got cable connections in front of it and behind it. Our preference for a lock slot is for it to be on the back of a notebook and, in fact, it does appear on the back of some of the other notebooks from Toshiba.
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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5 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
Also on the left side of the Satellite U205 is one of the notebook's three USB 2.0 ports (the other two are on the other side for a total of three), an RJ-11 interface for the internal modem,and a single PC Card slot. In addition to a PC Card slot, the much larger Satellite P105 (the U205's sibling) has an ExpressCard slot too (a demonstration of the sacrifices that must be made as you go from a 7 lb. package to a 4 lb. package).
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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6 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
Once again, this isn't the sort of thing we'd normally spend a photo on. But the fact that we are is indicative of how this is sort of a plain Jane system. It's a matter of personal choice, but this is a good location for the headphone and microphone jacks for people that will be using the entertainment features of the system (especially the DVD drive that supports a dizzying array of formats).
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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7 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
Fingerprint readers are standard fare on the U205 and the presence of one draws into question the consumer positioning of the system since biometric security is normally the sort of thing that appeals to businesses and the fact that consumers won't make use of.
The fingerprint reader is a part of Toshiba's LifeSmart package of components that shows up on most of Toshiba's Satellite-branded systems. Even so, we think it should be on every notebook because at the end of the day, notebooks get lost and if they have biometric security like this one does, it raises the barrier to entry by someone who might go in and take advantage of things like user IDs and passwords that are cached in your browser.
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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8 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
As the U205 is considered to be an ultraportable (or subnotebook), it has a smaller display than most other notebooks (this one coming in at 12.1 diagonal inches). The display's native resolution is 1280x800. It's a Wide Video Graphics Array-based (WVGA) display driven by Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator 950.
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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9 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
This is definitely the more interesting of the two sides of the U205. Shown here is the 5-in-1 media card slot that supports Secure Digital, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Multi Media Card, and xD. Also here is the optical drive that supports 11 different formats (but not HD-DVD or Blu-Ray), two of the system's three USB 2.0 slots, an external monitor port, and one of our favorite features that should be on all notebooks -- a physical on/off switch for the WiFi radio.
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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10 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
In January 2007 as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Toshiba introduced the Portégé R400 amidst quite a bit of fanfare. The company announced the system as having been developed in collaboration with Microsoft and it was in fact demonstrated on stage by Bill Gates as the first notebook to take advantage of Vista-specific like SideShow (discussed in subsequent slides).
We're not sure that the Toshiba's implementation of SideShow (and it's companion technology Active Notifications) is as ground-breaking and other's say it is, but one other unique feature -- an ultra-wideband based port replicator (in other words, no physical connection between the notebook and docking station is necessary) is an advancement that other notebook vendors are sure to copy.
The Portégé which weighs in at a svelte 3.79 lbs. comes pre-loaded with the "Ultimate" version of Windows Vista. Given all the wireless radios it comes with (including an EVDO radio that must be provisioned by Verizon Wireless to take advantage of it), battery life could be an issue which is probably why Toshiba elected to go with the more power-conservative Core Duo U2500 processor from Intel. Running at 1.20 Ghz with 2MB of L2 cache and a 533 Mhz front-side bus, the Portégé won't offer the performance of the newer Satellites (also featured in this image gallery) with their "bolder" processors.
The system also comes with a paltry 80 GB hard drive.
Depending on the memory configuration (ranging from 2GB SDRAM to 4GB SDRAM), the price starts at a hefty $2600 (without the wireless port replicator and not including a contract with Verizon Wireless).
For David Berlind's write-up on the U205 see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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11 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
Unlike the Satellite U205 (the other ultraportable) that has all of its USB ports and its RJ45 port (for hard-wired Ethernet) on the side, the Portégé has all two of its USB ports and it's LAN port on the back. For connectivity, this notebook has Intel's PRO/Wireless WiFi (802.11a/b/g) adapter, a Bluetooth 2.0 plus Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) radio, an EVDO radio (requires contract with Verizon Wireless), and an internal Intel PRO/1000 10/100/1000 Base-TX Ethernet adapter(behind that RJ-45)
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Like its Satellite-branded siblings, the Portégé has a fingerprint reader for biometric security.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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13 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
As with other tablet PCs, there are a bunch of buttons (including the power button) that make the Portégé more functional, as a tablet. For example, a power button lock so that, when in tablet mode, you don't inadvertently power-down the system. The all important escape button is here too... the button that makes it easier to back out of menus and other application features without having to get access to the keyboard (which is typically in acessible when it tablet mode).
The button panel also offers users one-button access to switching between portrait and landscape modes (when using tablets, most people want to be in the portrait mode which is like holding a legal pad). Also here is one touch access to invoke the CTRL-ATL-DEL keyboard sequence which activates Windows security.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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14 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
One nice touch that we don't see on too many notebooks is a simple thumbwheel like volume control. You usually have to press some combination of keystrokes or open up some software functionality in the operating system to raise or lower the volume. If you've ever been in one of those circumstances where you're in the middle of a meeting and just the act of visiting some Web page causes the audio to start blaring, you'll immediately understand the value of Toshiba's design choice.
There is one design detail that Toshiba overlooked though (unless the actual systems are different from what's pictured). On other notebooks (Lenovo's Thinkpads for example), the headphone and microphone jacks are colored green and red respectively to make identification of which is which from a distance much easier (often, the jacks that go into them are similarly colored).
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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15 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
Although we think the idea of Microsoft's SideShow technology is revolutionary, we don't see Toshiba's implementation of it in the Portégé as being nearly as revolutionary. The main idea behind SideShow is to be able to access certain applications like your email and calendar without having (a)to take the notebook out of its sleep-state and (b) to open the notebook at all. With a display on the edge or side of a notebook computer, certain information like an e-mail or calendar item can be displayed there.
Toshiba sees big value-add between the presence of this feature in combination with the EVDO radio which means that your email and calendar can stay in synch without opening the notebook (using a Microsoft technology known as Active Notifications).
Unfortuately, this support for SideShow and Active Notifications is hampered by such a tiny display and the very few things that can be done in one line of LCD text. A slicker implementation (from a display point of view) can be seen in on of the new notebooks from Asus (see our video or check out the still image by moving two slides ahead). Shown here is simply the time, remaining battery Life, radio signal strength, and an indicator as to whether new mail has arrived.
This image is courtesy of NotebookReview.com which graciously gave us permission to republish it here. You can also see NotebookReview's discussion of the SideShow feature here.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Using these buttons, users can control what's being displayed on the SideShow Display (eg: calendar vs. email).
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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17 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet

We think this is a way better implementation (found on the W5fe) of Microsoft's SideShow technology than what's found on Toshiba's R400.

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18 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
The Portégé has a single PC Card slot on the right side.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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19 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
The Portégé's external monitor port is located on the left side of the chassis and is driven by Intel's WVGA-compatible Graphics Media Accelerator 950
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Here, on the front right side is where the Portégé's tablet stylus is stored (when not in use). Also seen here is the display as it begins to swivel 180 degrees. Once fully swiveled, you fold the clamsell closed and the back of the display will be against the keyboard with the LCD facing outward (officially putting the Portégé into its TabletPC mode).
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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21 of 42 Matt Conner/ZDNet
We've seen notebook manufacturers put speakers all over the place. In its Satellite lineup, we've seen speakers up on the LCD side of the device (see the U205) as well as on the hand-rest (see the P105), our least favorite position for speakers (based on our experience with food).
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Like it's other notebooks, Toshiba includes a physical on/off switch for wireless networking.. a must have on any notebook (but many don't have it). One situation this is really handy for? Well, if your computer is sleeping and just the sheer act of opening the lid turns on the wireless adapter (and let's say you're on a jet where you don't want that to happen), a flick of this switch does the trick (way better than having to go through software).p
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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The Portégé has 12.1" diagonal widescreen LED backlit TFT display that goes up to 1280x800 in resolution. ZDNet blogger Ed Bott raved about the clarity of this display in his write-up of the R400. Said Ed, "The screen is drop-dead gorgeous. The backlit LED uses 42 separate light sources, giving the 1280 x 800 display an unexpected level of clarity." 'Nuf said.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Portégé, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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According to Toshiba's literature, the P105 is positioned at gamers. Weighing in at 7+ pounds, we can see why. It's a big notebook (and given the sort of horsepower that gamers need, how can you not go big?). However, on the performance front, there are versions of this system that gamers could probably do with out. For example, whereas with the Vista-loaded Satellite U205s that comes with nothing but the 667 Mhz Front Side Bussed T5500 and T7200 Core 2 Duo processors from Intel, there's a lower-end version of the Vista-loaded P105 that uses the 1.60 Ghz T5200 processor (2MB L2 cache) that's has a slower 533 Mhz Front Size Bus.
Depending on configuration, the P105 comes equipped with a 160GB or 200GB hard drive.
The P105 comes preloaded with the Home Premium edition of Windows Vista. Also included is Toshiba's external USB-based HDTV Tuner.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite P105, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Yup. The P105 has support for both PC Card and ExpressCard. Cool!
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite P105, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Like the other Satellites (and as a part of the Satellite "LifeSmart" brand), you can raise the barrier to unauthorized access to the P105 through the use of a fingerprint reader for biometric security. But do gamers need it? Here's an idea. For gamers moving through maps, integrate the fingerprint readers on the maps (you know, those super secure entrance ways) with the fingerprint reader on the hardware.
For David Berlind's write-up on these notebooks see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Courtesy of of harman kardon, the P105 reveals its suitability to multimedia applications with some built-in speakers that are far more robust than what's typically found in most notebooks. But their location on on the handrest could mean that your hands or arms will obstruct the sound (perhaps negating some of th fidelity that harman kardon added in the first place.
Another problem (in our experience when speakers have been located here)? Food. We've returned notebooks to manufacturers with all sorts of stuff embedded in the speaker grills (stuff that belongs in the kitchen sink)
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite P105, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Evidence that someone at Toshiba was thinking about multimedia authoring and/or some form of audio recording (with the P105 as the source) is a Line Out jack (not seen on too many notebooks). Line Out is different than your run of the mill volume-adjustable headphone jacks. Once your audio source is at "line level" (otherwise known as 0 db), then you just connect your Line Out jack to a Line In Jack on some other device (like a recording device) and your levels should be perfect. So, this is a nice touch. So is the manually conrolled volume knob (which beats software any day as a way of controlling volume).
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite P105, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Like the other Satellite's and the Portege, it appears as though having a manual switch for turning the WiFi radio on and off is simply a part of the company's notebook design philosophy; a good choice in our estimation.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite P105, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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We still think it's a mistake to have a 4-pin (unpowered) FireWire port on a notebook. Think about it. For desktops, the likelihood that there'll be a nearby plug in the wall to power up your peripherals is so good that the having powered FireWire ports in a desktop is not nearly as critical as having them in places where you might take your notebook (where such power won't be available).
Of course, battery life will get nicked once a FireWire device starts drinking from the local juice. But we've been in those situations where having a powered port on our notebook (a MacBook to be specific) saved the day.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite P105, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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A 17.0" diagonal TFT active-matrix LCD display with a resolution of 1440x900 should be enough to satisfy just about any gamer or multimedia artist who needs tons of pixels to do whatever it is they do. The display is driven by an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS graphics card with 256MB of memory.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite P105, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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For the multimedia enthusiast, there is no shortage of multimedia connectivity in the P105. In addition to a total of 4 USB 2.0 ports, the P105 has TV out (S-Video and DVI-D), and S/PDIF out.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite P105, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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If there's one notebook that kind of falls into your middle of the road, has just about everything most people want, for a relatively low price (starts at $900), then the A135 is it. Toshiba has some awkward messaging around this system. On the one hand, the company talks about productivity app performance. On the other, multimedia stuff.
The feature that stands out most on the A135 is probably its capacity for two 120GB hard drives (for a total capacity of 240GB: storage space that exceeds the 200GB limit of other notebooks).
Even stranger is the wording that goes around those two drives. Toshiba says one can be used to hold your business apps while the other can be used to hold your images, music, videos, etc. Like, people really know or care about having two separate drives in their system. It's all just folders, right?
Anyway, the A135 comes with Intel's Core 2 Duo T5500 processor. In the notebook scheme of things at Toshiba.. even that choice says "middle" (between the T5200 and the T7200). The T5500 clocks in at 1.66 Ghz, has 2MB of L2 cache, and has a 667 Mhz Front Side Bus.
The A135 comes preloaded with the Ultimate edition of Windows Vista and comes standard with 2GB of PC4200 DDR2 SDRAM.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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With all that potential drive space that can hold pictures, music, and definitely full length movies, Toshiba was probably thinking you might be attaching this to some sort of output device that takes S-Video in. So, here on the left side is an S-Video out port.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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When we were browsing the photos, we realized that this cut away looked almost exactly the same as the cutaway for the left side of the U205. The A135 has one PC Card slot and one 4-pin unpowered FireWire port (again, we prefer the 6 pin versions).
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Like the rest of the notebooks covered here, the A135 has a physical on/off switch for its wireless radio. A smaart design choice for reasons already discussed in this photo gallery. The A135 uses an Intel PRO/Wireless WiFi (802.11a/b/g) adapter.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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As with the other Toshiba notebooks, the company offers a manual volume control (beats software anyday) for audio. But, just like in other cases, the microphone and headphone jacks should be colored red and green (repsectively) so that the ports can be better identified from a distance.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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A 5-in-1 media slot with support for Secure Digital (SD), Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Multi Media Card (MMC), xD Picture Card. The secure digital support is also comatible with the SDIO specification (SD Input/Output).
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Is located on the left side towards the back. Inside the A135 is an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950. The display is a 15.4" diagonal active-matrix TFT display that goes up to 1280x800. This also says "middle" to us here. Toshiba packs the same number of pixels into the 12.1 inch displays found on the U205 and the Portege R400. On the high -end, you've got the 17" LCD found on the P105.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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that the touch pad can provide one-tap short cuts to launch email, your browser, or other programs (it's user definable).This feature is also available in the touchpads on Toshiba's other notebook systems.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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Like the other Satellites (and the Portege), the A135, as a part of Toshiba's SamrtLife program, can be biometrically secured with a fingerprint reader
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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The Satellite A135 has a total of 4 USB 2.0 slots; one on the left, one on the right, and two in the rear. Facing the rear of the A135, there's an RJ11 jack for modem connectivity on the left and an RJ45 on the right (next to the USB port). The RJ45 port is connected to an internal 10/100/1000-Base TX Ethernet adapter.
For David Berlind's write-up on the Satellite A135, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.

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