As was discussed in the Smidgen PC laptop brand guide, Toshiba is one of the best laptop brands today. They offer solid, well built products which are capable of providing good value but which don’t sacrifice quality. In fact, Toshiba ranks as the most reliable laptop brand according to Consumer Reports and the second most reliable according to Squaretrade. If you’re interested in a Toshiba laptop the three listed here are among the best laptops Toshiba makes.
Toshiba was a late bloomer in the netbook scene. They did not release their first netbook, the NB205, until mid 2009. By then some netbook manufacturers had been in the game for about a year, so it was surprising that Toshiba was able to arrive with a world-class product. The NB205 had an excellent keyboard and the best trackpad of any netbook available at the time. It even looked good.
The NB305 is a modest revision of the NB205, which is really all that was needed. It includes the latest Atom processor, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. Toshiba’s battery life claims are over-zealous, as the NB305 is actually only capable of around seven or eight hours, not the claimed eleven. Still, that is a very long time, and most users will find that they can use the NB305 multiple times before needing to recharge.
Even the price is reasonable. The NB305 is available for around $350 in most configurations. It isn’t the least expensive netbook around, but it offers a level of quality which is worth the extra $50 bucks over an entry-level netbook.
Toshiba’s mainstream laptops tend to be the company’s weakest link. It isn’t because they’re of low quality or unreliable, but rather because Toshiba seems to have a hard time matching the value proposition of other mainstream laptop companies like Dell. However, there are some exceptions to this, and the A505-S6030 is one of them.
The Toshiba Satellite A505-S6030 is crammed with a surprising amount of hardware for a laptop of this price. First and foremost is a Core i7 processor with a base speed of 1.6 Ghz. This true quad-core processor does no favors for battery life, but it provides incredible performance. This is backed up with gobs of RAM, Nvidia Geforce graphics, and a 500GB hard drive. The A505-S6030 also includes a 16 inch display with a resolution of 1366×768.
Given the price of around $920, this is a very good deal. Those who are interested in gaming can upgrade to the AS6035, which is more expensive but features upgraded Nvidia graphics which turn the A505 into a respectable gamer’s laptop.
In light of ASUS and Acer’s widely marketed ultraportables it is easy to forget that Toshiba also offers a very competent ultraportable which anyone looking for a small laptop should consider. Called the T135, this 13.3 inch laptop offers, in base form, a 1.3 Ghz ultra-low voltage processor, 3GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. The weight of this laptop is only 3.5 pounds and the overall thickness is under an inch. I also dare say that the T135 feels a bit more solid than the ASUS or Acer products of this type.
Thanks to its ultra-low voltage processor, the T135 is capable of around seven and a half hours of battery life, which is right on par with this category of laptop. The T135 also benefits from good performance relative to its class and an HDMI output which makes it easy to connect to monitors and televisions. To top this all off, the T135 is very reasonably priced compared to other ultraportables. The most basic model will set you back only $530, while models with upgraded processors cost about $100 more.