The Toshiba Satellite Pro U300-10U isn't quite small enough to be a true ultraportable, but it's still dinky enough to carry around with you most places you go.
Its stylish looks mean you'll not want to keep it hidden away in your bag and with an asking price of £660 from LaptopsDirect.co.uk it won't break the bank either.
The U300 is a decent sized laptop for someone who travels frequently, but is prepared to sacrifice a little portability for a slightly larger screen and more beefed up specs than you'd find on a conventional ultraportable. It tips the scales at 2kg, so isn't too heavy to carry around regularly and at 310 by 34 by 227mm it's small enough to slip into most bags, making it easy to cart around.
It's a nice looking laptop too, with a metallic-looking grey lid and sleek curves that smooth off any sharp edges. It features a glossy screen with great colour reproduction, although it's fairly reflective, which can make it difficult to work on if there are bright lights behind you.
There's a decent amount of storage space on the 120GB hard drive and there's a DVD writer tucked into the right hand side for backup. There's also a motion sensor which will move the hard drive head to an unused area of the drive if it senses movement, which should help avoid any data disasters.
Toshiba has sensibly split the three USB ports between both sides, with two on the left and one on the right, so you won't need to wrap cords all the way round the back to plug in peripherals.
Although it has a stronger specification than most ultraportable laptops, the U300 is still rather underpowered, with only a 1.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 processor and a meagre 1GB of RAM. Running it through PCMark05 resulted in a fairly lacklustre score of 2,566. You'll also be hard pushed to get any decent games performance out of the integrated Intel GMA X3100 graphics chip -- it only managed a pitiful 298 when running 3DMark06.
Battery performance was slightly better, but still nothing to write home about. It only managed to last 1 hour 13 minutes with the intensive run down Battery Eater test and the less strenuous reader test only managed to yield 3 hours 27 minutes before it conked out.
The keyboard features decent sized keys, but it is bouncy to type on, especially towards the middle. The touchpad is also quite small, making precise cursor movements difficult and the buttons are rather unresponsive, requiring a firm press for the click to be registered.
The U300 comes pre-loaded with Windows XP, rather than Microsoft's latest OS and given its performance scores, it's unlikely to have sufficient grunt to run Vista flawlessly.
The U300, available for £660 from LaptopsDirect.co.uk, is a good choice for those that need to work on the go. It's not the smallest machine available, but it's a good compromise. However, it's only really suitable for basic office work and won't be able to keep up with gaming or intensive multimedia applications.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire