Toshiba's laptops aren't usually the trendiest machines on the market, but, with the Satellite T130, the company could have a catwalk favourite on its hands. It's available in three colours -- red, for those who really want to make a statement; black, for traditionalists; and white, for anyone who likes to sit on the fence. Our white review sample went down a treat in the CNET UK offices, drawing oohs, aahs and occasional mmms, from passers-by. The T130 is available in a range of configurations. Here we review the £580 T130-13M.
The T130 measures 323 by 22 by 223mm, so it's larger than a netbook, but smaller than typical desktop-replacement laptops. This, plus the fact it weighs a mere 1.8kg, makes it pretty much the perfect size for road warriors who don't want to compromise on usability and comfort.
The T130's 13-inch screen is comfortable to look at even for long periods, and its keyboard is fabulous. The keys have just the right amount of vertical travel, and a crisp, positive action. It's a shame, then, that the trackpad feels so bad. At best, it's jerky, but, at worst, it's so utterly unresponsive that it feels as if your actions aren't being tracked at all. There's a chance the fault is limited to our review sample, but it wouldn't hurt to carry a spare mouse with you on your travels.
You're feeling sleepy
One of the T130's cleverest features is 'USB sleep and charge'. As the name suggests, this allows you to charge your USB-powered devices even when the laptop is in standby/sleep mode, hibernation mode or a fully shut-down state, as long as they're connected to the USB port with the little lightning bolt logo next to it (that's the one on the left of the machine).
The process isn't as simple as it may seem, however. Because different USB devices have different charging specifications, you'll need to run a set-up application, manually choose one of four power-supply modes and shut the laptop down to test whether it works. This process is rather long-winded, but the rewards are significant for anyone who wants to charge a phone or MP3 player while the laptop is tucked away in a rucksack, for example.
The T130-13M offers a 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 processor, 4GB of DDR3 800MHz memory and 250GB of storage. This delivers solid, if hardly mind-blowing, day-to-day computing performance, but prospective buyers who want a little extra grunt should also consider the £600 T130-170, which ships with a 1.3GHz dual-core CPU and a larger 320GB hard drive. Toshiba only supplies 3GB of RAM in this model, but it should hold a slight performance advantage over the T130-13M, thanks to its dual-core processor. Most models ship with 802.11n Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth and the 64-bit Home Premium edition of Windows 7.
The T130-13M won't win any awards for performance. Its Core 2 Solo CPU didn't return a result in the PCMark05 benchmark test, but anecdotal testing reveals the machine isn't particularly quick. It's at its best when running simple Web-based tasks, desktop-productivity applications and undertaking the odd spot of image editing. Anything more demanding -- video editing, perhaps -- will probably cause it to struggle. It's not very good for running 3D games, either -- it returned a decidedly poor 3DMark06 score of just 572.
Where the machine excels is in its ability to function away from the mains for long periods of time. Toshiba claims up to 11 hours is possible, although your mileage will vary depending on how CPU-intensive your chosen applications are. In our battery test, which simulates the CPU working at 100 per cent intensity until the battery dies, the T130-13M lasted an impressive 3 hours and 21 minutes, which is very good.
The Toshiba Satellite T130 is a great-looking laptop that's comfortable to use and offers good battery life. Others, such as the Acer TravelMate Timeline 8371, offer better performance than the T130-13M, but few offer such a good blend of portability and comfort.
Edited by Charles Kloet