Toybox: Decent machine all dressed in white

On the downside, boot-time for the machine is horrendously long

Toshiba’s Satellite M300 made a good first impression when I unpacked it — it is white with silver details. Opening the lid revealed a comfortable-looking keyboard with quite large keys and two smallish Harman/Kardon speakers located at each top corner.

But, turning the machine on, what immediately caught my eye was the cool, white backlighting of the multimedia buttons above the keyboard, and the mouse pad bar, the power button and the Satellite logo in the left-hand corner. A very nice touch.

The white machine isn’t too shabby under the hood either. It has a decent Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 2.26GHz processor, a 250GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM. My review unit came pre-loaded with Windows Vista home premium.

One small drawback — the 14.1-inch screen it’s a bit too glossy for my taste, but I’m sure some people will like it.

The M300 has a built-in webcam, which you would expect of a notebook in this price range, but it also has a whole range of settings available for this. These include night mode, options for indoor and outdoor use, a “beauty skin” option (must try that one), and a conference setting. The microphone is located next to the camera on the top panel.

The M300 has three USB ports, in addition to HDMI-out and VGA-out, and a Firewire port, Ethernet port and SD-card slot. It also comes with DVD play/recording software.

Returning to the keyboard, I really enjoyed typing on the large, soft keys. They spring back slightly when pressed.

My review unit also came loaded with Adobe Reader 8, Picasa 2 photo-management software and Google Desktop. The latter allows you to open a quick-search box, by pressing Ctrl twice, and to drag gadgets to the desktop, among other neat features.

On the downside, boot-time for the machine is horrendously long, and battery life is only around three hours.

RRP for the M300 is $2099, including GST.

To sum up, the M300 is not a bad choice if you are after a decent machine for normal work-use, video-conferencing and entertainment.

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