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By Johan Keyter 18 August 2010

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The Toshiba Satellite T110 is blurring the line between netbooks and notebooks. This compact computer offers the size benefits of a netbook coupled with the performance of a a fully sized notebook - well almost.

Size

The T110 is as petite as notebooks get barely tipping the scales at a carry-friendly 1.76 kg. Measurements for the device are 286 x 211 x 24.9 mm, which means its not as small as a netbook, but still not a hassle to carry around.

The build quality is good for such a small device and the T110 is sturdy enough to be carried around in a backpack day after day. As it is slightly larger than traditional netbooks the T110’s keyboard, touchpad and palm-rest areas are comfortable and makes working on the device a breeze. The touchpad was responsive but not the smoothest we’ve encountered and apart from getting used to the slightly more compact keyboard all the input devices performed well.

Toshiba Satellite T110 review

Battery life

The device’s 6-cell Lithium-ion battery performed very well and lasted more than 10 hours when left standing with the energy savings settings turned on. We did another test where we turned WLAN on and used an Internet browser to do some routine surfing - the T110 lasted for an impressive 7 hours and 45 minutes. When viewing videos using full screen brightness settings this number should drop to around  4 hours, still a decent performance.

Internal features

Under the hood you’ll find an Intel Pentium SU2700 CPU running at 1.3 GHz, 2 GB DDR3 RAM (upgradable to 4 GB), a 250 GB 5400 rpm HDD (500 GB also available) and an Intel GMA 4500 onboard GPU. Unfortunately no optical drives are included with the machine, a feature which may not sit well with some users.

During benchmarking tests the T110 didn’t perform at the level of larger notebooks scoring a Passmark rating of only 291. Compare this to the similarly sized HP Pavilion dm1 which scored 440.5. It still sports much higher ratings than traditional netbooks however, based on the Windows Consumer Index the T110’s processor scored 3.1 while the ASUS Eee PC walked away with a score of only 1.9 (the HP dm1 scored 3.9). In general it’s not the most powerful notebook around but for general usage is should be more than adequate.

The T110 is equipped with an 11.6” HD TFT LED backlit screen with a native resolution of 1366 x 768. The display is clear and bright in normal conditions but when using the device outside the glare can become a little annoying. We were sorely disappointed by the HD movie playback on the T110, it features support for high definition video, and it can display it, the problem comes with processing power. We tried to play an HD movie in VLC media player on the device and while it did start, the lag was almost unbearable.

Toshiba Satellite T110


Ports and usability

As far as ports go, the Satellite T110  features three USB 2.0 ports, a D-Sub (VGA) port, a 10/100 Ethernet port, microphone and headphone ports and an SD card reader and surprisingly enough an HDMI port for high definition playback.

One of the USB ports also support a feature known as sleep-and-charge which allows you to charge a USB devices even while the computer is in a powered down state, a handy addition for travelling.

A hard drive protection utility also makes an appearance. This technology will automatically stop the drive’s head if too much vibration is detected, helping to conserve the HDD’s lifespan. This feature is somewhat sensitive at the start, registering vibration from the slightest tilt. It’s easily adjustable though so it shouldn’t provide too many headaches.

A webcam equipped with facial recognition technology as well as a range of Toshiba software solutions ships with the device enabling users to create notes, a to-do-list and calendar.

The T110 comes preloaded with the Windows 7 Home Premium OS, either in a 32-bit or 64-bit configuration. Our test model was loaded with the 64-bit version of the OS.

Toshiba T110

Design

The Satellite T110 sports a slender, elegant design with a form factor falling somewhere between netbook and notebook. It is available in South Africa in only Iron Red Metallic, an aesthetically pleasing red pattern design covering the exterior and bordering the keyboard. Chrome trim makes an appearance bordering the keyboard and touchpad, adding to the device’s overall appeal.

Conclusion

The Toshiba Satellite T110 is the perfect device for the frequent traveler looking for good looks and a compact “almost-netbook” size notebook. It retails with a recommended retail price of R5499 so it’s affordable to boot. Aside from the slightly glare sensitive display and no optical drive support the T110 proved itself to be a force to be reckoned with. Although if you’re serious about multi-tasking and powerful performance you might want to look at for example Asus’ UL30J.

PROS
Its small size, smart features and impressive battery life makes the T110 stand out from the crowd.
CONS
No optical drive and finnicky performance when running resource intensive programs.
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