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By Thomas McKinnon 1 October 2008

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As computer components have become cheaper to produce and the processes ­required to produce them have become more efficient, fitting more and more ­computing power, and components, into a notebook has been the goal of most of the major manufacturers. Each manufacturer has gone about the creation of these ­super-performance notebooks in their own way. To this goal of massive performance and ­increased usability Toshiba gives us the Satellite X200.

This Toshiba is a serious ­performer. The 17" screen is a thing of beauty, if you could tear it off and stick it on your wall, you would. The version we tested has a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 processor, 2GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM, and a massive 300GB hard drive. If you’re buying the X200 for some serious gaming, then you’ll be glad to know that it has Dual NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics.

On the sound front the X200 is a winner as you get built-in speakers by Harmon Kardon, makers of the good stuff in sound. You actually get 5.1 surround sound, well sort of: above the keyboard there are four speakers, with a bass speaker sitting under the leading edge.

Beating around the bush regarding the size of the X200 would be like flogging a dead horse, pointless. This is not a small notebook, nor is it a light one, at a mighty 3.8kg. It is fair enough to say that this is not really the kind of thing you could actually use on your lap, unless you have cold legs and you’re fit enough. But it’s not really the physical size that’s the ­problem with the X200; it’s more the way it’s put ­together. It just feels a bit like the designers didn’t really give it a huge amount of thought. It’s very boxy, even for a notebook of this size.

But, in fairness, design-­elegance is the undoing of many of these performance notebooks and if it is ­performance you are after, you should give this notebook some serious consideration. R16 999 (incl VAT) from Computer Corporation on 08616-08616. 

PROS
The Harmon Kardon 5.1 sound system is outstanding.
CONS
Design just doesn't feel right, very boxy.
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