Should I buy a Toshiba Satellite notebook?
July 6, 2004 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm being tempted by tapwater-priced Toshiba Satellite notebooks. Can't seem to get a fix on any kind of popular opinion on how their owners feel about them or the brand. Anyone have any experiences?
posted by dong_resin to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
I bought one in 2001. Harddrive burned out in 2 years; it's ridiculously noisy and slow; hardware is plasticky and klunky.

I bought it because it was cheap; for the price, it was worth it. But for an extra couple hundred, I could've gotten something much better.
posted by BlueTrain at 8:57 AM on July 6, 2004

I've had one for about 7 months, and I haven't had any problems with it. My only gripe is the placement of the ~ key.
posted by cmonkey at 9:03 AM on July 6, 2004

I got one a few months ago and like it quite a bit. Maybe they've gotten better since 2001, but I don't find it noisy, slow, or klunky. It's pretty plastic-y, I guess, but I don't mind.

But then, this is my first laptop, so it could be that all of the other ones out there are way better and I just haven't experienced them yet.
posted by COBRA! at 9:06 AM on July 6, 2004

I heart the Toshiba Portege I use for work. It's extremely lightweight, does everything I need, and is just downright purty to look at. I'm not a poweruser and rarely have more than one excel spreadsheet, one word document, and Outlook open at a time, but others in my office have had trouble with keeping huge files open all at once while listening to streaming audio or what have you.
posted by pomegranate at 9:13 AM on July 6, 2004

We have 6 portege 2000 subnotebooks for execs and such. They are very nicely-made little machines, but they have all been inordinately troublesome, especially compared to dell laptops. The integrated wireless is particularly unreliable. We won't buy toshiba laptops again. YMMV.
posted by ulotrichous at 9:17 AM on July 6, 2004

We have two ~3 year old Satellite 2800s. Never had any problem except the battery dying on one. I'm actually considering the A70 for my next purchase.

And cmonkey, +1 for the ~ key, I can never find it.
posted by trillion at 9:27 AM on July 6, 2004

Earlier this year, at another job, I was buying lots of Satellite A10's for sales people. They were a good piece for the $$.
The only thing I noticed was the absence of an SVIDEO or RCA port, which can be a factor if you want to use a projector.
I bought an A20, but cannot remember if it had either.
For $999 they were good for what I needed them to do.
posted by a3matrix at 9:38 AM on July 6, 2004

I have a year and a half old Satellite 1110. I love it.

After dropping it from 4 feet, the case is damaged, but it continued to work for many months after that. The hard drive eventually bought the farm (I'm pretty sure because it was running when it was dropped), but it was cheap to replace with a drive 3x the capacity.

I'm very, er, not delicate with my gear, so the power plug has had to be replaced several times due to the wire being overflexed. Yet despite the sparking and flickering from faulty wiring, the powerpack and laptop are ticking along just fine. I've no idea how they can cope with intermittent sparking.

I believe my PCMIA slots have kicked the bucket this month. That undoubtedly comes from the pressure as pillows and legs and shit push the WiFi card when I'm slouching out on the sofa or bed. I'll be popping the machine open and taking a look this week, because wired networking sucks.

The long and short of it is that I'm absolutely brutal to my laptop. That it is still running is proof positive, in my opinion, they're a effing awesome machine.

Satellite 1110 is now selling in Canada for $1000 even. What a deal!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:58 AM on July 6, 2004

Toshiba sells amazing high-end laptops. They also sell low-end laptops. The best thing about the low-end laptops is the warranty - they are the only manufacturer to cover the battery. Generally their low-end laptops and heavy, clunky, and slow. They also tend to come with non-standard software (i.e. Lotus Notes instead of MS Word or Works). This may or may not be a problem for you.
posted by Coffeemate at 10:00 AM on July 6, 2004

I'm happy with a 2 Satellite laptops, one low end one hi end. Consider that the low end one broke almost immediately (the LCD died) but Toshiba replaced the whole LCD in two weeks no questions no costs. Good enough for me.
posted by elpapacito at 10:10 AM on July 6, 2004

My experience is Canadian; there are some differences between US and Canadian models.

My employer buys a couple thousand Toshiba Satellite laptops every year, for the past 4 years, for staff and students. There is a definate price/quality trade off. We buy a ~C$300 more expensive model for staff. Decent machines all around and we don't have any unusual problems. Bluetrains' harddrive problem was with the crappy IBM Deskstar HD and was common to any manufacture who was unlucky enough to source those drives in either 3.5 or 2.5 form factor. They have gotten better as far as layout of ports, fans, etc. with every iteration.

a3matrix: The only thing I noticed was the absence of an SVIDEO or RCA port, which can be a factor if you want to use a projector. I bought an A20, but cannot remember if it had either.

A20s do have SVIDEO; however, most modern projectors support VGA input anyways.

You'll pay more for a protege and the only real benifit is they are compatible with a OEM port replicator.

As far as keys go every manufacture has to move some of them non standard. The good thing is Toshiba puts the windows keys up and out of the way in the top tight hand side.
posted by Mitheral at 10:26 AM on July 6, 2004

Ages ago (1997) I bought a Toshiba Satellite laptop. I never had a problem with it, and finally replaced it in *cough* 2002 when my parents gave me a digital camera and I realized I needed 1) more than a 1gb hard drive and 2) a USB port.

It's awfully long in the past, but I've no complaints about Toshiba laptops. I remember really liking the keyboard in comparison to other laptops I'd investigated. As always, YMMV.
posted by ambrosia at 10:44 AM on July 6, 2004

I'm also in Canada and have a Toshiba Satellite 1130, purchased in May 2003 from Future Shop. I bought an extended warranty for it, so I'm covered for another 2 years.

It's been an excellent desktop replacement for me. The battery life is great, and it's survived being dropped from short heights (while in a padded backpack) with no ill effects. I've been using it (and transporting it between school and home) almost daily for the past year and I've had no problems with it at all thus far.

Something smaller and lighter would have been nice, but on my budget that was not a possibility. I did find it a bit heavy to lug around in a shoulder bag, but I bought a laptop backpack so now carrying it around is no big deal.
posted by sanitycheck at 1:18 PM on July 6, 2004

I've decided to make Toshibas the de facto standard here. The standard A25 or something along those lines (I don't pay attention to model numbers, only price and features). We pay $1800 and deck it out to future proof it as much as possible. Anyway it's not as sleak and stylish as a Sony or Apple but not as ugly as those Dells (those are plasticy). We send them out in very harsh construction environments and I have had very little problems, mostly caused by users dropping it or using it very hard.

They have authorized repair places so you don't have to ship it out, and can talk to an actual person. That's what I like most about them, that and they don't break. The warranty covers everything and have only been charged an out of warranty cost once ($15 heatsink, labor under warranty) that was done by a user dropping it. And I'm sure repair places vary, but the turn around time is usually same or next day when I take it up.
posted by geoff. at 1:59 PM on July 6, 2004

Thanks for the info, all.
I poked around with the satelite today in a store. Felt a little suicidal. Think I'll give this one a pass. The high end ones seem nice, but for under a grand, I think I'll stick to ebay'd ThinkPads.
posted by dong_resin at 4:09 PM on July 6, 2004

For what it's worth, my work gave me a new Samsung Sens (er, I forget the model number) to use last month and it kicks serious ass. I'm easily impressed, perhaps, but I'd buy one in a flash if I were in the market to do so (and had any money to speak of).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:34 AM on July 7, 2004

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