Toshiba Satellite L450
Cheap and cheerful
Not content with the new features offered by Windows 7, Toshiba has decided to throw in its own LifeSpace suite. Calling it a suite is perhaps pushing the point, since LifeSpace currently comprises just two applications: ReelTime and Bulletin Board. The latter lets you to create a collage of photos, clocks, calendars, to-do notes and other items – the idea being it helps you plan events such as holidays and meetings. Having given it a thorough test, we’re not convinced. There’s simply not enough space to play with and you simply end up with something of a mess. And with no print or share feature, we find it hard to believe anyone will actually put it to good use.
Of more interest is the ReelTime tool. This pops up just above the taskbar and displays a timeline of recently-viewed items in the form of thumbnails. You can limit the list to documents, photos or videos, as well as choose to view only those items associated with specific applications. Unlike the Bulletin Board app, we actually found ReelTime quite useful.
Toshiba certainly isn’t averse to bloatware, and when you first fire up the Satellite L450 you’ll be greeted by delights such as the WildTangent Games Console - a selection of dire titles that you’re supposed to fork out money to play - along with trial versions of McAfee Internet Security and Microsoft Office 2007. Perhaps the only useful third-party software included is Microsoft Works 9, although many will prefer to ditch this and go for OpenOffice instead.
Should the Satellite L450 ring your bell, bear in mind Toshiba charges £11.50 for all laptop deliveries in the UK, which pushes the total price up to £390. That said, the company is offering a rebate of up to £150 if you trade-in your old machine, from any supplier. How much you get depends on its condition and how well it works. The offer lasts until 31 January 2010.
If you’re looking for a 15in laptop for under £400, the Satellite L450 is definitely worthy of consideration. Although anything that has to call on an Intel Celeron processor is always going to struggle in terms of performance, Windows 7 ticks along nicely and it’s perfectly capable of handling everyday tasks. There are a few niggles, not least poor battery life, but on the whole this is a decent, no-nonsense budget laptop. ®
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