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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Toshiba Satellite L450
Intel = OpenGL fail
No not a Intel video chip again. Oh please no. The moment the users install anything requiring OpenGL they're gonna find they're dead in the water without an oar to paddle with.
Okay I guess Intel is giving them away for nothing or something. Trouble is if you can't run your programs with them what's the point of the laptop cheep even as it is?
Re: Not that cheap.
Yes, but for £30 extra I'd rather have the Toshiba. I've seen how Dell treat their customers when things go wrong.
Not that cheap.
right now Dell are flogging entry level Inspiron 15s with a very similar spec and 4GB of RAM for £350.
A Warning from History?
Bought someone an L350D Toshiba. The 'D' meant it uses an AMD chip, not Intel. More bang for the buck, better overall specification of laptop for similar price.
Toshiba UK have support forums, so before you buy this model, if I were you I would go check there first to see what typical issues you may encounter.
Sturdy laptop, very sold, good keyboard, typical Toshiba traits. However:
1) Certain laptops, AMD or Intel, seem to have very poor ventilation design, so can overheat when playing a game or using other CPU intensive tasks. Not sure if dust is a problem, but it's suggested dust blocks the vents on the forum, although I still think it's an overall bad design after research.
2) These laptops seem to still come generally with Vista. Put XP on, and although there are all the relevant XP drivers on Toshiba's website, some things are strange. The rubbish realtek WLAN adapter is USB unbelievable, not mini-PCI, and has an on/off switch on the front. With WPA1 or 2 PSK it just doesn't connect properly. A basic quick-fix for this (XP remember) is to use WEP (yes, we all know the security issues there.) The network icon does not always show the wireless network is connected, but you can still do everyday internet-tasks fine. It is indeed a very strange one, and I can only put it down to a combination of XP, bad driver design, and the fact the WLAN adapter is USB.
The limited WLAN connectivity with strange icons is a quick-fix that worked after a BIOS update of the laptop.
Those were just my experience with this laptop I had bought for somebody. From Toshiba forums there are a whole host of other problems, some ridiculous and user-caused; but some not. I think XP should be expected to work fine on t hese laptops, but really you want an intel, not realtek, WLAN adapter, and make sure you give it a thorough going over before your return-to-shop period is up.
If anybody has any questions about any of these cheaply priced Toshibas, check out Toshiba forums, where it will already have been answered. If you own a Toshiba laptop in these ranges, update the BIOS first, to see if that makes a difference.
feels very rough when running your finger around the edges
[Tommy Cooper] "I went to the doctor, I said 'Doctor, it hurts when I do this'. He said ' Don't do it then'. [/Tommy Cooper]