This Toshiba Satellite follows the example of our current top sub-£500 model, the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20. The latter has crowned our budget chart for a few months thanks to its balance of price and performance, a feat that the Toshiba Satellite L350-235 carries off with only slightly less aplomb.

The foundations are sturdy, as the 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T4200 is a processor that gave excellent results in the Sony. In the Toshiba Satellite L350-235 it notches up 75 WorldBench points rather than the 77 of the Sony VAIO VGN-NS20. Neither of these laptops are quite as impressive as the Medion Akoya S5610, but a score in the mid seventies is a strong start for a sub-£500 notebook.

The 3GB of DDR2 RAM is welcome, and the 250GB hard drive fairly capacious. The Toshiba Satellite L350-235's graphics controller, an Intel GMA 4500M that borrows 128MB of system RAM, is only a notch down on the 4500MHD of the Sony. You may be able to play some older games, if quality expectations are kept low.

If there's one area where the Toshiba Satellite L350-235 does eclipse the Sony, it will be screen size. Trumping the glossy 15.4in LCD of the Vaio, the Toshiba offers a more expansive 17in display. A resolution of 1440x900 promises more detail, although this isn't the sharpest or most vibrant of screens. It's nice to have the extra workspace, but whether it would've been better to opt for better picture quality instead of size is moot.

The Toshiba Satellite L350-235 falls behind on wireless capabilities, as its 802.11g WiFi mode leaves it behind the Sony which supports faster 802.11n.

This Toshiba Satellite L350-235 isn't exactly light. Indeed, its 3.2kg weight makes it one of the heavier notebooks that we've seen. Build quality is quite good for the price, and we appreciated the positive feel and responsive touch of the trackpad. The keyboard is also very usable.

The battery posted a figure of 167 minutes in our MobileMark tests, more than half an hour short of the similarly specified Sony. We do suspect, however, that those buying a laptop to travel will look for something smaller and lighter than this jumbo notebook.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Toshiba Satellite L350-235: Specs

  • 2.0GHz Intel DualCore T4200
  • 17in (1440x900) glossy LCD display
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
  • 3GB DDR2 RAM
  • 250GB HDD
  • Intel GMA 4500M with 128MB system RAM
  • 802.11b/g
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW
  • 398x292x35mm
  • 3.2kg
  • 2.0GHz Intel DualCore T4200
  • 17in (1440x900) glossy LCD display
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
  • 3GB DDR2 RAM
  • 250GB HDD
  • Intel GMA 4500M with 128MB system RAM
  • 802.11b/g
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW
  • 398x292x35mm
  • 3.2kg

OUR VERDICT

While the Sony Vaio VGN-NS20J remains available, it’s still the choice of the sub-£500 notebooks. Yet the Toshiba Satellite L350-235's comparatively vast LCD could make it attractive for those who don’t need to travel. Otherwise, the Sony’s superior speed, battery life and wireless capabilities make it the better purchase.

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