If you're after a desktop replacement then the Satellite M40-136 from Toshiba is well worth considering. At under £1,000, the Satellite has a good set of components and is very well designed - just what you'd expect from a Tosh.

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A 60GB hard drive and 512MB of DDR RAM are fairly standard offerings and give the Satellite a solid platform on which to build. The 1.73GHz Pentium M 740 processor lends plenty of power to the M40, and a WorldBench 5 score of 83 is nothing to be ashamed of. However, the battery doesn't last too long - we only managed to get it to run for 77 minutes on MobileMark 2002.

The DVD writer handles all formats including DVD+R DL and DVD-RAM at reasonable speeds. But the real star of the show is the screen - colourful, bright and sharp, the widescreen display is perfect for a portable entertainment system.

And the onboard speakers do a sound job as well, if you'll excuse the pun. Made by specialist Harman Kardon, the audio is just about as good as you'll find on any notebook.

But if you want to play games you may be disappointed. Older games should be fine but the frame rates we got in the Doom 3 and Halo tests suggest it'll struggle with the latest titles. The 64MB Mobility Radeon X300 isn't quite up to 3D gaming.

The connectivity options are fairly standard, while the software bundle includes Microsoft Works 8.0.

Toshiba Satellite M40-136: Specs

  • 1.73GHz Intel Pentium M 740 processor
  • Windows XP Home
  • 512MB DDR RAM
  • 60GB hard drive
  • 15.4in 1,280x800 TFT display
  • 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon X300 graphics card
  • 24x/24x/10x (CD-ROM/-R/ -RW) 8x/8x/8x/2.4x/4x/4x/3x (DVD-ROM/ -R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
  • 802.11b/g facilities
  • Microsoft Works 8.0
  • 360x269x36mm
  • 2.8kg
  • 1-year international warranty
  • 1.73GHz Intel Pentium M 740 processor
  • Windows XP Home
  • 512MB DDR RAM
  • 60GB hard drive
  • 15.4in 1,280x800 TFT display
  • 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon X300 graphics card
  • 24x/24x/10x (CD-ROM/-R/ -RW) 8x/8x/8x/2.4x/4x/4x/3x (DVD-ROM/ -R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
  • 802.11b/g facilities
  • Microsoft Works 8.0
  • 360x269x36mm
  • 2.8kg
  • 1-year international warranty

OUR VERDICT

All things considered, this is a good notebook for the money. Battery life isn't great - this is a shame, because the Satellite isn't too heavy to lug about. The screen is brilliant but you can't take full advantage of this asset when playing games, as the graphics chip just won't allow it.

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