Toshiba’s new input into the Satellite series, the Satelite M200, has decorated retail shelves since mid May. Hailing a trendy appearance, the latest "Satelite" is targeted at mobile consumers looking for a notebook with productivity, entertainment and style as the three pillars of consideration. Customizable to cater to a wide array of budgets, it seems Toshiba has gotten the balance right for the M200, or more specifically the M200-E430.
Despite being a new kid on the block, the M200 is not all that different from its predecessor, the M100. Changes were very subtle but not so much that they will slip you by. You'll note, for example, a new design for the speaker mesh and a blue backlight underneath the Satellite logo. With these fine design improvements, the M200 is now clearly a trendier machine than the M100 ever was.
Adding to that impression is the exterior of the Satelite M200. The notebook is a nice continuation of Toshiba's trademark Onyx Blue Design, which gives the notebook a cool blue shade over the conventional blue as one might expect. Like the M100, the M200 also packs convenient multimedia buttons for instant control of music and movies. There's even an old-school volume jog cozily seated beside the microphone jack for speedy adjustment of decibels. The all important keyboard is a joy to type on as well, neither too loud nor too deprived of feedback.
With a pair of integrated Harman/Kardon speakers, the Satelite M200 is not your average flat box with tinny audio. Music from our test suite was roared out in crystal clear clarity – definitely a class above most notebooks from brands competing in the same segment.
The only downside we experienced was a slight hissing sound at high volume levels which, fortunately, was only audible when bass was on the high side. Classical pieces and soft rock produced no such audio weaknesses.
A welcomed addition to the M200 is a 1.3-megapixel webcam embedded within the top bezel of the LCD screen. Though pixel count is rated at 1280 by 800, we found the highest usable resolution was at a more modest 640 by 480 VGA resolution instead. Nevertheless, it should provide a good experience for online video chatting through applications such as Live Messenger and Skype, for example.
As expected of Toshiba, the glossy widescreen of the M200 proved to be a delightful panel for enjoying movies. Its wide viewing angle along the horizontal axis makes it possible for group viewing, but unfortunately the same cannot be said of its vertical viewing angle where color distortions are apparent when the screen is not viewed at eyelevel.
Performance wise, the Toshiba Satelite M200 performed as expected. Equipped with an Intel “Santa Rosa” Core 2 Duo processor running at 1.8GHz, response from common business applications was snappy, as was Internet browsing. The tradeoff however, was a fairly short DVD playback time of just 118 minutes.
Overall, the Toshiba Satellite M200 is a practical notebook with a decent multimedia twist. Attractiveness of its design may be debatable but there's no arguing it packs the right punch to meet the immediate needs of mainstream consumers. Now factor frills such as a fingerprint reader and a DVD drive with Labelflash technology and you'll quickly appreciate the proposition of the Toshiba Satelite M200.