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Toshiba Satellite L730 review

Tom Morgan
27 Nov 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
464
inc VAT

The Satellite L730 was a great laptop last year, but it looks outdated compared to the latest models

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Toshiba’s Satellite L730 is a compact 13.3in laptop that ticks all the boxes for everyday use – a 720p screen, internal optical drive and a lightweight chassis. However, considering its price, it's surprisingly outdated with its first-generation Core i3 processor and 2GB of RAM.

Toshiba Satellite L730

Sandy Bridge might now be the norm, but that hasn’t stopped Toshiba installing an original Core i3 processor in the L730. Although it runs at 2.53GHz and was one of the fastest first generation i3 chips, the i3-380M doesn’t support Turbo Boost for increased performance. In spite of its age, it’s no slouch in everyday tasks such as word processing or web browsing. It did surprisingly well in our updated multimedia benchmarks: an overall score of 44 is almost on par with the entry-level Sandy Bridge Core i3. Battery life was a dismal three hours in our light-use test, though.

It’s a surprise that Toshiba bothered to install the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium, given the 2GB of RAM. However, it does let you add more RAM in the future without being limited to accessing just 3.2GB as with the 32-bit operating system.

Unsurprisingly for a budget laptop, the Satellite L730 doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card. Instead, it relies on the integrated graphics provided by Intel’s processor – the first generation HD graphics aren’t quite as powerful as their Sandy Bridge successors, but they are still powerful enough to play high definition video. Unfortunately, there's no HDMI output, just VGA. The latest games are out, though, as an unplayable frame rate of 12.3fps in our Dirt 3 test shows.

Toshiba Satellite L730 left side

Beyond its disappointing internals, the Satellite L730 is a reasonable budget laptop – the design is plain and inoffensive and the full-size QWERTY keyboard is comfortable enough for hours of continuous typing. Toshiba’s standard keyboard layout – flat keys spaced closely together – can feel a little constricted compared to the Chiclet-style design used by other manufacturers, but the sensibly placed punctuation keys didn’t slow us down. The textured touchpad is a little on the small side, but still responsive enough for navigating the Windows desktop. We would have preferred the touchpad buttons to be a little further away from the edge of the chassis, but they were still firm and responsive.

The 13.3in display is reasonable, with its 1,366x768 resolution feeling a little cramped when working on two documents side-by-side. Image quality isn’t ground breaking, but colours were at least fairly accurate. Unfortunately, contrast was slightly lacking and brightness was only average. Viewing angles were also lacking, and there’s not a massive amount of screen tilt.

Toshiba Satellite L730 right side

Connectivity is basic. Beyond the internal optical drive, there are only three USB ports, audio in and out minijacks and a multiformat card reader. The 320GB hard disk is the bare minimum these days.

For £470, there’s no reason to buy a laptop that uses a first-generation Core processor – the same amount of money will buy a Sandy Bridge-equipped machine, which should have better performance and battery life. A year ago, the Satellite L730 would have been great value at this price, but given the competition, we can't recommend it. For similar money, you could buy the Acer Timeline X 4830T which is just as portable, yet has a built-in optical drive and a newer processor.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorIntel Core i3-380M
Processor clock speed2.53GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free1
Maximum memory8GB
Size28x329x221mm
Weight2.1kg
SoundConexant SmartAudio HD
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size13.3 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics
Graphics/video portsVGA
Graphics Memory384MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedMicrosoft Office 2010 Starter Edition
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£464
Detailswww.toshiba.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.misco.co.uk

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