Construction - Build, Appearance, Size

Toshiba is one of the better known names in the notebook industry. The company's market share typically falls somewhere in the top five notebook producers, making it a major player in the notebook arena. Toshiba is known for producing high quality, relatively cutting edge systems that are backed by good customer support and warranty options.

As a large notebook producer, Toshiba's notebook line is expansive and includes notebooks in every size class. The Satellite 1900 series notebook that we look at today is tagged by Toshiba as "Power, performance and style for less than $2000" and the perfect solution for "customers wanting the capabilities of a desktop PC in a mobile design for an affordable price."

To fit the "capabilities of a desktop PC" into a mobile package, Toshiba was forced to build a rather bulky machine. The casing of the Satellite 1905-S277 is entirely plastic with a black, dark blue, and silver color motif. For the most part, the bottom half of the notebook is black and the top half dark blue. Silver plastic is used for accents and is found on the front face plate and the rear speakers.

To open the notebook, one simply needs to slide the front latch to the right and lift up on the screen. Doing so shows the Satellite 1905-S277's full sized 85 key and 12 function key semitransparent keyboard. The keyboard offers a 2.7mm key stroke and a 6mm height; two specs that made it quite comfortable to type on, in fact it has the feel of a desktop keyboard. The keyboard features dedicated home, page up, page down, and end keys as well as a set of dedicated arrow keys. As stated before, we have found that the inclusion of these keys results in increased efficiency as the user is not forced to hit a series of keys to perform a simple function.

The keyboard is located 4.5 inches from the front of the laptop, leaving ample space for wrist support. The touchpad style pointing device is located pretty much in the dead center of the wrist space which made it a bit less comfortable than the offset touch pad on the ASUS T9. Then again, left handers out there will have an easier time using the centered touchpad.

The front panel of the laptop is home to both a series of LEDs as well as CD controls. These controls and lights are angled outward so that they are completely visible and accessible when the notebook is closed. The LED panel is located directly in the middle of the front panel and has green LED lights for: AC power, power on, battery status, hard disk access, and disk activity light for the internal floppy and DVD-ROM/CDRW. Both the battery light and the power light have the ability to change from green to amber. The battery light glows amber while the battery is being charged and the power light flashes amber when the system is in standby mode.

To the right and left of the LCD panel are 5 buttons used to control the internal CD-ROM drive both while the system is on and while it is off. The first button on the left, the "mode" button, is used to enable or disable the other CD control buttons. Holding the mode button down for 4 seconds lights up a CD-ROM LED that is at the left most position on the LED display panel With this light on, the forward, back, play/pause and stop buttons can be used to control the CD player. The DVD-ROM/CDRW drive can be opened while the power is off as well, meaning that the system is usable as a full CD player even while the power is off. We found this to be quite a useful feature, as it allowed us to listen to our audio CDs while sparing the battery drain that accompanies listening to a CD with the system fully powered up.


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At the top of the keyboard, between the number keys and the function keys, lies two additional LEDs. The first of these two LEDs is the "cursor control mode light" which comes on when function-F10 is hit. This light indicates that the number pad (indicated by small gray letters beneath a set of keys) is on for directional control noted by the leftmost gray letters. The other light, enabled by hitting function-F11, indicates that the number pad is on for the numbers on the controls (the rightmost gray letters). The caps lock key light is located beneath the caps lock button so the left side of the key lights green when caps lock is on.

Above the keyboard one finds the silver power button as well as a tiny rubber nipple that is used as a switch to turn off the screen when the display is closed. On the left and right hand side of the top of the notebook are the system's speakers. The LCD is mounted by brackets on both sides of the system and opens and closes with ease.



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Index Construction - Build, Appearance, Size Continued

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