3.0 star rating

Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402 Review

$1,199.00
Pros: Backlit keyboard; Good battery life; Above-average productivity performance; Sleep and Charge USB ports; Two-year warranty;
Cons: Polarizing interior design; Keyboard feels a bit flimsy; Some light leakage on bottom of screen; Mediocre Wi-Fi range;
The Verdict: Toshiba’s new thin-and-light notebook offers good endurance and performance along with a backlit keyboard.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

As one of two notebooks launching Best Buy’s Blue Label program, the Toshiba E105-S1402 incorporates a number of features and design elements based on customer research by the big-box retailer. The $1,199 E105, with a backlit keyboard and Toshiba’s funky Fusion Finish, certainly looks different from other notebooks from the company. Although we don’t love the design or the feel of the keyboard, this notebook will meet the needs of consumers looking for a thin and light system with long battery life and good overall performance.

Article Continued Below

Design

The E105’s footprint has a unique squarish build with rounded edges that’s reminiscent of the old MacBook Pro, and at 13.4 x 9.7 x 1.2 inches and a shade under 5 pounds, this notebook slips easily into a bag and can be comfortably carried around.

The E105 sports Toshiba’s high-gloss Fusion Finish—a series of lines that intersect to create geometric patterns—that extend from the lid to inside the notebook. The pattern on the outside is subtle, but on the inside the lines are brighter and louder, which some onlookers found more distracting than stylish.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard, done in a solid mocha color that matches the lid, was comfortable to type on, but we were a bit disturbed with the amount of flex. Pressing a single key caused a large portion of the layout to cave in temporarily, and keys made a sound as if they were sticking when depressed. We like that the keyboard is backlit, which can be activated by pressing Fn+Z; it would be nicer if the backlighting activated automatically in low light.

Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402The grid pattern also appears on the touchpad, where it is raised to provide a tactile feel, and helps distinguish the pad from the glossy palm rests. The ridges are just enough to notice, but not so much that they slow finger movements. Below, a fingerprint reader separates two mouse buttons, which while a bit noisy provided good feedback.

To the right are backlit multimedia touch controls that were very responsive. When a user presses the Function key, a list of all of the available options appear as a row of icons on the top of the screen. It saved us from having to hunch over and squint at the top row of keys to find the command we were looking for.

Display and Webcam

The 14.1 inch, 1280 x 800-pixel display was very crisp. While it had excellent viewing angles—nearly 180 degrees side to side—the image quickly deteriorated when we tilted the screen forward or backwards. When we watched a DVD of Master and Commander, the screen reproduced the blue of the ocean and the red of the British uniforms fairly well, and action sequences showed no lag. However, in full-screen mode, the movie appeared a little washed out, and we also noticed light seeping in at the bottom of the screen. We went to a local Best Buy to determine if this display issue was an isolated case, and did not notice any light seepage on a floor model.

Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402

The E105’s speakers, on the front corners of the notebook, were sufficiently loud for one or two people but, as expected, lacked bass. A fusillade of cannons during a climatic battle scene sounded no more imposing than a bunch of cap guns.

Above the display, the E105’s 1.3-MP webcam produced grainy and washed-out video both with the included webcam software and during a Skype call with a colleague.

Ports

Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402

On the front of the E105, right below the mouse buttons, is a 5-in-1 card reader; to its right are headphone and mic ports. Also included is a jack for an included FM radio antenna, which despite its small size was able to pick up radio stations clearly, even from inside an office building. Considering that the E105 also has an HDMI port, we wish that the notebook—which came with an 8X DVD burner—was also offered with Blu-ray as an option.

Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402

Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402

The notebook has three USB ports, one of which doubles as an eSATA port, which is great for using with high-speed external hard drives. Plus, the USB ports feature Toshiba’s Sleep and Charge technology, which lets users recharge connected devices even when the system is turned off.

Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402Hard Drive and Boot Time

Toshiba equipped the E105 with a very spacious 5,400-rpm, 320GB hard drive that will no doubt see plenty of use from consumers who fill it up with photos and music. While it’s not the fastest, the drive still managed a just-below-average score of 14.0 MBps when copying 4.97GB of mixed media files. The system was able to boot to Windows Vista Home Premium in 58 seconds, 13 seconds faster than the thin-and-light average.

Performance

The E105 comes with a 2.26-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor and 4GB of RAM, which powered the system to a PCMark Vantage score of 2,936—about 200 points higher than the category average. The E105 was able to rip 43.2 minutes of music from a CD in 3 minutes and 30 seconds; it converted those same tracks from AAC to MP3 (at 192 Kbps) in 1 minute and 41 seconds while simultaneously watching a DVD; video playback was not affected.

As part of the Centrino 2 platfrom, the E105 also uses Intel’s integrated GMA 4500MHD graphics, which produced mediocre 3DMark03 and 3DMark06 scores of 2,662 and 1,006, respectively. While the 3DMark03 score is about 50 points higher than the thin-and-light average, the E105’s 3DMark06 score is about 300 points shy of the category average. Not surprisingly, the E105 did not fare well when we ran F.E.A.R in autodetect mode (23 fps at 800 x 600 pixels) or with the screen set to its native resolution (6 fps). Both scores were roughly half the category average.

Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402Wi-Fi and Battery Life

Wi-Fi and Battery Life
Using Intel’s 5100 WiFi Link, the E105 managed slightly above-average throughput of 18.4 Mbps from 15 feet, but at 50 feet the 802.11a/g/n radio notched just 11.4 Mbps—about 3 Mbps less than the category average.

Despite claims by Toshiba and Best Buy that the E105 could last up to 5.5 hours on a charge, the model we tested fell about an hour short, at 4 hours 36 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi). Nevertheless, that figure is on a par with the recently released Apple MacBook, and about half an hour longer than the category average.

Software/Warranty

The E105 comes loaded with a 15-month trial of Norton AntiVirus, Toshiba HDD Protection (3D Sensor), Computrace LoJack for Laptops (BIOS Enabled), PowerCinema, Toshiba Disc Creator, a 60-day trial of Microsoft Office Professional 2007, and Ulead DVD MovieFactory 5. In addition to a relatively generous two-year warranty from Toshiba, the E105 also comes with 30 days of free Geek Squad support, courtesy of Best Buy.

Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402Toshiba Satellite E105 Verdict

We generally like the Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402, and it’s a good first step for Best Buy’s Blue Label program. You get good battery life without having an awkward extended battery hanging off the back of the system, the backlit keyboard is a nice touch, and there’s plenty of horsepower for running Vista. However, the design isn’t for everyone, and the quality of the keyboard isn’t top-notch. For a sleeker design and better graphics performance, you might want to take a look at the baseline 13.1-inch MacBook ($1,299). Or you could opt for a similarly configured HP Pavilion dv4t with a 12-cell battery. But the E105 is a pretty good choice for shoppers looking for a full-featured mobile system.

Tags: Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402, Toshiba, Ultraportable Notebooks, notebooks, reviews, laptops

Technical Specifications
Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402
http://www.toshibadirect.com


The central processor unit, or CPU, is the brain of your notebook.
Learn More
CPU
2.26-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
Operating SystemMS Windows Vista Home Premium
The amount of memory our reviewed configuration comes with.
Learn More
RAM
4GB
The maximum amount of memory this notebook supports.
Learn More
RAM Upgradable to
4GB
Amount of data your storage drive can hold.
Learn More
Hard Drive Size
320GB
The rotation speed of a mechanical hard drive.
Learn More
Hard Drive Speed
5,400rpm
Your notebook’s storage drive (hard drive or solid state drive) holds your operating system, your programs, and your data.
Learn More
Hard Drive Type
SATA Hard Drive
Your notebook display is the primary viewing device for your laptop computer.
Learn More
Display Size
14.1
The number of pxiels (wxh) displayed on your screen at once.
Learn More
Native Resolution
1280x800
An optical drive allows you to play or record to DVDs, CDs, or Blu-ray discs.
Learn More
Optical Drive
DVDRW Dual Layer
The speed of the optical drive.
Learn More
Optical Drive Speed
8X
Graphics chips are responsible for processing all images sent to your computer’s display.
Learn More
Graphics Card
Intel GMA 4500MHD
The amount of memory available for graphics processing.
Learn More
Video Memory
128MB
Wi-Fi connects you to a router or hotspot for wireless Internet access.
Learn More
Wi-Fi
802.11a/g/n
Bluetooth allows you to connect to wireless devices such as headsets, smart phones, and speakers.
Bluetooth
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Ports allow you to connect to external devices such as monitors, printers, MP3 players, and hard drivse.
Learn More
Ports (excluding USB)
Ethernet; HDMI; Headphone; Microphone; eSATA
USB ports allow you to connect many external devices, from MP3 players to external hard drives.
Learn More
USB Ports
2
Card readers allow you to plug memory and expansion cards directly into a notebook.
Learn More
Card Slots
5-1 card reader
Warranty/SupportTwo-year limited/24/7 toll-free phone
Size13.4 x 9.7 x 1.2 inches
Weight4.9 pounds
AUTHOR BIO
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero has overseen reviews on Laptopmag.com since 2007, focusing on producing the most thorough and authoritative mobile product reviews. After receiving his Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia in 2003, Mike worked at Fast Company. Prior to that, he worked at The Times of Trenton, George and AlleyCat News.
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor on
Twitter Google+
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE