• Price When Reviewed: £1,799 plus VAT

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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The Satellite 5000-104 gives hard-core multimedia enthusiasts many reasons to rejoice. It has out-of-this-world sound, flash-media card slots, an IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port, and a case that looks like the polished hood of a sports car. The Satellite 5000-104 makes beautiful music thanks to a set of Harman/Kardon stereo speakers backed by a subwoofer on the bottom of the notebook. The speakers – which jut from the back corners of the keyboard – and the audio controls on the front of the notebook remain exposed when you close the lid. This laptop uses a 1.1GHz Pentium III desktop processor, but we didn’t have any problems with overheating, as the notebook has several fan vents around the edge of the case. Helped by 512MB of RAM, the Satellite 5000-104 performed strongly and earned a PC WorldBench 4 score of 95, which is slightly ahead of most. The Satellite’s striking looks feature a marine-blue, hard-plastic lid; a contrasting blue lower casing; and a silver-&-black audio panel studded with five brightly coloured status lights and a small LCD that displays the time, the day of the week, and the remaining battery life. In addition to the IEEE 1394 port, you get Secure Digital and SmartMedia slots for popping photos and other data into your notebook via the small media cards used in many digital cameras and PDAs. However, the Satellite 5000-104 includes only one fixed internal drive. Unfortunately, because the notebook lacks a modular bay, you can’t add a second battery, and the floppy drive is an external USB device. The notebook lacks parallel, serial, and PS/2 connections. Altogether, including the AC adaptor, the Satellite 5000-104 is heavier than most notebooks, at 8.7 pounds. The 1.7-hour battery life is disappointing, too. The Satellite’s case is somewhat thicker at the hinges than at the front, which gives the keyboard a slight tilt. The keyboard is large and nicely designed. The Satellite 5000-104 comes with almost everything devoted digerati could wish for. But with its short battery life and clunky size, it’s not perfectly suited for toting from place to place.