Just bought myself a new laptop. I wanted to get a very portable, small, lightweight one, but didn’t want to pay the full price for something I’d only be using part of the time. After looking around a bit, I found out that Toshiba now sell factory returns, refurbished and ex-demo kit on eBay. Buying this kind of kit can be a great deal – you get computers that are “as new”, thoroughly tested by the manufacturer and with a warranty for much less than normal retail prices. The eBay approach is interesting – it saves the supplier from a lot of expensive marketing, and gives them a bigger profit margin than if they sold through an intermediary. It’s good for the customer, because (depending on how many people are interested at the time) you can get a serious bargain, provided you’re sensible enough to decide on a maximum price and not get lured into a bidding frenzy.
My first attempt was to get a rather tasty Portégé A100, but I was outbid at the last minute (it went for just £20 over my self-imposed maximum, but who knows what the other person’s maximum bid was?). I wasn’t too worried, because there were a couple of perhaps tastier Portégé R100 models due to end just minutes later. I was just beaten on the first, but got the second for my maximum bid of £750. This isn’t actually the current model, as it comes with a slower processor and a 30GB disk rather than the 40GB now supplied. But as neither of those factors are really an issue for me, I’m quite happy. Had to phone Toshiba on Monday to pay and arrange delivery. Naturally, delivery was attempted while I was in London, but I was able to get it delivered to the office on Friday, so that wasn’t a problem.
Now, I’d seen pictures. I’d used a ruler to see how big it would be. But when I got it out of the box, I was still totally gobsmacked by its extreme slimness and, well, prettiness. It’s gorgeous. It feels reassuringly well-built, though. The 12″ screen is bright, sharp and clear. Performance (once I’d upgraded the memory with an extra 512MB from those nice Crucial people) is more than adequate. It works nicely on my wireless LAN.
Natuarally, with something this small, there are compromises. This model doesn’t include a CD or DVD drive, which helps keep the thickness down. The standard battery only lasts for two hours, but there’s a larger four-hour battery included which neatly clips onto the base. This makes the back end a bit thicker (but still very thin), and helpfull angles the keyboard when the Tosh is sitting on a desk, which is pretty nifty.
While I was in the spendy mood, I got a new Logitech Cordless Mouse for Notebooks to go with it. It’s a perfectly nice slightly small cordless mouse, with a small USB dongle (there’s a cradle thingy with a cable that you can use if you prefer), which comes with a neat zipped pouch to carry it in. Nice touch.
 No floppy either, but who uses those these days?
 And I’ve managed to find a CD-ROM for it on eBay
 Only likely to be used if I need to reinstall from the bootable recovery CD – I’m installing software by sharing the CD and DVD drive on my main PC
 I get them now and then