Dell vs Toshiba Laptop Battle Round 1: Design
Dell's laptops are known for simple but solid designs. The Inspiron and Studio lines both have a simple rounded-corner box shape. The most basic Dell color scheme, a simple black gloss finish, has a tendency to show fingerprints very badly and is boring to look at. However, Dell offers numerous color options for the lids of their laptops, and some laptops can be customized by the Dell Design Center, which allows special patterns and prints to be applied. The color and Design Center options are not free, however.
Dell's build quality is generally good. Besides the cheap looking glossy plastic previously mentioned there isn't much to complain about. Dell keyboards are well laid out, although they sometimes show a lot of flex when used vigorously, and Dell trackpads are easy to use. The stock displays aren't great, but Dell offers many of its laptops with upgraded display options which are very good compared to other brands.
Toshiba's designs are also on the simple side, but Toshiba makes heavy use of textured plastics and chrome accents to make their laptops stand out from the crowd. Toshiba offers color options on a few laptops, but only the company's smaller models. The mainstream Satellite 500 series laptops are like the Model T - available in any color you'd like so long as it is black.
The keyboards on Toshiba laptops are a bit sub-par. They don't have much flex, but most use a strange glossy finish which is a use fingerprint magnet. They also generally feel mushy despite the lack of flex. The trackpads, much like Dell's, are easy to use. Toshiba's displays are very standard, but unlike Dell, Toshiba does not usually offer superior upgraded versions.
Winner: Dell. The two are fairly close when it comes to design, but Dell's better keyboards give Dell the victory.