Toshiba SATELLITE S50T-B-10H review
Processor: Dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 4500U, RAM: 8GB, Dimensions(HxWxD): 20x380x262mm, Screen size: 15.6in, Screen resolution: 1,366x768, Total storage: 1TB hard disk, Operating system: Windows 8.1, Parts and labour warranty: One-year collect and return
The Toshiba Satellite S50T-B-10H is a high-end general-purpose laptop that bears a resemblance to Toshiba's more expensive business notebooks. The Satellite S50T-B-10H is very svelte for a 15.6-inch device at just 19.9mm thick and, while it's far from the lightest laptop in the world, its 2.23kg weight means it is easily portable.
Coated in brushed aluminium-style plastic, the Satellite S50T-B-10H doesn't have the same premium feel as Toshiba's business notebooks, and the chassis has more flex to it than we’d like. There are also imperfections around the hinge area of the device.
The Satellite S50T-B-10H has the popular Chiclet-style keyboard style. The keys are responsive, although some keen typists may be disappointed with the limited amount of travel provided. The touchpad is good, too. While we usually prefer to see separate touchpad buttons above or below the touchpad unit, we found the integrated buttons worked very well without the usual cursor jump we often see from cheaper touchpads with integrated buttons.
There's not a hugely generous range of ports located around the edge of the chassis, just three USB ports, two of which are USB3. There’s also a headset jack and a gigabit Ethernet port. The laptop’s HDMI port conforms to the latest HDMI standard, allowing it to output Ultra HD resolutions to an external monitor. There’s also an SD card reader, so keen photographers will easily be able to transfer photos to the laptop.
The Satellite S50T-B-10H’s built-in speakers are okay, but the sound quality deteriorated when we listened to music combined with speech. When we watched a trailer for a TV show, for example, we found music and dialogue faded out seemingly at random as the audio software tried to keep up and switched focus from one type of sound to another. This led to a disappointing and distracting audio experience.
We weren't too pleased with the Satellite S50T-B-10H’s screen, either. While we can forgive the lack of a Full-HD resolution, and found the 1,368x768-pixel maximum resolution acceptable for most tasks, we didn’t like the screen’s quality. In our colour calibration tests, we found the screen could only display 55 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut. This is far below what we’d like. We’d expect to see 60 per cent sRGB coverage as a bare minimum. This leaves what should be rich, solid reds, greens and blues looking slightly washed out.
Contrast and black levels were disappointing too, and this meant we missed some of the finer details in our high-contrast test photographs. It's also not very bright, which meant that working outside on a cloudy day made onscreen text very tough to read.
The Satellite S50T-B-10H uses a dual-core Intel Core i7-4500U processor, and this is paired with 8GB of RAM. The processor's base clock speed is 1.8GHz, but its clock speed can boost to 3GHz when necessary, and the Satellite S50T-B-10H scored 48 overall. This is what we expect to see from a laptop with this processor and it means you’ll have no problem browsing the web, writing Word documents and engaging in a bit of light photo-editing.
The presence of a dedicated AMD Radeon R7 M260 graphics processor will be a boon for those watching high resolution movies, as well as those who dabbling in a bit of 3D rendering. It's not a gaming laptop, though, and this came to bear in our Dirt Showdown benchmarking test. With the game running at a 1,280x720 resolution with 4x anti-aliasing and graphics quality set to High, the laptop produced an average frame rate of 27fps. This is just a little short of the 30fps that typically indicates comfortable play, but we still saw some choppiness and judder during the benchmark.
The Satellite S50T-B-10H lasted just under five hours in our battery test, so you’ll need to plug it into the mains if you want to work on it for a protracted length of time.
The Toshiba Satellite S50T-B-10H is a well-specified and attractive laptop. Its processor and graphics performance mean it should be a bargain at this price, but build quality issues and a poor screen ultimately make this is a so-so laptop. The Acer Aspire V3-772G is a better alternative, as it combines an impressively powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 750M graphics processor with a more powerful Intel Core i7-4702MQ processor. It’s more expensive than the Toshiba Satellite S50T-B-10H, but it’s one of our favourite general-purpose laptops.