A great-value portable laptop with a good screen and dedicated graphics, but it feels very fragile
Processor: 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 4210U, RAM: 8GB, Size: 380×261.9×19.9mm, Weight: 2.1kg, Screen size: 15.6in, Screen resolution: 1,920×1,080, Graphics adaptor: AMD Radeon R7 M260, Total storage: 128GB SSD
The Full HD screen on this laptop is good for the money. We measured the screen as able to display 81.5% of the sRGB colour gamut. High contrast levels of 1034:1 and decent black levels of 0.31cd/m2 make for reasonably vibrant and detailed images. The glossy screen won’t be to everyone’s taste, and we found it rather difficult to find a position where our bright office lights didn’t cause problems with viewing images and text on the screen.
The dual-core, 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-4210U is built for power and thermal efficiency, but it can still perform admirably when demand requires it, turbo boosting to a clock speed of 2.7GHz. It’s capable of whizzing through Windows and web pages in a flash, and more complex multimedia tasks are helped along by the presence of an entry-level AMD Radeon R7 M260 graphics chip with 2GB of memory. In our multimedia benchmarking tests the laptop managed a perhaps slightly disappointing overall score of 49. Its performance peaked in the image-rendering test, in which it scored 70. Tasks needing faster multi core performance brought the average down, though, with scores of 46 and 43 for the video conversion and multitasking tests respectively. They’re not terrible scores by any means, but you will find yourself waiting around longer if you’re going to be performing more complex tasks on this laptop.
The AMD Radeon R7 M260 graphics card in this machine is included more as a performance boost for multimedia tasks than as a gaming tool. In the Dirt Showdown benchmark test at 1,280×720 pixel resolution and High detail the S50-B-14P managed a just-playable frame rate of 30.8fps. At Full HD resolution and Ultra detail, 15fps was all it could muster. You’ll definitely be able to play basic games such as Minecraft on this laptop, but more advanced games will be beyond its reach.
The battery lasted for 5h 17m in our our battery benchmark test. For a powerful laptop, this is fine, but considering its weight and thinness, it would have been nice to be able to take this laptop out for a full day without having to worry about battery life.
Overall, we’re happy with the Toshiba Satellite S50-B-14P. The Full HD screen is well worth the price of swapping out the i7 processor for the i5, although some may be upset by the lack of high capacity storage. Our main gripe with this laptop is build quality, which we feel should be much better at this price. There’s no excuse for gaps between panels and loose pieces of plastic, especially in a laptop that’s inevitably going to be taken out and about. At this price, the Asus N551JK is a better choice, although it is heavier.
|1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 4210U
|Memory slots (free)
|Realtek HD Audio (3.5mm headset port)
|AMD Radeon R7 M260
|Optical drive type
|Ports and expansion
|1x USB2, 2x USB3
|802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet
|Memory card reader
|Operating system restore option
|Windows 8 restore
|Parts and labour warranty
|One-year collect and return
|Price inc VAT