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Toshiba Satellite L500-19Z review

Barry de la Rosa
20 Jan 2010
Toshiba Satellite L500-19Z
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
490
inc VAT

The L500's screen is impressive and the numeric keypad's large keys would suit number-crunchers, but there are better value alternatives.

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Toshiba's Satellite L500-19Z has a smart, wavy pinstripe pattern on the glossy lid, and a silver keyboard panel. The 15.6in 16:9 display means there's enough room to squeeze in a numeric keypad next to the keyboard without compromising on the layout of either. Only the Enter key seems a bit narrow, but it's great to see large 0, Enter and + keys on the numberpad. This will please those who do a lot of spreadsheet number-crunching.

With a dual-core processor and 4GB of RAM, the L500 is well-suited to this type of office application. It scored 66 overall in our benchmarks, which is fine for undemanding work, but heavy multimedia editing might tax this laptop too much. An integrated Intel graphics chipset means that 3D gaming is also off the menu, although older or less graphically-intensive games should be playable.

The Intel chipset is the HD version, which means there's an HDMI output. There's no separate digital audio output however, so if your AV amp doesn't have an HDMI input then your surround-sound options will be limited. Unsurprisingly, the internal speakers aren't really loud enough and lack the bass to add depth to music and films. As well as an HDMI port, the L500 also has an eSATA port for connecting newer external hard disks, but it's shared with a USB port leaving only two free.

HD movies looked great on the L500's screen, which is bright and colourful. The backlight had a distinct dark patch in the lower-middle portion of the screen, while the screen's glossy finish makes it hard to avoid reflections in brightly-lit rooms.

While the keyboard can feel a bit cramped, the keys have a light action and distinct feedback. The keyboard does flex a little meaning there's a slight bounce when typing. The touchpad consists of a translucent patch on the case, and doesn't support multi-touch gestures, but it's responsive enough. The large buttons have a light action and are placed exactly where your thumb naturally rests.

Compared to other laptops around £500 that we've looked at recently, the Toshiba Satellite L500 shows a distinct pedigree, but doesn't really have any features that stand out. Its screen is great, but not quite as good as the Samsung R520's, so it just misses out on an award.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T6600
Processor clock speed2.2GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size39x383x259mm
Weight2.7kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle17W
Power consumption active39W

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M HD
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelTSSTcorp TS-L633C
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other portseSATA (shared with USB socket), minijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedMicrosoft Works 9

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£490
Detailswww.toshiba-europe.com
Supplierhttp://www.play.com

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