Toshiba Satellite P500-1DZ review

Barry de la Rosa
3 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

The massive P500 has performance, expansion potential and even a decent set of speakers, but the dull display lets it down



18.4 in 1,680x945 display, 4.4kg, 1.6GHz Intel Core i7-720QM, 4.00GB RAM, 640GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Toshiba's Satellite P500 is a beast of a laptop. Weighing 4.4kg, it's not likely to be carried very far from where it's used. It's all the more surprising then that it uses Nvidia's Optimus technology to switch between the dedicated GeForce GT 330M graphics processor and the Core i7's built-in graphics chip to save battery power. It lasted three hours and 47 minutes in our light-use tests.

Toshiba Satellite P500-1DZ

The P500 isn't simply heavy, either. With a massive 18.4in screen, it's about the same size as a briefcase, and its thick sides are filled with expansion ports. As well as three USB2 ports, there's a shared USB/eSATA port and a FireWire port, both of which cater for fast external drives. Above the DVD drive is a full-size ExpressCard slot, so you could add a TV tuner or USB3 ports.

The width of the case allows not only for a numberpad, but also a set of touch-sensitive multimedia controls to the left of the keyboard. These are fairly subtle, using white LED backlights. The keyboard still feels a bit cramped, though; the flat-topped keys are close together, but the glossy keys have plenty of travel, and the action is light, with enough bite in the key stroke to provide feedback for touch-typists. The touchpad is small but responsive, and its two large buttons are set on the edge of the case and have a light action.

With such a large screen, you'd expect a Full HD resolution. However the P500 has an odd resolution of 1,680x945: this is the 16:9 version of the older 16:10 standard of 1,680x1,050 that used to be found on desktop monitors. While it's still a large resolution, it's halfway between the two HD video formats of 720p and 1080p, and so any HD video watched full-screen will either be up-scaled from 720p or down-scaled from 1080p.

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