Toshiba Satellite A500-11U review

An impressively competent media laptop that's packed with features

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Our Verdict

This laptop offers good multimedia performance and some neat features but it wont offer it for long when away from the mains

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification


  • Stylish design
  • Eco mode
  • Dedicated ATi graphics
  • eSATA and HDMI


  • Weak battery life
  • Quite heavy
  • Keyboard is a bit spongy

Toshiba's Satellite range comprises its consumer laptops and the Satellite A500-11U, while not that portable, offers surprisingly good performance and a truly stylish design.

The 16-inch screen boasts a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio and watching films is a pleasure, with no black bands sandwiching the picture. Detail is average, thanks to a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, and the screen coating enhances colour reproduction, but it is reflective in bright conditions.

Build quality is satisfactory and the laptop looks great, with shiny patterned plastics adorning the chassis. A line of touch-activated hotkeys give you quick control of media applications, as well as Toshiba's Eco Mode function for managing performance and battery settings.

The keyboard is a little spongy, but still provides a fluid enough action, and Toshiba has also implemented a dedicated numeric pad, which is useful for inputting data. The keyboard is fully backlit and is, therefore, ideal for working in low-light conditions.


The multi-gesture touchpad is very responsive, letting you scroll through documents and zoom into photos, for example, using just your fingers. An Intel Core 2 Duo processor is joined by 4GB of memory and everyday performance is very fast. You'll certainly have no problems multi-tasking with office or media-intensive applications.

Thanks to the powerful dedicated ATi graphics card, 3D performance is also very good, meaning you'll have no problem editing photos or video and playing the latest games – although you may have to turn down detail settings in more resource-intensive titles.

The 500GB hard drive is generous and capacious enough to hold an entire family's files. At 3.3kg, it's quite a heavy machine, and portability is further hindered by the 129-minute battery life which means you will have to carry the charger with you when travelling.

Nevertheless, extra features are impressive, with a digital tuner included for watching TV on the go and also Harman Kardon speakers that successfully enhance the laptop's audio experience. 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet are present, providing fast wireless and wired connections to networks.

There are four USB ports, one of which boasts Sleep & Charge technology that lets you charge USB-compatible devices while the machine is asleep. An eSATA interface is also in evidence, as are VGA and HDMI ports for hooking up to external monitors.

The Toshiba Satellite A500-11U is a very impressive machine and, despite average portability, it's a competent and feature-packed laptop that justifies its price tag.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Graphics Controller ModelMobility Radeon HD 4650
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilitySemi-shared
Maximum Battery Run Time2.50 Hour
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Product FamilySatellite A500
Processor ModelP8700
ColourPrecious Black
Operating SystemWindows Vista Home Premium
Brand NameToshiba
Processor Speed2.53 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size40.6 cm (16")
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.76 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelGM45 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruBrite
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR2-800/PC2-6400
Height42.9 mm
Width384 mm
Depth259 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesA500
Product ModelA500-11U
Product NameSatellite A500-11U Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineSatellite
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberPSAM3E-01V00WEN
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Launch your mobile life. Get a great education. Work smarter. Or enjoy HD entertainment everywhere. Our satellite laptops offer a choice of dazzling but durable designs,everywhere from essentials to pro-class power to spare ,screen sizes to match your style and situation, plus amenities that help you sail through your day.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Satellite A500-11U Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year
Bus Speed1066 MHz