Toshiba Satellite C50 review

A powerful processor and terrific price point make this device a fine buy

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Toshiba's latest budget laptop clearly knows where its bread is buttered: it's bland on the outside, but it's a well-built machine that has a reasonable processor, decent battery life and a screen that's able to edge past its main rival when it comes to quality. If you're searching for a budget laptop and don't want a slimline machine, this is a capable mid-ranger.

If we had a little more money, though, we'd opt for the M50 – it's got better battery life, better looks, and a much better processor.

We liked

AMD's A6-5200 APU has enough power in its processing cores to handle web browsing, office applications and multi-tasking, and its Radeon GPU is capable of playing relatively modern games, albeit with lesser quality settings.

The rest of the specification includes 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard disk and a DVD writer, which helps solidify this machine's status as a good all-rounder.

The screen has better brightness, contrast and colour accuracy than the C50D's main rival, and it's got good ergonomics: a comfortable, well-designed keyboard and trackpad saw us quickly get up to rapid typing speed.

We disliked

The C50D has one of the most uninspiring exteriors we've seen for some time: the entire machine is coated with black matte plastic, and the lid and wrist-rest are barely decorated with a plain lined pattern – even the Toshiba logo on the lid is dull grey rather than shiny metal.

Its battery life is entirely average, and beaten by the M50, and Toshiba's more expensive machine also has more power than the C50D thanks to its A10 processor – that's the system to save for if you want to play top-level games rather than older or casual titles.

The speakers are particularly poor, with tinny output that makes games and music sound insipid, and we'd have preferred more than one USB 3 port on this machine.

This is a reasonable budget machine that will satisfy anyone looking for a mid-range laptop. It's got a 15.6-inch screen, a reasonable processor with Radeon graphics, comfortable ergonomics and decent battery life. Toshiba's own M50, though, illustrates the extra power, longevity and style that can be had for a bit of extra money – and we'd save up for that unless we were on the tightest of budgets.

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