Toshiba Satellite U500-10Z review

A terrific mix of style, power and portability from this 13.3-inch laptop

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

A well made machine that has good graphics power and good connectivity but is let down by a poor keyboard and a shiny TFT screen

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 800
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Good graphics power
  • Good portability
  • Connectivity

Against

  • Poor keyboard
  • Glossy screen

The U500-10Z is the result of a Toshiba Satellite line refresh.

This 13.3-inch laptop aims to provide a neat combination of power and portability and, with high-end components onboard, it's a laptop that's easy to use and like.

The 1280 x 800-pixel resolution doesn't produce the detailed images of the Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S, but you won't have any problems working with spreadsheets or viewing your photos. A shiny Super-TFT screen coating is in place and can prove distracting in changing light.

Build quality is generally excellent. The chassis is built from a tough, patterned plastic that looks great and doesn't show up fingerprints and smudges.

Considering how robust the chassis is, it is a surprise to find such a spongy keyboard and, although the keys are nicely spread out, the resulting typing action is disappointing.

However, backlighting for the keyboard makes working in low light easy, and a multi-touch touchpad is also included.

Embedded above the keyboard, a row of touch-activated hotkeys give you quick access to multimedia applications and Toshiba's Eco Mode feature. This configures the U500's components and hardware to be less resource-intensive and therefore kinder on your battery.

The Intel Core 2 Duo processor is joined by 4096MB of memory and ensures that performance is highly impressive. You'll have no problem running resource intensive programs, such as multimedia editing suites, concurrently.

Graphical power

We were extremely impressed by the amount of 3D power that the ATi HD 4570 GPU produces. This is the most graphically powerful 13.3-inch laptop we've seen to date and will suit those looking for multimedia functionality on the road.

However, using these powerful components comes at a cost to battery life which, at 198 minutes, is something to consider if you will be away from the power for any length of time.

A very spacious 500GB hard drive is included, which will store all your files and folders without issue.

You'll have no problem connecting to wireless networks thanks to the 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter and the same is true for landed connections due to the Gigabit Ethernet employed.

Three USB ports are included, one of which features Sleep-and-Charge technology. This allows you to charge peripherals even when the laptop is switched off. VGA and HDMI out ports are also in place.

The Satellite U500-10Z impressed us greatly. The keyboard is still a sore point, but the power on offer in such a compact machine is difficult to ignore.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Graphics Controller ModelMobility Radeon HD 4570
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilitySemi-shared
Maximum Battery Run Time2.60 Hour
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Product FamilySatellite U500
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor ModelP7350
ColourLuxe Brown
Operating SystemWindows Vista Home Premium
Brand NameToshiba
Processor Speed2 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.15 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE, ENERGY 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 512 MB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruBrite
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR2-800/PC2-6400
Height38.2 mm
Width317 mm
Depth230.6 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesU500
ManufacturerToshiba
Product ModelU500-10Z
Product NameSatellite U500-10Z Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineSatellite
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberPSU5EE-00900DEN
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Marketing Information

Designed for great everyday performance, Satellite range products are affordable but serve up the power, features and portability that even the most demanding home users require. You can buy Satellite products through an extensive network of high street and online retailers.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Satellite U500-10Z Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year
Bus Speed1066 MHz