Toshiba Satellite U500-12C review

Style, quality and comfort on offer from this compact laptop

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Our Verdict

Although this machine will not break any performance records, it has decent storage and can carry out general tasks with ease

Product features

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

View full specification

For

  • Nice design
  • Reasonable battery life
  • 64-bit Windows 7
  • Capacious hard drive

Against

  • Overly bright screen
  • Keys flex under pressure
  • Integrated graphics

We've seen machines from Toshiba's Satellite U500 range before and liked what was on offer. The Satellite U500-12C is the entry-level product and, while it doesn't pack the same punch as some of the more expensive machines, it's still an impressive choice.

It's quite a compact laptop, featuring a 13.3-inch screen that's ideal for commuting, without being too small. It's a very bright panel, although colour reproduction loses some of its accuracy with brightness settings set to maximum. Turn it down slightly, and colours appear more vivid and lifelike.

The narrow screen bezel helps keep the dimensions as small as possible. The screen hinges down over the rear of the chassis for a neat and contemporary look.

The design itself is both simple and attractive, with textured plastics set off well by silver highlights. Build quality is excellent, with a robust casing that's tough enough for the daily commute. The palmrests also remain cool, even after long periods of time.

Toshiba build

The keyboard is a pleasure to use, with large flat keys that are responsive and easy to type on. They're also this machine's only weak point when it comes to quality, however, flexing under pressure. That said, it's a quiet board to type on and shouldn't cause any trouble.

Office performance is very good, with applications loading quickly and smoothly. A 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium has been used, allowing all 4096MB of memory to be used effectively.

Multimedia performance is more limited. Unlike high-end versions of the U500, this model features an integrated GPU in a bid to keep the price down, so you won't be able to play games or carry out intensive video editing. That said, it's fine for everyday tasks and also helps to offer a reasonable 242-minute battery life.

Three USB ports allow you to connect peripherals. One doubles as an eSATA interface, letting you transfer data to external hard drives at high speed, while another is capable of charging your USB devices without turning on the laptop.

Capacious storage

The 500GB hard drive is generous considering the price, offering excellent storage space. VGA and HDMI ports enable connections to analogue and high-definition displays.

Networking features are comprehensive, with 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth.

The Satellite U500-12C can't match the 3D performance of some of the other machines but, that aside, it has a lot to offer. If you're seeking a compact laptop for use on the daily commute, then it's one of the best laptops around.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelGMA 4500MHD
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time3.58 Hour
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Product FamilySatellite U500
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelT6600
ColourLuxe Brown
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameToshiba
Processor Speed2.20 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.15 kg
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1.71 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruBrite
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/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 ModelU500-12C
Product NameSatellite U500-12C Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineSatellite
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberPSU82E-00G008EN
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 U500-12C Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year
Bus Speed800 MHz