Toshiba Satellite U50t review

Aggressively priced for an Ultrabook, but corners have been cut

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3D Mark: Ice Storm: 37,565, Cloud Gate: 4,317, Fire Strike: 555
Cinebench 11.5: CPU performance: 2.31pts, OpenGL graphics performance 16.3fps
Battery life (720p HD video): 6 hours 40 minutes

Intel's Haswell-generation CPUs have been knocking around for a little while now. So, there isn't a great deal of mystery surrounding the CPU performance of the Intel Core i5-4200U. It's a very solid dual-core, quad-thread chip from with decent clockspeeds and based on the most advanced PC processor architecture you can currently buy.

So, for most people, most of the time, it delivers more than enough grunt for a great mobile computing experience. Whether it's web browsing, watching movies or even a little content creation in an application like

The graphics part of the Intel Core i5-4200U and its Intel HD Graphics 4400 is just as familiar. But it may not be quite as pleasing, depending on your requirements. Like we said, video playback including 1080p content is a non issue and 4K ultra-HD is off the menu in any case because neither the screen not the HDMI port supports it.

Where you might come unstuck, however, is gaming. As ever, subjectives apply. You can get most games, even the latest titles to run. Whether you'll actually want to play the end result is another matter. Much depends on the game title in question.

U50t A 10F
Poor screen is the U50t-A-10F's weakest feature

If you like playing classics like the original Counter-Strike shooter, for instance, you're golden. It'll fly on the Satellite. Moderately demanding games like World of Warcraft are reasonably playable, too.

But fire up something really demanding like, oh, Crysis 3 and you'll have to crush all the settings and you still probably won't be happy with the performance. Even by Intel integrated standards, there are much faster graphics solutions.

Which is fine, since this isn't pitched as a gaming portable. Less acceptable, however, is the screen itself. The stingy 1,366 by 768 pixel resolution is one thing.

But the absolutely tragic viewing angles and contrast are quite another. This really is the type of painfully poor LCD panel that we thought we'd seen the back of by 2014. The glossy screen cover and LED backlight do nothing to offset this.

It's a pity because this in many ways is a rather nice machine for the money. It looks great, feels very solid, even if much of the chassis is plastic bar the brushed metal palmrest and screen back, and the backlit keyboard feels robust and tactile.

U50t A 10F
Backlit keyboard is tactile and pleasant to use

The battery life is decent, too, and delivers on the six-hour Ultrabook minimum when it comes to HD video playback. In normal usage, this is just about an all-day mains free portable, which is the critical metric.

The final part of the performance puzzle is storage. Here's the message is somewhat mixed. In terms of sequential performance, you're looking at largely magnetic-drive style performance around the 100MB/s mark. But for random writes, it clocks up 23MB/s which is mediocre for an SSD, but beats conventional magnetic drives hands down.

Sadly, the random reads were down at 1.6MB/s, so barely better than a magnetic drive. The subjective experience reflects this. At times the hybrid storage feels snappy and SSD like. At others (typically one off tasks like updating Windows or unzipping a large archive) it feels nothing like as zippy as an SSD.

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 4400
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time7 Hour
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilySatellite U50t-A
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli5-4200U
ColourSmart Silver
Operating SystemWindows 8.1
Brand NameToshiba
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells3-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory6 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.40 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE, ENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1.75 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruBrite
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0 + LE
vPro TechnologyNo
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Memory StandardDDR3L-1600/PC3-12800
Height21.3 mm
Width377.5 mm
Depth249.5 mm
Screen ModeHD
Memory TechnologyDDR3L SDRAM
Product SeriesU50t-A
Product ModelU50t-A-10F
Product NameSatellite U50t-A-10F
Pointing Device TypeClickPad
Product LineSatellite
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberPSUBAE-00M013EN
Manufacturer Website Address
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 Memory16 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Satellite U50t-A-10F
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year