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Toshiba Satellite U50t review

Aggressively priced for an Ultrabook, but corners have been cut

As we've detailed, the Ultrabook standard is demanding. So it's not a huge shock to see this relatively affordable laptop typically not exceed it by wide margins.

CPU-wise, we're talking Intel Core i5-4200U. It's a dual-core chip with a 1.6GHz nominal clockspeed and top Turbo speed of 2.6GHz. For most users, it's likely all the CPU you'll need in a portable.

As for graphics, like most Ultrabooks the Toshiba Satellite U50t-A-10F makes do with the Core i5-4200U's integrated 3D core, namely the Intel HD Graphics 4400. It's a mid-range core with 20 execution units and a reasonable compromise given the requirement for extensive battery life.

For storage, Toshiba has gone for a 32GB SSD cache and a 750GB magnetic hard drive. This is probably the first real indicator that building down to a price was a factor. In an ideal word, you'd have pure solid state storage.

U50t A 10F
Port selection is sufficient if not exactly comprehensive

So, the big question is whether this kind of SSD and magnetic hybrid solution (the two drives show up as a single 687GB partition as shipped from the factory) can provide a similar end-user experience to a true solid-state drive.

Another area where cost cutting is pretty obvious involves the screen. 15.6 inches is generously enough proportioned. But the 1,366 by 768 native resolution is pretty stingy by any metric. Even cheapish tablets like the Nexus 7 now sport full-HD panels with 1,920 horizontal pixels.

Indeed many phones do just that too and several tablet go beyond full HD at a fraction of the price of the Toshiba Satellite U50t-A-10F. That's not an entirely fair comparison, of course.

Other cheap Ultrabooks like the Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Touch suffer the same modest panel resolution. But it's one of the most obvious compromises you'll have to make in return for this model's aggressive pricing.

U50t A 10F
Intel inside: No arguing with the performance of Intel's latest laptop CPUs

Elsewhere, we're talking 6GB of DDR3 memory, happily configured in high-performance dual-channel configuration and a hybrid storage solution. Regards the battery, Toshiba doesn't quote the capacity of the lithium pack. But it does claim seven hours in Mobile Mark. And of course, it must meet those minimum Ultrabook specifications for battery life.

For networking, you get a gigabit LAN port, b/g/n spec wireless and Bluetooth 4.0. Which is pretty much par for the course. Ports and connectivity, meanwhile, take in two USB 3.0 ports and USB USB 2.0, an SD card reader, a dual-function headphone and mic jack and an HDMI socket for video out.

For the most part, that little lot is the bare minimum of ports and sockets you'd expect to see. On the other hand, few users will actually need more. If, for instance, something fancy like a Lightning connector is a deal breaker, you'll know instantly this isn't the system for you.

Finally, there are the proportions and mass. At 23mm thick, it's slim for a 15.6-inch laptop. But at 2.4kg, it's hardly a lightweight.

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
TouchscreenYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 4400
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time7 Hour
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
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
ManufacturerToshiba
Product ModelU50t-A-10F
Product NameSatellite U50t-A-10F
Pointing Device TypeClickPad
Product LineSatellite
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberPSUBAE-00M013EN
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 Memory16 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Satellite U50t-A-10F
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year