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Toshiba Satellite U50t review

Aggressively priced for an Ultrabook, but corners have been cut

The appeal here is clear enough. Sub-£700 for an Ultrabook that meets Intel's 2013 Haswell specs is a very attractive proposition, such are the stringencies involved.

That it's all delivered in a 15.6 package could be very attractive, too, if you're looking for something for daily use and with less of an eye on portability. But does it all add up?

We liked

The Toshiba Satellite U50t-A-10F looks slick. It feels slick. As a physical object, it is slick. And robust, to boot. It's not in MacBook Pro territory for sheer lushness, but then it's not priced like a MacBook either.

In terms of CPU performance, we've no complaints either. The Intel Core i5 chip simply gets the job done. Battery life is another positive, especially at this price point – we can probably thank the Ultrabook minimum specs for that.

U50t A 10F
There's lots to like including a quality chassis, good battery life and great CPU performance

Moreover, the general feature set ticks most of our boxes. There's touchscreen capability to make the most of Windows 8.1, sufficient ports, connectivity and card readers for most needs and a screen that's big enough to use as a daily work horse rather than a pint-sized portable for occasion use on the road.

We disliked

First up, the screen. It's nothing short of appalling in this day and age. The stingy 1,366 by 768 pixel resolution we can live with as a compromise given the aggressive pricing. But the awful viewing angles, terrible contrast and washed-out image quality simply are not good enough. Toshiba needs to put a proper panel in this portable.

The performance of the hybrid storage is mediocre, too. Much of the time, performance is determined by the 5,400rpm magnetic time and that means it simply isn't in solid state territory.

If you're into gaming, you won't be wild about the graphics performance, either, even if proper gaming grunt is an entirely unreasonable expectation for this type of laptop at this price point.

Finally, the 2.4kg heft is a little portly for an Ultrabook. This isn't a system you just sling in a bag and forget about. You'll know you are carrying it about.

Final verdict

U50t A 10F
The Satellite U50t-A-10F: An odd mix of traditional Toshiba quality and occasional corner cutting

For the most part this is a nice portable given the price point. The promise of an affordable Ultrabook is mostly met. It looks and feels like a quality item, there's plenty of CPU performance and battery life.

But then there are the flaws. The screen is poor and the hard drive performance is a bit patchy. It's pretty heavy for an Ultrabook, too. But truly, it's that screen that breaks the deal. With a better LCD panel, there would be plenty to like.

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