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Toshiba Satellite U50t review

Aggressively priced for an Ultrabook, but corners have been cut

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Aggressive pricing
  • Full Ultrabook spec
  • Generous screen size
  • Great CPU performance
  • Good battery life

Against

  • Awful screen
  • Heavy chassis
  • Patchy storage performance
  • Limited portability
  • Mediocre 3D graphics

The Ultrabook project has been one of Intel's biggest successes in recent years. The only slight snag for laptop buyers has been pricey. Ultrabooks haven't been cheap.

Which is exactly where the new Toshiba Satellite U50t-A-10F steps in. At just under £700, it's not exactly bargain basement. But it is more affordable than most.

In fact, it's £30 to £80 cheaper than the lowest priced in our list of top Ultrabooks, the Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Touch and sibling system Toshiba Satellite Z930. It's also a solid £200 less costly than one of our favourites, the Acer Aspire S7.

But here's the thing. No matter how cheap an Ultrabook is, it must hit certain target specifications laid down by Intel to even qualify as an Ultrabook. And pretty stringent those requirements are.

U50t A 10F
Toshiba's latest 15.6-inch Ultrabook has keyboard complete with numberpad

They start with a minimum of nine hours battery life idling in Windows and six hours playing back HD video. Not bad. Then there's a maximum thickness set of 23mm for laptops 14-inch and larger, so it's guaranteed to be pretty thin.

16GB minimum of solid state storage are required to ensure decent hard drive performance, while a touchscreen to help you make the most of Windows 8.1 is also part of the bargain.

Of course, Ultrabook is an Intel gig, so that means Intel CPU and graphics. The former are typically the very best you can buy and are a major facilitator of those stringent battery-life requirements. The latter perhaps not so much, but improving all the time.

There are plenty more detail requirements, including the ability to to survive on battery power for seven days in standby mode with fresh data. But the general gist is that ticking the Ultrabook box means a strong spec as absolute minimum.

U50t A 10F
22mm-thick chassis is just inside the Ultrabook maximum

What's more, this is a 15.6-inch model. So while it meets the Ultrabook spec for thinness and thus theoretically portability, it also sports a screen large enough for use as a daily workhorse. This isn't just a teensy portable for casual use on the move, in other words.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, on paper the Toshiba Satellite U50t-A-10F doesn't exactly blow the Ultrabook minimum specs out of the water. So there's no full SSD storage, instead it's a hybrid drive enabled by a 32GB solid state cache.

Likewise, the chassis is 22mm thick and thus just inside the Ultrabook window. But like we said, the latest Ultrabook spec sets the bar very high. Even minimal compliance looks like a strong system on paper.

More to the point, this isn't just a cheap Ultrabook. It's a cheap Ultrabook from Toshiba, a big brand with a strong reputation for making quality laptops. Expectations, then, are high.

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