4 of the best Windows 7 media PCs


Toshiba Satellite P500-12D

The glossy black 18.4in Toshiba Satellite P500-12D is the only laptop in our Windows 7 PC test, with a decent enough spec sheet to truly be considered as a media centre PC and one of the best screens we've ever seen on a laptop.

It's 41.5mm thick and weighs 3.93kg, which means that this is not a laptop that you want to carry around with you daily.

And the two-hour maximum battery life isn't going to last you that long, either. That said, the benefit of this machine over the other three all-in-one 'net-tops' in our test is clear.

Good all-rounder

You can quickly shift this machine around the house – between the bedroom, the lounge, the kitchen and the study – with little bother. Whether or not you like the glossy styling of Toshiba's casing is really a matter of taste.

In our test we found that both the exterior and the area around the trackpad were both 'fingerprint magnets' and we had to have a box of tissues and bottle of screen cleaner close by to keep the thing looking shiny and new.

Perhaps the other major difference between the P500- 12D and the other PCs in our test is that Toshiba's laptop doesn't have touchscreen control – this being a relatively new technology that has yet to find its niche in the laptop market. Instead, there is a set of touch-sensitive controls set just to the left of the keyboard, including an eco-mode and all of the requisite media and volume controls.

We found these to be adequate for watching TV and movies on the machine, used in conjunction with the multi-touch trackpad (although after a few weeks of familiarising ourselves with touchscreen control, we still felt the urge to use our fingers on the screen on a couple of occasions).

Build quality is excellent. The keys are nice and large and the keyboard feels solid and works well. The Harman Kardon speakers belt out audiophile-quality sound, adding an unexpected level of pleasure that we had not experienced on a laptop – especially when listening to music on Spotify.


Adam Hartley