Toshiba Satellite P50t B-11D

A 4K laptop with a superb display

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The Satellite P50t seems to handle most admin tasks well. The Windows 8 interface is, as ever, a hindrance to getting anything done, but once you're through that apps run at a reasonable lick.

Some modern games seem to run exceptionally smoothly on this machine, others just chug. It's unlikely that you'll want to play Total War: Rome II or Metro: Last Light on this, for example, but Shadow of Mordor ran perfectly well at 1080p. Cranking any 3D game up to the native resolution is a bad idea though, as our benchmarks show.

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Benchmarks

Here's how the Toshiba Satellite P50T B-11D performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 4383; Sky Diver: 4852; Fire Strike: 1620
  • Cinebench R15: CPU: 656cb; Graphics: 59.54 pts
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3196 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 15.20fps; (1080p, Low): 35.65fps
  • Metro: Last Light (1080p, Ultra): 7.79fps; (1080p, Low): 27.24fps

These results are not exactly wonderful in comparison to the HP ZBook G2, which scored 25% higher than the P50t B-11D in FutureMark's PC Mark 8 test, which runs real-world tasks and applications to measure PC performance. There was a gulf of distance between the two machine's 3DMark scores, with the ZBook G2's NVIDIA Quadro K5100M scoring 92% (Fire Strike), 185% (Sky Diver) and 122% (Cloud Gate) higher in the respective GPU tests.

Despite the lower scores, the results show it's at leat capable of running lesser-demanding games and image-editing apps. Shadow of Mordor approached acceptable levels with details set to Low, churning out 35.65fps. Obviously, framerates drop to single figures and are unplayable if you attempt to run any graphics benchmark at 4K resolution.

The claimed maximum battery life is 194 minutes, but with the brightness cranked up to maximum, the only setting at which it's acceptably bright, it lasted less than 150 minutes for us. Running on the 'balanced' setting added 20 minutes, but at the cost of readibility - outside of a dim room, you don't want to be running on this.

The Harman-Kardon speakers are, as ever, solid, putting out good clear high-end sound and acceptables mid-range, without the tinniness in the high end you'd expect from such small units. Obviously, they don't have a subwoofer built in, so the bass notes can only ever be acceptable.

Under side

Though it doesn't run particularly hot, the Satellite P50T B-11D does get noisy quickly - it's much louder than my desktop PC within thirty second of turning on, even when idle. I couldn't find way a way to turn the fan down easily either, so this static buzz is a persistent annoyance. Thankfully, it doesn't run particularly hot, so you can continue to use it on your lap.

Bundled software

As always, there is a ton of bundled software to explore, most of which you'll want to uninstall immediately, like the pretty pointless Symbaloo. (Or Windows 8, but you'll have to live with that until 10 is released.) The notable absence, considering that focus on Chroma Tune, is of any bundled photoshop software. The P55T is supposed to come with some

  • Chroma Tune: A small colour-balancing app that promises to provide absolutely accurate colour for films and images - as long as they've been encoded with certain Technicolor standards. The software also lets you choose a particular colour setting, to match particular types of content, or profiles for when you load other software.
  • Symbaloo - an internet desktop that you can access from anywhere.
  • The McAfee Central security suite is more immediately valuable, but only starts with a month's subscription, and is prone to irritating pop-ups.
  • An Amazon button on the start bar allows you to search their store immediately - like you needed another reason to spend money there.
  • The inclusion of Evernote is a mixed blessing - if you're already using it, it's essential, but the closed system means that new users might want to start with Google Keep instead.
  • Cyberlink MediaShow 6 is useful for organising and editing your software and videos, and this version has a touch interface.
  • Toshiba have loaded on a few bespoke applications as well. The Toshiba Media Player is otherwise unremarkable but has touch integration so works well for browsing your library.
  • The Toshiba Desktop Assist app gives you easy access to all those elements that you used to have easy access to before you installed Windows 8, as well as some handy applications for managing your PC's health and changing how the system starts up. It's all helpful, if a bit more kibble.