Toshiba's corporate Satellite Pro range covers a wide range of business requirements at truly affordable prices. The Satellite Pro C650-197 is an entry-level portable that performs well overall, but is sadly lacking in standout features against its rivals.
The Intel Core i3 350M processor provides impressive performance. Even though it uses 4096MB of memory, compared to the 3072MB of the other laptops at this price, we noticed no improvement in our benchmarking tests, with performance matching all but the Acer Aspire 5741-333G32Mn.
An integrated Intel graphics card provides basic multimedia performance, with enough power for basic photo and video editing.
A real highlight is the 15.6-inch widescreen display, which is identical in size to the Acer and HP G62-a45SA, but marginally brighter. Colours look natural and contrast levels are deep, although the screen is as reflective as others with a glossy screen coating.
The Toshiba's black chassis stands out from the faux-metal builds that populate this price point. However, it's similar to the HP in its resistance to fingerprints and the slight flex around the optical drive.
While the 2.4kg weight is marginally heavier than the Packard Bell EasyNote NM86, and the 230-minute battery life is lower than some of the competiton, this is still a laptop that can easily be taken on the road. However, the battery life plummets to just 98 minutes when watching a DVD.
As with the HP, usability is mixed. The slightly spongy keyboard is well sized, despite the inclusion of a separate numeric keypad. Touch-typing is a breeze, even with the lack of key definition.
However, even though the touchpad is rather cramped, we still found our palms brushed it occasionally when typing.
Features are rather basic, even at this price point, especially when compared to the HP. A meagre two USB ports are available for connecting peripherals, while there's no HDMI port for hooking up to a high-definition (HD) display, something which is present on all the other laptops here.
Networking capabilities are standard, with fast 802.11n Wi-Fi for wireless connections and basic 10/100 Ethernet for wired connections. A 4-in-1 card reader provides less flexibility than the multicard readers, although the 320GB hard drive matches the ample storage of the Acer.
Features may be lacking and usability mixed, but the Satellite Pro C650-197 is still a decent machine. Performance is assured, thanks to the Intel Core i3 processor, while the widescreen display is bright, vibrant and perfect for working – or playing – well into the night.
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