Toshiba Satellite S70A review

Ditch your desktop PC for this powerful replacement

Toshiba Satellite S70A-11H
The desktop replacement we've been waiting for?

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3D mark
icestorm 54,798
cloudgame 5599
Fire strike 1050

OpenGL 37.67 fps
CPU 3.23pts

Battery life
2h 57m 39s

As a desktop replacement laptop, we expect the Toshiba Satellite S70A-11H to prize performance above almost everything else, including portability. With a 17.3-inch screen, a thickness of 33.7mm and a weight of 2.7kgs, this is not a laptop that you're going to be taking around with you too much. Sure, it's portable to a degree, but carrying it around for a few hours in an over-the-shoulder laptop bag soon began to get tiring.

The larger build does mean that it comes with a full-sized keyboard and makes typing for long periods of time both comfortable and accurate. However, if you have smaller hands you may find you have to stretch your fingers to use all the keys, as there is a bit of space between each one.

Edge view

The keys are backlit and have a decent enough travel in them when pressed. There is also a large trackpad that is accurate, and can detect multi-touch commands, such as pinching with two fingers to zoom in and out.

The Toshiba Satellite S70A-11H comes with Windows 8.1 preinstalled. Whilst the new version of Windows 8 offers improvements over its predecessor, the Start screen and focus on apps remains just as divisive. The operating system was clearly designed for touchscreen devices – something that the Toshiba Satellite S70A-11H isn't. Still, Windows 8.1 is fast and stable, and works well on the Toshiba Satellite S70A-11H.

One annoying new feature of Windows 8.1 is the introduction of large 'tips' that take up a huge amount of screen space. They show you how to use the operating system, but they hang around for a little too long, and obscure what you're doing. Couple the low resolution of the Toshiba Satellite S70A-11H's screen and a range of additional preinstalled software most of which likes to throw up messages at every opportunity, and you can quickly become frustrated as your desktop becomes obscured.

Toshiba aren't the only manufacturer to put extra, and often unnecessary, software on its laptops, and we understand that they can be necessary to help cut the cost of the hardware. Still, it's a habit that we don't like seeing. A few minutes of uninstalling the useless programs when you first get the Toshiba Satellite S70A-11H will give you a far more pleasant user experience.

The power behind the Toshiba Satellite S70A-11 ensures that Windows 8.1 runs smoothly, and even without an SSD, the operating system loads quickly. For photo and video editing, the NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M graphics card is a fantastic addition, and handles graphic-intensive work extremely well.


It's not too bad at gaming either, with a few recent games playing well with medium settings. If you're after a laptop for just gaming though, you'll want to shell out more for a dedicated laptop, such as the Asus G750JX, as it doesn't have quite enough power to play games at high or ultra settings.

Still, for a balance between work and play, we feel Toshiba have got it pretty right. The screen is decent, but unfortunately lacks the sharpness and vibrancy found in full high-definition displays. The battery life was also low, with just under three hours of medium use when unplugged.