Toshiba Satellite U50t review

Aggressively priced for an Ultrabook, but corners have been cut

The Toshiba Satellite U50t-A-10F is one fine-looking sub-£700 Ultrabook

TechRadar Verdict


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    Aggressive pricing

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    Full Ultrabook spec

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    Generous screen size

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    Great CPU performance

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    Good battery life


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    Awful screen

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    Heavy chassis

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    Patchy storage performance

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    Limited portability

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    Mediocre 3D graphics

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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.


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.


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.


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