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Toshiba Tecra A50-C review

A budget laptop with budget features

Toshiba Tecra A50-C
Toshiba Tecra A50-C

Here is the Toshiba Tecra A50-C's configuration sent to techradar for review:

Spec Sheet

  • CPU: 2.2 GHz Intel Core i5-5200U (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3L1600 MHz
  • Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 HD TFT LED Backlit Display
  • Storage: 500GB Serial ATA
  • Optical drive: DVD SuperMulti drive supporting 11 formats
  • Ports: 2x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, Memory Card Reader, VGA, HDMI, Ethernet, Headphone/microphone combo jack
  • Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 3165 plus Bluetooth, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: FHD webcam
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Size: 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.95 inches (W x D x H)

The Tecra A50-C shines in one particular area: ports offered. The SMB user will find everything they need here, including a thought-to-be extinct VGA port and Ethernet jack. Thanks also to four USB ports and an optical drive, the Tecra is a laptop ready to couple – with any device or medium: modems, finicky projectors, even burnt CD-ROMs.

This port diversity is what sets the A50-C apart from its competitors. While the HP Envy 15 and the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 each have a decent array of ports (the Envy 15 also has 4 USB ports), neither have a VGA. The Lenovo ThinkPad E555 has as many types of ports as the Tecra A50-C, but fewer of them. And none of its competitors possesses an Ethernet jack.

Toshiba Tecra A50-C

Performance

Here's how the Toshiba Tecra A50-C performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 4,622; Sky Diver: 2,556; Fire Strike: 621
  • Cinebench CPU: 169 cb; Graphics: 23 fps
  • GeekBench: 2,405 (single-core); 4,660 (multi-core)
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,368 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 4 hours

Its Cinebench and 3DMark scores reinforce what was already suspected: the Tecra is not a gaming laptop (unless Solitaire counts.) For its cost though, the Tecra provides decent performance. Note it's PCMark 8 Home Test score: the Tecra A50-C is not all that bad at multitasking, though it's lack of a solid state hard drive makes opening applications a sluggish affair.

As far as its competition goes, the A50-C easily outpaces the Lenovo ThinkPad E555 in all tests, but does not do as well as the HP Envy 15 or Dell Inspiron 15 5000 in the graphics tests. The Inspiron 15's PCMark 8 score is also 700 points higher than the Tecra A50-C's, while the HP Envy 15's is about 300 points lower.

All in all, Toshiba's laptop sits in the middle of the pack – as is expected. Its Intel Broadwell CPU is designed to reduce heat and improve battery efficiency, not provide a cutting edge gaming experience.

Toshiba Tecra A50-C

Battery life

Thanks to that aforementioned Broadwell chip, battery life is another strong suit of the Tecra A50-C when compared to its rivals. In our PCMark 8 test, the battery lasted 4 hours, nearly an hour more than the Lenovo ThinkPad E555, and 40 minutes more than the Dell Inspiron 15 5000. Only the HP Envy matched the Tecra A50-C in battery charge.

The Tecra A50-C's battery was even more impressive in our movie test. We played a full-screen 720p movie continuously on 50% brightness until the battery gave out. Under these conditions, the battery lasted a very respectable 5 hours and 36 minutes.

The Tecra A50-C's battery is also hot swappable. Travelers who worry about outlet scarcity can pop in a fresh battery without having to shut down their Tecra first.

It's also worth noting that the Tecra A50-C runs very quietly and maintains a consistently cool temperature. In our experience, the palm rest never rose above room temperature and the undercarriage only warmed to "tepid" on the right side. This warming wasn't uncomfortable, but frequent lap users may notice it.