Toshiba Satellite Pro S500 review

An affordable business-orientated laptop offering great battery life if not the last word in speed

Darien Graham-Smith
5 Jul 2010
4
Price when reviewed 
555

Toshiba's Satellite Pro brand focuses on business use, and that's reflected not only in the choice of Windows 7 Professional but also in several design choices.

For a start, the Satellite Pro not only lacks a discrete GPU, it doesn’t even have an HDMI port – something you can normally take for granted these days. Mini-DisplayPort is offered, though, so you can hook up to a projector with ease, or attach an HDMI display with the right adaptor.

There’s also a full ExpressCard/54 slot, a fingerprint reader beneath the touchpad, a single button to enter Presentation (twin display) mode and a security tool based on facial recognition. The clicky keyboard bespeaks an expectation of serious use, but to us it feels a little too light and bendy. The diabolical speakers confirm that entertainment isn’t a priority here.

Oddly, Toshiba has gone with a glossy 15.6in display. It’s colourful, but we’d have expected a matte screen, as reflections can be intrusive and unhelpful in the workplace. We also note that the port at the bottom, for connection to a docking station, is blanked off; if you want this option, you'll need the Tecra A11.

Toshiba Satellite Pro S500

Performance-wise, the Satellite Pro aims low compared to consumer-targeted laptops for a similar price - one example being the Samsung R580 - with a Core i3-330M processor and a comparatively meagre 2GB of RAM. The hard disk tends towards the small side too, being a 250GB Hitachi unit.

Then again, that's still well equipped compared to most business-orientated machines, and the S500-10E's score of 1.13 in our benchmarks is more than fast enough for basic office tasks (by comparison, a 3.2GHz Pentium D PC scores 1.00).

But perhaps out-and-out speed doesn’t matter: an executive is more likely to be concerned with battery life, and here the Satellite Pro shines. With its whopping 5,100mAh battery, it lasted more than five hours in our light-use test, and even under heavy use it survived for 1hr 36min.

For a strictly office-based role, then, the S500 has several distinctive merits. If you really want a serious business laptop, though, it's worth checking out the more capable Tecra A11 range before investing.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions374 x 251 x 38mm (WDH)
Weight2.550kg
Travelling weight3.1kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i3-330M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55 Express
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free1
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel HD graphics
Graphics card RAM128MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1

Drives

Capacity250GB
Hard disk usable capacity233GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi HTS545025B9A300
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveTEAC DV-W28S-VT
Battery capacity5,100mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Bluetooth supportno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports0
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.0mp
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use5hr 4min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 36min
Overall application benchmark score1.13
Office application benchmark score0.92
2D graphics application benchmark score1.23
Encoding application benchmark score1.17
Multitasking application benchmark score1.21
3D performance (crysis) low settings19fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Professional 32-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software suppliedNone

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