Toshiba Satellite Pro S500 review
An affordable business-orientated laptop offering great battery life if not the last word in speed
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.
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||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||374 x 251 x 38mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i3-330M|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel HM55 Express|
|SODIMM sockets free||1|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD graphics|
|Graphics card RAM||128MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||233GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Hitachi HTS545025B9A300|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||TEAC DV-W28S-VT|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||yes|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Front edge|
|Hardware volume control?||yes|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.0mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||5hr 4min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 36min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.13|
|Office application benchmark score||0.92|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.23|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.17|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.21|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||19fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Professional 32-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs|