Toshiba Satellite Pro S500: first look review

ToshibaSatelliteS500portrait_thumb.jpg The first thing to strike you on picking up the Toshiba Satellite Pro S500 is just how very big it is; its 2.5kg weight comes as something of a surprise. It looks more like a laptop with a 17in screen than the 15.6in screen that’s actually inside, and this feeling is emphasised by the fact a numeric keypad is squeezed to the right of the traditional keyboard.

Toshiba Satellite Pro S500: first look review

While this does have its benefits, particularly for power users of Excel, it takes a little while to get used to the arrangement; for example, finding the Backspace key when typing quickly. Toshiba compensates for this by making this key, and the right Shift key, nice and large – possibly the biggest hindrance will be the half-width Enter key.

ToshibaSatelliteProS500keyboard_thumb.jpg In virtually every other ways, it’s identical to the Toshiba Tecra A11. This even extends down to the ports on offer (four USB 2.0, mini-DisplayPort, eSATA, D-SUB), with the sole exception being the omission of a serial port.

Fire it up, though, and you’ll notice a glossy display rather than the matte screen on the Tecra. This makes sense for a laptop that’s trying to appeal to consumers in PC World just as much as it does for businesses.

And this is the gap the Satellite Pro S500 is attempting to fill: a serious laptop for business use that people will also be happy taking home to use in the evenings and weekends.

ToshibaSatelliteProS500shortcuts_thumb.jpg It certainly has enough power on tap. Intel’s Core i3-330M processor sits inside, and with 4GB of DDR3 memory on hand it will race through even the toughest tasks.

The argument falls down a little when it comes to graphics, with only Intel’s integrated offering on show. That’s fine for decoding even Full HD video (though note the screen is 1,366 x 768), but anyone who enjoys playing demanding 3D games should look elsewhere. At least there’s a 320GB hard disk for storing lots of content.

One feature will attract both business users and consumers: the price. At £499 inc VAT, you’re getting a very powerful machine for a very reasonable cost. Especially when it’s backed by Toshiba’s failsafe guarantee: if something fails within the warranty period, aside from problems caused by accidental damage, then Toshiba will repair the Satellite Pro and give you your money back.

We look forward to getting a model into our Labs for a proper performance test, and to see how long the battery lasts in real-world use.

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