Toshiba Satellite Pro S500 review
An affordable business-orientated laptop offering great battery life if not the last word in speed
Review Date: 5 Jul 2010
Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith
Price when reviewed: £472 (£555 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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.
Author: Darien Graham-Smith
It seems to be basically a cut down Tecra A11, with the docking station connector crippled.
It isn't that much cheaper than the Tecra, either.
Is it a Satellite, while it has the docking port blanked off? Or are there any other differences?
By big_D on 6 Jul 2010
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