Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX laptop
We love
Powerful CPU, some gaming possible
We hate
Unimpressive battery, average graphics card
Launch Price

The Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX can handle some nifty tricks with its multi-touch capability. We also know it looks funky and cool at the same time with is textured chocolate lid and chrome gilding. But it’s what’s inside that counts, right? Read our Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX review: speed & performance and find out if this micro machine can live up to our lofty expectations.

Read the rest of our Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX review:

Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX review: overall verdict
Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX review: design and build
Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX review: multi-touch screen

The Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX has the latest Intel Core i3-330M processors under the hood, clocked at 2.13GHz and with 4GB of DDR3 1,066MHz RAM. This takes it well out of Atom netbook country and firmly into serious notebook territory and it achieved a very respectable PCMark05 benchmark score of 5423.

Having a speedy processor is one thing but if you have a three-toed sloth for a graphics card then you end up with a naff overall performance. The Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX uses Intel’s Graphics Media Accelerator HD which clocks at a maximum 766 MHz. Clearly this isn’t a full-on gaming graphics card but it can handle a popular shooter like the first F.E.A.R. with no lagging or fragging.

It’s a totally different story if you want to spend hours on Modern Warfare 2 but as this is primarily a business notebook, any decent gaming possibilities are a bonus. Unsurprisingly, the GMA HD didn’t score more than 2314 on the PCMark05 test.

Similarly, the DVD Super Multi drive has no problem running 720p HD movies and blockbusters like Iron Man and Transformers flowed smoothly – even the Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX’s low resolution screen couldn’t mask the fact that the underlying contrast and sharpness appeared sound.

Battery life, though, is a different story as the most basic set-up of Internet browsing, music file playing in the background and typing up a document saw the Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX’s lithium-ion power cell grind to a halt in two hours 52 minutes – considerably less than the three hours 15 minutes heralded on the label. When you move into heavy use – gaming, movies, several apps open at once – you can barely scrape much more than an hour and a half.

However, like all of the U500 range, the Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX has an Eco button which pops up a control slide to let you manage how much energy you’re using while the laptop’s in operation, as well as both Sleep and Hibernation modes which enable quick start-ups and data save. All well and good for your carbon footprint but far from ideal at providing more oomph for your battery.

This is where the dilemma comes with the Toshiba Satellite U500-1EX. If you want to keep it mostly powered to the wall as a principal PC, it doesn’t have the overall graphics power for all your needs. On the other hand, if you want to take it on the road for presentations and seminars, it will manage the work effortlessly but will still be tight on operating time. Plus it’s heavier than many of its contemporaries like the MacBook Pro.

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