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Toshiba Satellite A500-17X review

An affordable media laptop, offering a great blend of performance and HD features

Our Verdict

This laptop would suit those looking for an affordable gaming laptop or those without the desire to upgrade to Blu-ray

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Good screen
  • Powerful
  • Connectivity
  • Price

Against

  • No Blu-ray drive

Toshiba's Satellite A500-17X is the company's mid-level multimedia machine, offering similar features and performance to its high-end Qosmio range at a more affordable price.

The 16-inch widescreen display lags behind in terms of image quality. Although the colours are bright, it lacks the vibrancy of the Sony and Acer.

The resolution is also a lot lower – 1366 x 768 pixels – so you won't be able to view high-definition (HD) movies in their full resolution. It's fine for daily use, however, with more than enough space to view several documents simultaneously, and the 16:9 aspect ratio is great for standard definition films.

The 3D performance belies the reasonable price tag, with the powerful, dedicated Nvidia graphics card handling the latest games with ease. You'll also have no trouble with multimedia tasks. The wide aspect ratio creates plenty of space for a large keyboard and a numerical keypad.

The keyboard offers impressive levels of comfort, with the glossy keys proving large and responsive. While there's a slight flex to the board when typing, it's still a great choice for long periods of use. There's no backlighting in place, however.

The chassis isn't the most portable we've seen, but offers excellent quality. The plastics are tough enough for daily use and there's no sign of flex from the chassis.

At 2.9kg, it's too heavy for regular travel, but it's fine for occasional travel use and the three-hour battery life is reasonable enough for short journeys.

The 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4096MB of memory offer outstanding performance and multiple applications are able to run smoothly and with little lag.

No Blu-ray drive

Feature-wise, this machine is let down by its lack of a Blu-ray drive – falling behind other machines of this type. There is a DVD/CD rewriter, letting you back up you files to blank discs, however, and the 500GB hard drive offers plenty of storage space for movies and photo collections.

Toshiba

There's also an eSATA port offering fast connections to external hard drives. Four USB ports make it easy to connect your peripherals and 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet provide the fastest network connectivity currently possible.

Although you won't be able to enjoy Bluray movies, you can download HD content from the internet and use the HDMI port to connect to HD TVs. With a reasonable price, the Toshiba Satellite A500-17X has a lot to offer those on a tighter budget.

3D and office performance is excellent, and there's also a good range of features on offer. You should look elsewhere if HD playback is a priority, however.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ModelGeForce GT 230M
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilitySemi-shared
Maximum Battery Run Time2.83 Hour
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Product FamilySatellite A500
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelP7450
ColourPrecious Black
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameToshiba
Processor Speed2.13 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size40.6 cm (16")
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.76 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, WEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruBrite
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Height41 mm
Width384 mm
Depth259 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesA500
ManufacturerToshiba
Product ModelA500-17X
Product NameSatellite A500-17X Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineSatellite
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberPSAR3E-00N005EN
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Marketing Information

Designed for great everyday performance, Satellite range products are affordable but serve up the power, features and portability that even the most demanding home users require. You can buy Satellite products through an extensive network of high street and online retailers.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Satellite A500-17X Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year
Bus Speed1066 MHz