Toshiba Satellite L650-1GD £612
16th Feb 2011 | 11:00
A powerful laptop that's great to use and has few flaws, but has little to excite
Toshiba's output never seems to slow and its Satellite range incorporates everything from entry-level laptops to powerful multimedia machines. The Satellite L650-1GD is a mid-range laptop with strong performance, but it struggles to stand out.
The chassis is one of the bulkiest with a thickness of 40mm, although the 2.5kg weight means it can be comfortably carried in a case.
We liked the all-black design featuring a subtle wavy pattern, although we noticed some flex along the right edge and also in the centre of the lid, which could potentially harm the display.
A glossy coating has been used for the 15.6-inch screen and we found reflections to be a hindrance to outdoor use, as with the other laptops in this group. Images are well reproduced and colourful, however.
With an Intel Core i5 460M processor and 3072MB of DDR3 memory running the show, this laptop produced a solid performance in our benchmarking tests, on a par with the Dell XPS 15 and Packard Bell EasyNote TX86. You can happily run a number of applications at once with no slowdown, and should easily be able to for some time to come.
Unfortunately, graphical power is lacking. Unlike the Dell and Samsung, there's no dedicated graphics card, so multimedia potential is limited. You will have no problem watching films and browsing your holiday snaps, but frequent photo and video editing is beyond its abilities.
Battery life: 211 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 258
3DMark 2003: 3174
The flat keyboard is pleasingly firm and well sized, despite featuring a separate numeric keypad. The wide touchpad matches the widescreen display and sits level with the palmrests, with a textured surface to set it apart. We liked the firm mouse buttons and there's a switch just above to disable the pad if desired.
A drab 211 minutes of battery life gives you enough charge for commutes, but falls well behind many of the other laptops at this price.
The 320GB of hard drive storage is average for this price group but should provide more than enough space for all of your important files and folders. A 2-in-1 memory card reader can be used to boost storage or to directly access your media from portable devices such as cameras.
VGA and HDMI ports allow external monitors to be connected. Wireless networking is taken care of by 802.11n Wi-Fi, while 10/100 Ethernet is available for wired connections when back at home.
Although the Satellite L650-1GD has few flaws and its performance cannot be faulted, it isn't quite as desirable as the likes of the Dell and the Packard Bell. Nevertheless, this is a highly usable mid-range laptop that won't disappoint.
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