Toshiba's range of laptops includes full size models for under £500, such as this Toshiba L500-11V.

Despite the budget price, there's a lot of laptop on offer. With the Toshiba L500-11V, Toshiba has elected to use the latest 16:9 aspect ratio version of a 15in screen, actually measuring 15.6in on the diagonal. This leads to a display 12mm wider and 14mm shorter than the 15.4in/16:10 screens that went before, and offers good proportions for widescreen TV and films.

The Toshiba L500-11V has simple but sturdy construction, with a nice rounded feel to the bodywork. On the lid top is a pinstriped steel-effect finish, offset by a lighter contrast on main desk inside.

While the Toshiba L500-11V's widescreen is bright enough, it's a glossy screen low in contrast, milky and washed out. A serviceable keyboard sports matt flat-top keys with easy low-travel action, and an extra number keypad lies to its right.

The trackpad has a fine sandpaper feel, integrated within the high-gloss palmrest area. The Toshiba L500-11V's large and chunky tablet-shaped trackpad buttons are easy to find and have a positive click.

Toshiba UK lists six variants of the Toshiba L500, priced from £399 to £599; from a dual-core Intel Celeron 1.8GHz T6000, to the Core 2 Duo 2.1GHz T6500 processor found in the top three models.

In our WorldBench 6 speed test, the Toshiba L500-11V scored 82, a respectable score that's backed up by a reasonable battery life of 221 minutes. This result from MobileMark 2007 Productivity means you may see over 3.5 hours useful life off the mains - not ideal but not bad for a tiddly 44Whr battery.

Gameplay is not spectacular, but typical for an Intel integrated processor. We saw an average framerate of just 6fps in our FEAR test at Maximum settings. You'll need to drop quality all the way to Low before action rises above the smooth-to-the-eye 25fps threshold; or look out for the L500-128, sporting ATI Radeon HD 4570 graphics, which may be more adept at 3D gaming.

Sound quality was a little above the norm thanks to decent stereo drivers on top, and an underslung auxiliary bass speaker. Toshiba doesn't need to put Dolby, THX or similar marketing labels to puff up perceived quality here.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Toshiba L500-11V: Specs

  • 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6500
  • 800MHz FSB
  • 2MB L2 cache
  • 15.6in (1366x768) 16:9 glossy LCD display
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit
  • 250GB 2.5in SATA HDD
  • 3GB (1x2GB, 1x1GB) DDR2-800 RAM
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics
  • HDMI, VGA
  • DVD±RW DL tray-load
  • 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0
  • ethernet 100Mb/s
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • multi-card reader
  • mic in, headphone out
  • stereo speakers plus bass speaker
  • built-in mic
  • 44Wh Li-ion removable battery
  • 383x259x36-39mm
  • 2728g
  • 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6500
  • 800MHz FSB
  • 2MB L2 cache
  • 15.6in (1366x768) 16:9 glossy LCD display
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit
  • 250GB 2.5in SATA HDD
  • 3GB (1x2GB, 1x1GB) DDR2-800 RAM
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics
  • HDMI, VGA
  • DVD±RW DL tray-load
  • 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0
  • ethernet 100Mb/s
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • multi-card reader
  • mic in, headphone out
  • stereo speakers plus bass speaker
  • built-in mic
  • 44Wh Li-ion removable battery
  • 383x259x36-39mm
  • 2728g

OUR VERDICT

The Toshiba L500-11V is an affordably priced and well balanced laptop for home and family use, with good speed performance, a large widescreen display, and battery life that means it can even be taken for some light travelling.

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