Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X budget laptop review

From Toshiba’s L Series and the new collection for 2015 comes the Satellite L50D-C, a 15in budget laptop with an AMD processor. There’s also an Intel-powered counterpart, the L50-C. Also see: Best budget laptops 2015.

At a little over £400 we can expect better than lowest-budget specification, and the Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X did demonstrate a few tricks unavailable to laptops at half the price.

The A10-8700P processor continues AMD’s reputation for hiding its clock speed (baseline 1.8 GHz, and overclock capable to 3.2 GHz in a turbo mode). Integrated into the same one-chip SoC (or accelerated processing unit, APU in AMD-speak) is a Radeon R6 graphics processor, with potential for action games at modest resolutions.

Screen quality is little better than from the cheapest possible, this glossy display showing typical image deterioration when viewed a few degrees from head-on. Its contrast ratio is a disappointing 80:1 – worse than the £200 C50 we last tested – and colour gamut only 61 percent sRGB. Worse is colour accuracy, with the Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X measuring a whopping 11.1 Delta E, where figures approaching or below 1.0 are preferred.

The Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X's keyboard has no issues, standard Scrabble-tile fare with a consistent key action but the trackpad lets down the user experience. It’s a basic buttonless design, with mediocre steering precision and an annoying rattle whenever tapped. See all budget laptop reviews.

Overall build quality is so-so, comprising a thin metallic veneer over the lid back and top deck, black plastic elsewhere. The chassis of our sample was warped, such that the Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X couldn’t sit evenly on the desk. A weight of 2.2 kg is about average for the screen size, including a reasonable 44 Wh lithium-ion battery fixed inside. There’s also a tray-load DVD drive, unusually mounted on the left.

Of three USB ports, two are 3.0 spec, so for best results remember not to plug modern peripherals into the remaining USB 2.0 port alongside the optical drive.

Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X review: Performance

In use we found the Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X a little noisy, internal cooling fans hunting different speeds while sat idle on the desk. Judge subjectively the laptop felt slow, with some frustrating moments of total lock-up, eg, installing software. Also see: 20 best laptops 2015.

Processor benchmarks showed usable performance, so we’ll attribute these lags to the slow storage, a 2.5-inch SATA disk of 1 TB capacity. Geekbench scored the Satellite with 2095 points, and 4790 points using all four cores.

A sub-2000 point score in PCMark 8 underlines laggardly overall performance, here 1891 points but rising to 2490 points using Radeon acceleration.

Gaming is not a given; you’ll need to keep detail and expectations in check. Nevertheless Batman: Arkham City averaged 31 fps at screen resolution, albeit with Low detail. Drop to 720p and you may see 34 fps.

Tomb Raider was smoother, 40 fps at former settings; 44 fps at latter.

Maintaining AMD’s reputation for lousy battery life, the Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X ran just four hours (4 hr 11 min) in the wireless streaming test.

Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X: Specs

  • 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) 100 dpi TN gloss glare
  • AMD A10-8700P (4C, 4T) processor
  • AMD Radeon R6 graphics
  • Windows 8.1
  • 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 1 TB 5400 rpm SATA HDD
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11n (Realtek RTL8723BE)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • tray-load DVD±RW
  • 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • HDMI
  • Kensington Security Slot
  • SD card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • 0.9 Mp webcam and mic
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • UK tiled keyboard with numberpad
  • buttonless multi-touch, 106 x 66 mm
  • 44 Wh lithium-ion, non-removable
  • 65 W mains adaptor with IEC C5 inlet
  • 380 x 260 x 24.1 mm
  • 2213 g
  • 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) 100 dpi TN gloss glare
  • AMD A10-8700P (4C, 4T) processor
  • AMD Radeon R6 graphics
  • Windows 8.1
  • 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 1 TB 5400 rpm SATA HDD
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11n (Realtek RTL8723BE)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • tray-load DVD±RW
  • 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • HDMI
  • Kensington Security Slot
  • SD card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • 0.9 Mp webcam and mic
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • UK tiled keyboard with numberpad
  • buttonless multi-touch, 106 x 66 mm
  • 44 Wh lithium-ion, non-removable
  • 65 W mains adaptor with IEC C5 inlet
  • 380 x 260 x 24.1 mm
  • 2213 g

OUR VERDICT

Approaching £500 we hoped for a better screen, trackpad and build quality from the Toshiba Satellite L50D-C-12X, and battery life is below par. But light gaming is just possible from this 15in budget laptop.

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