We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Laptops Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Toshiba Satellite L50DT-A-10C review: an AMD-powered budget laptop

£550 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Toshiba

Our Rating: We rate this 2.5 out of 5

More affordable than some laptops, Toshiba's £550 L50DT eschews an Intel processor for AMD. Read our L50DT-A-10C review to find out whether it's a good move.

Toshiba Satellite L50DT-A-10C

AMD’s processors are still the chips of choice for many affordable laptops, despite Intel’s dominance at the more lucrative end of the market. So it’s no surprise that Toshiba has opted to slot one of AMD’s accelerated processing units (APU) inside its £550 Satellite L50DT. This APU is just a CPU and graphics controller combined, as we now also see in most Intel Core chips.

See also: Budget laptop reviews

The 'Richland' chip used here is one of AMD’s newest parts, but it’s not exactly a big leap forward. The processing core uses a faster version of the 'Piledriver' architecture that was found inside last year’s Trinity APUs, and the graphics chip is based on the underlying hardware from 2011’s Radeon HD 6000-series.

Toshiba has picked the AMD A8-5545M for this particular laptop. It might be a Richland part, but it’s a low-power, mobile variant – and that means a modest specification. Its four cores are clocked to 1.7 GHz and have a Turbo-like maximum of 2.7 GHz.

Meanwhile, the Radeon HD 8510G graphics core has 384 stream processors that run at disappointing speeds of 450 and 554MHz, stock and turbo respectively. That’s around half the pace of more powerful discrete chips.

Toshiba Satellite L50DT-A-10CThe Toshiba’s 1856-point score in PCMark 7 suggests that there’s only enough power to handle basic tasks. A £500 Lenovo Z580 scored 2765 points with its Intel Core i3 processor.

The APU’s graphics core couldn’t hack the competition, either – its average of 26 fps in the Medium-quality, 1280 x 720 Stalker benchmark is behind the score we’re now seeing from even low power Intel chips. The MacBook Air with 1.3 GHz Intel Core i3-5250U could run the same game at 33 fps.

The Toshiba’s battery didn’t impress, either – we calibrated the screen to 120 cd/m2, looped BBC iPlayer, and found that the laptop ran out of juice after just 3 hours 11 minutes.

Elsewhere, there’s 8 GB of memory and a 1 TB hard disk, but no optical drive. Connectivity includes gigabit ethernet and Bluetooth 4.0, and dual-band 802.11n wireless.

The 15.6in screen’s 1366 x 768 resolution is normal for a cheap laptop, but quality is lacking. The measured brightness of 205cd/m2 is a tad low, while the black level of 0.64 cd/m2 is too high – which makes for a poor contrast ratio of just 320:1. It means that it’s difficult to distinguish between different shades at both light and dark ends of the spectrum, and colours look washed-out.

Toshiba Satellite L50DT-A-10C

That’s not the end of the screen’s troubles: it’s a TN panel with bad viewing angles, and manages just 56 percent of the sRGB colour gamut – only blue shades are handled well.

Average components are crammed inside a mediocre chassis. The lid and wrist-rest are coated with grey plastic that’s decorated with a dull lined pattern, and the base and keyboard surround are made from glossy black plastic.

The port selection is adequate: two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0, an HDMI output and an SD card reader can be found on the machine’s edges. Build quality is adequate: aside from the left-hand side of the wrist-rest, it’s a reasonably sturdy machine.

The Scrabble-tile keyboard has a firm base, and there’s enough room for a number pad, but it’s not a clean bill of health. The keys are far too short, with barely any travel, and there’s little feedback when typing. It’s a disappointing experience.  

Like the rest of this laptop, the Toshiba’s speakers are modest. The maximum volume level is more suited to sitting in front of the machine rather than watching films in the living room, and weak bass undermines the chunky mid-range.

Toshiba Satellite L50DT-A-10C

Toshiba Satellite L50DT-A-10C Expert Verdict »

1.7 GHz AMD A8-5545M processor, AMD Radeon HD 8510G graphics
15.6-inch (1366 x 768) TFT display
Windows 8 64-bit
8 GB DDR3 RAM
1 TB hard disk
dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi
gigabit ethernet
2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0
HDMI
SD card slot
378x244x29mm
2.6kg
  • Build Quality: We give this item 6 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 5 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 4 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 5 of 10 overall

We like the idea behind AMD’s APUs, but the low-power chip included in this laptop just isn’t quick enough – we wish Toshiba had used a full-power Richland part instead. Elsewhere, the lifeless screen, weak battery and poor keyboard all disappoint. Intel-based machines have more speed and higher quality for similar prices.

  • Toshiba Satellite L755D-12L review

    Toshiba Satellite L755D-12L

    The Toshiba Satellite L755D-12L is a laptop that has the kind of look that you'll either love or hate.

  • Toshiba NB550D-10G review

    Toshiba NB550D-10G

    The Toshiba NB550D-10G is a netbook with a difference - in place of the ubiquitous Intel Atom processor is AMD's new 'accelerated processing unit', the APU C50 chip.

  • Toshiba NB550D review

    Toshiba NB550D

    The Toshiba NB550D netbook is one of the very first to use the new AMD Fusion ‘APU’ processors. But will this Accelerated Processor Unit bring decent battery life to the notoriously ephemeral AMD processor line?

  • HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa review

    HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa

    The HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa is a big, slow and heavy 17in laptop, available for £700 or less.

  • Toshiba Satellite C660D-10W review

    Toshiba Satellite C660D-10W

    Available from just £329, the Toshiba Satellite C660D-10W is the cheapest of six budget laptops we've just tested - but this 15.6in AMD-powered notebook still has plenty to offer.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Apple's 2014 highlights: the most significant Apple news of 2014

IDG UK Sites

Watch this heartwarming Christmas short by Trunk for composer John Rutter

IDG UK Sites

Ultimate iOS 8 Tips: 35 awesome and advanced tips for using iOS 8 on iPhone and iPad