Product Type: Toshiba laptops
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Toshiba's Grey Horse
Toshiba Satellite Pro C650-13D
Member Name: MagdaDH
Toshiba Satellite Pro C650-13D
Advantages: cheap, and does the job; large display
Disadvantages: large and heavy, basic, too few USB ports on wrong side
We did live out of our bags for quite a few months though, with the desktops stowed in storage, the fighting over the netbook (which was, I hasten to say, nominally at least, MINE) started to get to us. It was also a tad to small to properly view and edit all those lovely photos we took when travelling, and a tad to weak to process the 10 Mb RAW files that my other half insisted on using as output of choice from his camera.
And thus a Toshiba Satellite Pro C650-13D appeared, purchased from Amazon for around £350. This is certainly a good budget price for a full sized laptop and we were a little worried about the machine's performance and quality.
We have had it for over a year now, and I can safely say although it doesn't quite dazzle with its performance (and even less with its design), it is a decent workhorse which offers fantastic value for money.
It is advertised (which is reflected in the model name) as aimed at the professional rather than consumer market, but it is essentially an entry-level laptop for any purpose.
I will not list all the technical details here, nor provide speed results, because the spec is available in just the next tab, and I am not a professional IT person. This is definitely a user review.
Starting with build and design, it is a fairly large laptop, measuring 38 by 25 cm and weighing 2.4kg. This size allows it to accommodate a large (almost 16 inch) monitor and a wide-screen display with 16:9 image aspect ratio. This is fantastic for photographs or watching films, and very good for browsing web pages that tend to get a lot of clutter in both vertical side bars. It is less useful (in fact, almost a nuisance) for word processing for example, where the page, when used fully, is too wide to be accommodated without moving eyes from one edge to another. This is easily fixed by adjusting the display though, but anybody that doesn't use image/video functions much might prefer a narrower display. The screen quality is good enough for my non-discerning eyes, and in the sunlight it performs a little bit better than my Asus Eee PC (meaning it's still pretty poor, really, and one needs to cover one's head and the screen to see much for example in a car on a normal day.
I don't object to the weight either, as we don't really move around with this computer much, although again, if you wanted to carry a laptop with you, and not in the car, a lot, you might want a smaller, thinner and lighter one.
The build quality is fairly solid but crude, the plastic is mostly textured and doesn't appear to be brittle. It does have a fairly cheap feel to it, if it's a kind of thing that bothers you - think a Nissan, not a BMW.
Thanks to the width, the keyboard is very reasonably sized and easy to type on, the numerical pad is also very handy and all the normal keyboard keys are present in normal positions.
The touch pad, as touch pads go, is pretty good, not too sensitive, but not too clunky, and the buttons work well.
The laptop has a DVD/CD ROM drive that takes up pretty much all of the right side (although the power socket is also there). This means that there is no USB port on the right hand side which for a right-handed wired-mouse user like your reviewer means that cable always trails across the machine in one way or another.
In fact, the USB ports are one of my main qualms about this laptop. There are only two - why?? - and both of them are on the left side, together with a network socket, audio ones and a parallel printer one. I know you can use a hub, but it doesn't always quite work and even with a limited number of devices I own, I end up having to unplug the mouse frequently simply to connect a printer and a phone or camera; not even speaking of an external hard drive (mine needs two USB ports for power).
The speakers are located on the top of the main laptop body and they do fine for individual use, but their maximum sound level is a little low for, for example, watching a film by a few people who would need to sit away from the machine - headphones or external speakers would be needed for this.
It has an integral camera which I never used because I don't do web cams.
The wi-fi adapter is pretty good, although not quite as good at picking up the signal as some can be (better than my HTC phone, though). I only used the Ethernet cable port a few times, but when I did, it seemed to work fast and well.
This Toshiba comes preloaded with Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, which would not be my weapon of choice (I still, stubbornly, stick to XP) and a pile of essentially useless Toshiba and Windows related software/apps that just clogs up the disk. I don't like this kind of stuff and would much rather install everything (apart perhaps from the basic operating system and drivers).
The actual operating spec is pretty good for such a cheap laptop, as it runs a pretty impressive Intel Core i3 330M (2.13 GHz) processor and comes with pre-installed 2 Gb of RAM, expandable to 8 Gb. I am neither a gamer nor a CAD designer and this is satisfactory for all my computing needs (including those big picture files mentioned at the beginning), though a bit more RAM would probably help with some tasks.
The 250 Gb disk is, again, pretty big (it took two years of use and a A LOT of pictures) to fill it up, unless you want to keep a vast video library at your fingertips. More would be nice, but indulgent.
There is a card reader, apparently, which I have only now discovered reading the spec - I usually use a cable to connect the camera, but I suppose it can be handy.
The nominal battery life on this Toshiba is 3.8 hours, and after over a year of use it gets about 3 hours which isn't particularly impressive but not bad considering the size of the display.
All in all, a good entry-level laptop, particularly for those looking for a larger display, at a very good price.
Summary: value for money basic laptop
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