* Prices may differ from that shown
I needed a reasonably priced mid range laptop to replace mine that had a broken screen. The Toshiba satellite c850 seemed to fit the bill nicely for what I needed, something with good speed, and good memory, but not too expensive.
I use the laptop regularly but not for anything 'hardcore' as such, just mainly for browsing the internet, email, storing pictures and watching youtube videos. This is brilliant for all of that and more.
I was a little wary about purchasing it at first however as it came with windows 8 (which I think most do nowadays) and I was used to windows 7. When I first started using it I really wasn't impressed with the interface, the laptop itself was fab, it was windows 8 that I had a problem with. Now however ive got the hang of most things and i'm finding it ok to use.
Another of the main things I wanted in a laptop which a lot don't have, is a full size keyboard with the separate numbers on the right hand side. Its great that this laptop has that as I use it a lot.
There are lots of short keys which mean you can do certain things such as turn volume up/down, adjust brightness, play/pause etc at the touch of a single button.
I don't think the laptop looks as good a some of my previous laptops, it's certainly nothing special with its matte black finish. However it is a good price and is more than good enough for myself.
I find this laptop very easy to use. It is very good on battery life, and can hold it charge for long periods of time even if it is being used for programs such at Google chrome and Microsoft word.
The keyboard is very easy to get the hang of and includes a number keypad at the side so is more like a computer key board than a normal laptop keyboard. The screen is very big and bright.
I find that the computer runs very fast as being a student who uses it in lectures i find that very useful. It is also an excellent computer for storing many photos on, and as a parent this is a wonderful feature.
As a student i also have many additional programmes installed on the computer yet the computer still runs very fast and efficiently, and starts up in a very quick time.
I do find that the laptop is quite heavy though so is not the ideal laptop to be carrying around for long periods of time.
The Toshiba Satellite Pro is one of two laptops I currently use, and the third one I've ever owned. I was given it as a Christmas present in December 2012 by my parents.
= The Company
Toshiba Corporation is a Japanese information-technology company specialising in computing, medical equipment and office equipment. They are a big player in all ranges of laptops, from budget to premium models.
The first thing I noticed about the Toshiba Satellite Pro C850-1EQ (catchy name), aside from the colour and relative slimness of the body and screen, was the matte black textured finish. This leaks onto the touchpad and is really unusual to touch at first. However, I did get used to it, and now my old laptop's touchpad feels like a skating rink in comparison. Those of you who detest touchpads will also be happy to know it is compatible with mice as well, but more on that later.
I was initially reluctant to use the Satellite Pro as it was so much smaller, lighter and ... different than my previous laptop, which was older by it by about 5 years. Unsurprising, as the size specs are: 380.0 x 242.0 x 33.52 mm.
The weight of the laptop starts at 4.3 kilograms (not taking into account any modifications, such as extra RAM), which sounds like a lot, but my older laptop is closer to 6kg. This may sound obvious, but this makes the laptop extremely portable. My older laptop had a faulty battery at the end of its life, so I was restricted to using it within the confines of its power cord length. The freedom I experienced with this laptop's portability led into the absurd as I sat on the kitchen floor to use it and attempted to balance it on my mother's head when she was sleeping.
= The OS
OK, the next most obvious 'feature' (please go back and read that in a sarcastic tone of thought) is that Windows 8 is pre-programmed onto the hard disk. I was initially in two minds about Windows 8; at that time, it had almost been universally panned by critics, but critics have a tendency to, ahem, criticise, and I wanted to see for myself. My older laptop had Windows Vista exclusively, and as buggy and slow as it was, it wasn't completely unusable. I have to say about Windows 8: it is *almost* completely unusable. As this review focuses solely on the laptop model (or should do, anyway), I will try and save my spewing of vitriol for somewhere more appropriate. However, I would urge potential buyers to pay for the downgrade to Windows 7 or download the free Classic Shell enhancement. This small file makes Windows 8 look like Windows 7, with features such as a Start Button and a main menu, as well as removing the annoying touch screen opener at boot-up.
* size : 39.6cm (15.6")
* type : Toshiba HD non-reflective High Brightness display with 16 : 9 aspect ratio and LED backlighting
* internal resolution : 1,366 x 768
Bigger than my TV screen! I am extremely pleased with my screen; my other laptop flickered.
= Hard disk
* 500 GB capacity (in reality, about 450 GB, as some is taken up by the OS, system files, and so on).
* drive rotation of 5,400 rpm
The 5,400 RPM drive rotation means a longer battery life than the 7200 RPM version, but for faster drive transfers the latter is preferable. The HD space is way too much for me to fill; I have used maybe 5GB including Skype, pictures, videos, my browser, and so on.
I had some problems with the HD right off the bat. I constantly get the 'kernel error', wherein my laptop goes into hibernate and gets the BSOD and restarts. Great for losing your work.
= Processing Power
* 3rd generation Intel® CoreTM i5-3210M Processor with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
* clock speed : 2.50 / 3.10 Turbo GHz
* 3rd level cache : 3 MB
The 3rd generation Intel® CoreTM i5-3210M Processor with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 is generally faster (and more expensive) but probably more future friendly with a wider range of future compatibility than the 2nd gen version. The clock speed and 3rd level cache are about average, though, at least on TOSHIBA machines currently.
* type : Intel® HD Graphics 4000
* memory : up to 1,696 MB shared memory with 4 GB system memory installed (with pre-installed 64-bit operating system)
* memory type : shared
Pretty good. Obviously, this laptop's RAM and graphics card will not be appropriate for everyone, such as hard-core gamers or programmers. Then again, few laptops are.
= Bundled software
* Intel® AppUp Center
* Intel® Rapid Storage Technology
* McAfee® Internet Security (includes complimentary 30 day subscription)
* McAfee® Security Advisor for Toshiba
* Microsoft® FreshPaint
* Microsoft® Office trial
* Microsoft® Solitair Collection
* SRS Premium Sound HDTM
* TOSHIBA Desktop Assist
* TOSHIBA Eco UtilityTM
* TOSHIBA Function Key
* TOSHIBA Media Player by sMedio TrueLink+
* TOSHIBA PC Health Monitor
* TOSHIBA Places
* TOSHIBA Recovery Media Creator
* TOSHIBA Resolution+ Plug-in for Windows Media Player
* TOSHIBA Service Station
* TOSHIBA System Settings
* TOSHIBA Tempro
* TOSHIBA VIDEO PLAYER
This is what I hate about buying a pre-programmed laptop; the amount of junk pre-installed. I don't use any of these TOSHIBA programs; WMP for music and video, Chrome for browsing, and more increasingly, Chrome for viewing pictures, as Windows 8's in-built picture viewer is seriously heinous. Not impressed with all this flotsam floating on my machine before I've even powered her up! Beyond that, McAfee is seriously weak; I'd recommend the free anti-virus Avast in its place. Looking at this list, I feel like I have been diagnosed with a venereal disease.
= Bundled hardware
* AC adapter
The plug, basically. My old laptop adapter used to give me electric shocks, so this is an improvement. The cord is perhaps half a meter long and coated in plastic like most wires these days.
* technology : lithium-ion
* maximum life : up to 4h00min (Mobile MarkTM 2012)
The battery has two power options: Balanced and Eco. Eco is dim. No, literally dim; it's designed to save on power and the environment and Gaia spirit of earth and all that. I can't use it because I have terrible eyesight. Balanced, is, just as it sounds, a 'balance' between brightness and battery life. My old VAIO used to have a third option that may as well have been called 'down with the environment' as it was optimised for a bright display and a leaky battery; the Satellite Pro's only options are these. Upping Brightness manually (Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Power Options) may reduce battery life. I find I tend to get 4-5 hours out of it on the Balanced option, and I have brightness pretty high in general.
= Expansion Options
* 2 × memory slots
* 1 × external monitor
* 1 × RJ-45
* 1 × external microphone
* 1 × headphone (stereo)
* 2 × USB 2.0
* 1 × Multi-Card Reader
(supports SDTM Card up to 2 GB, miniSDTM/microSDTM Card with adapter up to 2 GB, SDHCTM Card up to 32 GB, SDXCTM Card up to 64 GB and MultiMedia CardTM up to 2 GB)
* 1 × HDMI-out supporting 1080p signal format
* 1 × integrated 1.0MP HD Web Camera (1,280 x 800) with built-in microphone
* 1 × USB 3.0
Microcard reader is at the front; one USB near the microphone/headphone jack and one near the power supply. The power supply, by the way, is at the left hand side. Modern.
* supported audio format : 24-bit stereo
* speakers : built-in stereo speakers with SRS Premium Sound HDTM
These speakers are awful! They make everything so tinny. Use headphones/earphones or buy some cheap PC speakers to avoid this torment. I use Logitech ones. To give the speakers their dues, they may be quiet and tinny, but the sound is panoramic. Unfortunately!
* keys : 102
* Windows keys : Yes
* special features : Flat matt black keyboard and 10-digit numeric keypad
An average QWERTY keyboard. The keys are more spaced out than other laptops/PCs I have used, and I quickly adapted to the extra typing room. What annoys me is that the keyboard is FUNCTION enabled - to do anything you have to press and hold the function key. For example, to refresh, I would usually press F5; now I have to press function + F5. Same with printscreen and so on. More annoying than you'd think. This has a flipside, though. My niece often wants to watch Peppa Pig on the computer, and by pressing F5 (not with function enabled) I can freeze the screen so she can't mess anything up. This is the opposite to other set-ups I've seen - usually to freeze the screen is function + F5. Go on, try it now.
As typical UK keyboards go, there are no diacritical marks available.
The keyboard does get filthy easily, as does the textured touchpad.
The keyboard is no quieter or louder than any other keyboard I've used; I am a fast and furious typist though.
* type : Touchpad with multi-touch control supporting various scroll, zoom and launch functionalities at your fingertips.
Average as touchpads go; I keep accidentally zooming in and out though. It's like an episode of CSI.
= DVD Drive
* compatibility : CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-R(DL), DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+R(DL), DVD+RW, DVD-RAM
* maximum speed : Read: 24x CD-ROM, 8x DVD-ROM/ Write: 24x CD-R, 4x CD-RW, 10x HS CD-RW, 24x US CD-RW, 8x DVD-R, 6x DVD-R (Double Layer), 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R, 6x DVD+R (Double Layer), 8x DVD+RW, 5x DVD-RAM
* type : DVD Super Multi (Double Layer) drive
Reads DVDs and CDs but not Blu-Rays. Get ready for some rocket launching noise during playback.
= Video Quality
* Max Resolution : 2,048 x 1,536
* Max Refresh Rate : 100 Hz
* Non-interlaced resolution with max refresh rate : 1,600 x 1,200
The refresh rate is ok. It should be able to play even the more HD files. Don't expect to be multi-tasking though.
= Wireless Technology
* Manufacturer : Atheros
* Wireless Technology : Bluetooth® 4.0 + LE
* Version : 4.0 + LE
* Compliancy : Wi-Fi®
* Network Support : 802.11a/b/g/n
* Manufacturer : Atheros
* Wireless Technology : Wireless LAN
* Version : WB222
Most people will want to connect to the Internet using their laptop. I cannot say for sure whether my poor Internet connectivity is due to the machine's technology or my router. It hasn't been great. Wireless LAN is pretty standard, connecting to the Internet through a router rather than a dongle (though the USB is supported). Along with the laptop's overall portability Wireless out and about should be no problem.
= Wired Technology
* topology : Gigabit Ethernet LAN
* speed : 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX/1000BASE-T
Again, standard Ethernet access with a twisted pair cable. I have never used this.
* HDD password on request
* slot for Kensington Cable Lock
* supervisor password
* user password
The last two are only applicable to a laptop with multiple user accounts; I only have one (I like the sound of 'admin'). Annoyingly, Windows 8 makes you enter a password before the start screen comes up. Extremely irritating when paired with random kernel errors.
* 1 year European Carry-in incl. local Pick-up & Return in the UK & Ireland. Toshiba also offers a large range of services to upgrade your standard warranty, please have a look at our website www.toshiba-europe.com/services to find the right service for your product.
* The manufacturer declares that this product complies with the following directives and regulations for the CE-marking. Responsible for CE marking is Toshiba Europe GmbH, Hammfelddam 8, 41460 Neuss, Germany.
= Conclusions Drawn
I really wanted to like this laptop, but it's hard, because it is terrible. Maybe terrible is too strong a word. I have several problems: the bundled software (ridiculous amounts of tat); the kernel error in the hard disk; Windows 8; the speakers. For light use, this laptop would be great, maybe for a student. However, considering how much I use it, these mild faults become a thorn in my paw that give me septicemia. It's a shame, as it is really good looking, super portable and technically sound. It's still better than my previous laptop, but, I am still disappointed.
The expansion options for the laptop are good, as are the graphics card and so on, but this will never be a PC. It probably won't last as long as a PC or perform as many functions at once or as fast. While laptops are portable, if you want a computer for any serious art or games, a PC is probably best.
Due to the large size of the hard disk, it might be perfect for two people or more to use as a shared laptop.
The laptop is still ok looking, but it does get dirty, as in grubbiness on the touchpad or keyboard and dust on the screen. Cleaning with an alcoholic wipe or a duster is absolutely fine. I have had no problems with letters wearing off or the black colour wearing away.
Likewise, internally, sometimes this computer fails to boot properly. Do not be afeared; take out the battery (it does not need a screwdriver) give it a blow, and reinsert. Good as new. No idea why it does that, but, I am glad I found a solution.
Some more miscellaneous info:
*Installation was easy; charge the laptop, then go through the rigmarole of Windows 8.
* The lights on the front correspond to battery power, hard disk and Internet connectivity.
* When opening the lid, the computer boots up (if it has over 50% battery). This is extremely addictive. You may do what I did and open the lids of other laptops and wait (possibly forever) for them to boot up. You can disable this.
* Holding the power button down forces a shut down. Useful for frozen moments.
* A power cord, an information booklet and a big ole box come with it, courtesy of Toshiba.
£ 389.00 (exc VAT)
Example of price with VAT: £499 (from Amazon)
Shop around. Available at Amazon, Dabs, Ebay. Probably eligible for cashback at Quidco or Topcashback. You may pay more for security systems sold with it. Don't. Avast is brilliant and free.
= Final Thoughts
To summarise, I have mixed feelings on this laptop and cannot wholeheartedly endorse it on behalf of TOSHIBA (not that I need their permission). However, I am stuck with it, and I don't particularly resent that fact apart from some niggles of mine which I am resigned to live with. If you are interested in buying it, go and try it out at PC World or something first, but buy online as it will be cheaper. Though it isn't a perfect fit for me, it may be for you.
For more information, visit:
http://www.toshiba.co.uk/ (Most of the technical specifications are from here, but it is still worth a look, especially the specifications I missed out because I did not understand their relevance.)