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Having not had many laptops before I was quite suprised by my last purchase which was the Toshiba Satellite L650-12K. This laptop is really good not only because of the features and the brand name attached to it but the colour and how nice it feels to touch.
At first I was unsure as I do get really fed up with the same boring style of black laptops but this was the only colour available. On the lid of the laptop you cannot help but know who the laptop is made by with the huge Toshiba writing present.
Setup is easy because as soon as you load up the laptop the Windows 7 loads up asking you to provide a username and password for an account which is pretty easy to do and basically what you would expect to do.
There is 3 USB ports around the computer and they are situated to the left and the right of the computer and this is good because if your like me then you have plenty of items needing to be plugged in. I have got a mouse and my desktop light and then there is one spare so they are vital to have all the time.
The computer is 2.13ghz which I have to admit is not the quickest in the world but with a 3MB cache that sort of helps out alittle bit and makes this computer much more viable as a purchase. You notice the speed on the computer when it loads up and the internet pages are quick and so are some of the games you play as well so I am impressed by that.
There is and Intel Core Processor and I have to admit I only go for computers which are Intel because they provide in my opinion the best processors around. At the moment everything looks good and then you notice there is a 15.6 inch tru brite monitor so again another good part of the laptop. Everything though in my view is what you would expect it to be like and most laptops have a similar feature list if not better.
There is a double layer DVD-RW player which is fantastic and very quick to use which not all laptops have so that is an added bonus for people who like to make movies so I do like this feature. You also have 320GB memory which I have to admit is not good enough as most laptops try there best to give as much memory as possible.
You have the wireless capability which is essential for networks at home or on the move with business and speakers are very good and actually pretty loud when at full volume. I have seen many laptops promising so much but delivering very little with the speakers.
The weight of the laptop is around the 2.5kg range and for me that is pretty good and underneath when using the item there is very little heat or sound and again this adds to the comfort factor. I hate it when I have a laptop which is overheating all the time and with very little in terms of sound within the computer it is a nice peaceful experience.
Now when logging on if you are like me and hate putting in a password why not use the face regonition software and I do love this the built in webcam takes an image of your face and next time you want to log on to the computer you sit in front of the webcam and it acknowledges who you are and simply logs you in. I like this because if someone has got your password they cannot log in without your image there.
The battery life on this item is fairly good once fully charged I find it can last around three hours and sometimes more but again this depends on what your doing on the computer, watching movies and surfing the internet using a wireless connection this does make the battery power much more reduced.
I think the laptop was appealing to me because it was on offer at just £250 and this was involving me giving in an old laptop as well but the usual price is around £400 and more so the laptop is expensive perhaps but with face recognition, webcam, the latest windows and the latest technology included this laptop is a really good buy. I would wait for the price to drop but there is quick speed throughout, easy to set up webcam and wireless connectivity this is fantastic.
My son picked this laptop for its gaming attributes. I was happy to pay the £550 as it did all the basics I needed it for and looked the part. I would have been better keeping my money as he spends most of the day playing some shooting game in it.
As for a technical review, my son tells me the graphics card is the big thing about this laptop, an ATI HD 5650 coupled with the Intel Core i3 makes for a great gaming machine. It plays all the modern processor intensive games without freezing or stalling.
For me, it has everything I need. Large clear screen, which is ultra bright when plugged in. I keep it plugged in most of the time because the battery only lasts a couple of hours. It picks up my wireless at home without problems, and comes with an inbuilt DVD burner that I am yet to use.
Plenty of HD space and RAM means Vista runs smoothly and quickly, and some of the bundled software that comes with it is great, like the face recognition I can use instead of a password!
A great gaming machine for not much more than a home/office laptop.
The heart of this laptop is the ATI HD 5650 graphics card. Everything else is basically secondary.
The ATI HD 5650 is the entry price point for the truly capable PCI-ex laptop graphics cards (the next step up being the ATI HD 5730 or the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M) and when coupled with the i3 CPU is the best youre going to get for gaming without spending a grand, or more.
MW2 very playable at high (not ultra) expect average frame rates to rarely drop below 35.
L4D2, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2 all run smoothly.
Even the still consulted Crysis benchmark passes (on medium), the bottleneck here is identified as the processor not the ATI 5650. Perhaps a core i5 would give better results, and this model is available, but I dont feel its worth the extra money for a small gain in fps.
Build quality is fine. Keyboard responsive, screen clear. Plenty of connectivity, including a very useful HDMI port. eSATA, DVD burner, N draft wireless, all the usual bells and whistles you would expect.
However all this is basically beside the point. If you are buying a Toshiba Satellite L650 in this particular configuration you are buying it for the graphics card. In that respect this is close to the perfect games machine. Good screen, doesnt get too hot in extended sessions, responsive well built keyboard but above all the ATI HD 5650.