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  • Recommended by TR

Summary

Our Score

9/10

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Toshiba Satellite A500-11U - 16.4in Laptop - Toshiba Satellite A500-11U

On paper the A500 ought to be a very quick machine, so good things were expected from the benchmark results. It duly delivers, putting in a great performance in PCMark Vantage and only just failing to break the 4,000 score barrier. Had Toshiba installed a 64-bit OS it would have done even better, but all the same the A500 has genuine desktop replacing speed on its side.
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This is matched by some serious gaming muscle, too. Though it's not a gaming laptop per se, it comes as close as possible without actually crossing the divide. We managed to ramp Trackmania Nations to 'Very High' settings and still maintain a playable 33.5fps, so the likes of Call of Duty 4 and Left 4 Dead should be more than playable and at good settings, too. Naturally the system does get fairly noisy when running games, but show us a laptop that doesn't.

Inevitably there is a penalty to pay for all this performance. Just less than two hours in the Productivity segment of MobileMark 2007 is a pretty poor result, reflected in equally miserly outcomes in the other tests. However this machine weighs a considerable 3.18kg and measures 384mm across, so portability is hardly high on the agenda. As such, the A500 gets a low score for battery life, but it doesn't factor very heavily in the overall score.

And it's a fine overall score, too. While the A500-11U doesn't do a great deal to set hearts racing - it's not outstandingly good-looking or particularly innovative - it is (mostly) well made, flexible and powerful. In short, it's everything you'd want from a desktop replacement and it does it all for a good price to boot.
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Verdict

Minor fit and finish issues aside, the Toshiba Satellite A500-11U is a cracking desktop replacement laptop. It'll gobble up CPU intensive tasks and games with aplomb, while the addition of a TV tuner and ample storage space makes it perfect for people short on space. We'd like to have had a 64-bit OS to go with the prodigious processing power, but it's still a system well worth recommending.

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