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As we discussed when we reviewed the Acer Aspire 5553G, adding more cores isn't always a recipe for great performance: a faster dual-core processor is often the best option. It's an opinion proved by the L650.
In our system performance testing it thoroughly stomps all over the Acer and its quad-core processor, while also outperforming the Intel Core i3-based Sony VAIO E Series by a reasonable margin. That said, the E Series still offers good performance for most users, and since our review has come down in price to a similar level to the Toshiba.
Indeed, when compared, the Sony makes a good argument for itself. Its screen may be smaller at 14-inches, but it has a higher 1,600 x 900 resolution and its size makes the machine more portable. Arguably the Sony has a more generous spec, too, including Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet - not to mention a better warranty.
In games the L650 performs very similarly to both the Acer and the Sony, managing playable frame rates in our TrackMania Nations, but quickly falling foul of the more demanding STALKER: Call of Pripyat. Consequently this is the kind of laptop that can cope with casual, or retro, gaming titles, but can't play more modern games adequately.
Battery life is rarely a major concern in laptops like this Toshiba, which at 2.46kg and 38cm across doesn't lend itself to portability. Nonetheless, it's always nice to not be tied to the mains power even when at home, and the L650 isn't.
It lasted a decent 196 minutes (3hrs, 16mins) in our productivity test, though this is less than the Acer largely due to the latter's graphics switching ability. DVD playback, which is tested at 100 per cent brightness, ran past the two hour barrier and could be extended by tweaking the settings to save power.
This is another solid, well-made mainstream laptop from Toshiba, but a few niggles eat away at its value and attractiveness, and the standard carry-in warranty is disappointing. A few tweaks and this would be a very good laptop, but at present it's just 'good enough'.