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As laptops slowly take over from desktops, ‘desktop replacements’ are becoming ever more popular. These big, heavy laptops have large screens, powerful sound systems, and a general tendency towards packing in every multimedia and entertainment feature possible. The largest of these to be found at the moment generally come in at 18.4 inches, as does Toshiba’s Satellite P500-12D which we’re looking at today.
Toshiba has a unique design ethic when it comes to laptops, of which the most distinctive traits are the glossy overall finish and pinstripe pattern. The latter has had a major overhaul from the boring, symmetrical stripes found on the previous Toshiba 18.4in machine we reviewed (the Qosmio G50) and is now a pleasing mixture of swooping lines. Unfortunately this pattern doesn’t prevent fingerprints from being horribly obvious on the glossy lid, but then that’s a criticism that can be levelled at most consumer laptops.
Rather than the design it’s the sheer size of this behemoth that will likely impress you most though. At 41.5mm thick and with a weight of 3.93kg this is one laptop that pushes the boundaries of mobility.
Opening the machine up we’re greeted by Toshiba’s usual disappointingly glossy interior, with everything from the wrist rest to the semi-gloss keyboard being a magnet for dust, grime and fingerprints. Mind you, aside from the constant cleaning required to maintain it, the overall look is attractive.
Above the keyboard reside the impressive-looking speakers (we’ll get to their performance in a bit), whose chrome surrounds match the touchpad’s chromed buttons nicely. Thanks to the P500-12D’s generous dimensions Toshiba has found plenty of room to integrate the power button and a set of touch-sensitive controls to the left of the keyboard. First off we have an Eco-mode button, which as you might have guessed reduces power consumption. Next up are media and volume controls, all of which are responsive and offer a loud beep when pressed, though thankfully this can be turned off. They’re all nicely backlit in white, as is the power button, Satellite logo and small strip above the touchpad (though sadly the keyboard isn’t) – very handy for finding them in the dark.