For the same price as some of the cheapest Ultrabooks, you can buy a laptop that can handle pretty high-end games, rather than just Peggle and World of Warcraft. More interested in packing-in components than style, the Toshiba Satellite L875-10G chucks away the Gok Wan sunglasses and shuns designer footwear to offer dedicated graphics, a powerful processor and 17.3in screen for under £700.
The Toshiba Satellite L875-10G is a high-end alternative to the last Toshiba we prodded, the Satellite C855. Although the basic two-tone layout and contours are the same, this more expensive model is significantly better-looking.
Its lid and keyboard hand rest are both finished with brushed metal, offering the delightful cool touch and strong feel that normal plastics can't replicate. Most of the rest of the L875-10G's body is plastic-fantastic, but the metallic areas are those that matter most anyway - being either those most prone to damage or those you touch most often.
There's a little too much variation in finish across the laptop for it to look remarkably handsome - glossy black for the keyboard surround, metallic plastic around the trackpad, and different textures for the pad, mouse buttons and speaker grille. But for a gaming-capable laptop, it's fairly tasteful, and there's nothing too jarring to the eyes here.
Weighing 2.7kg and sporting a 17.3in screen, consider this an at-home laptop unless you have bodybuilder-grade shoulders.
Specs and Battery Life
The Toshiba Satellite L875-10G has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. It doesn't offer the brand-new Ivy Bridge generation of processor, instead making do with last year's Sandy Bridge model. We'll look at what it's capable of later.
Its battery, a 6-cell 4200mAh unit, lasted for three hours 38 minutes when set to the MobileMark 2007 benchmark, which emulates normal productivity usage. When brightness was set at 40 per cent and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth were turned off, it's pretty clear that if you're looking for all-day use away from the charger, you're looking in the wrong place.
Connectivity and Speakers
Aside from a large screen and powerful innards, one other benefit of sacrificing portability is you - generally speaking - get an optical drive. The Toshiba Satellite L875-10G has a DVD multiwriter on its left edge, using a tray design. Some may miss the Blu-ray drive, but for those looking for an affordable gaming laptop, sheer performance will likely be more important.
Next to the drive sit a USB 2.0 port and the power jack. Around the other side you'll find a pair of USB 3.0 ports, the HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA video output and the 3.5mm headphone and mic sockets. Additionally, there's an SD card slot on the underside of its front and an HD webcam in the glossy screen surround.
In terms of connectivity you can't see, the Toshiba L875-10G offers Wi-Fi n and Bluetooth 4.0. There's no 3G capability, but such a thing would be unusual in an affordable desk-bound laptop like this.
A pair of speaker grilles sit above the keyboard in a bar of textured plastic. Their sound quality is fairly weak compared with laptops that pack-in additional sub drivers or simply higher-quality speakers. The treble is a little fizzy and there's no bass, but it they can go fairly loud without major distortion - although at maximum volume there was some minor mid-range distortion, such as with characters' voices in films.