Below the keyboard is a small button that deactivates the touchpad and its red LED strip, though there is also a dedicated keyboard shortcut for this function. The wide aspect multi-touch touchpad itself is responsive and offers a pleasant textured surface. Its flat buttons are a major improvement over some of the convex iterations we’ve come across on older Toshiba laptops. Feedback of the left button is just right, and though the right button’s travel is uncomfortably shallow it’s hardly a big deal. There’s a fingerprint scanner nestled between them for extra security.
Connectivity is generous enough, with Gigabit Ethernet, a combined eSATA/USB port alongside a plain USB one, HDMI video out (supporting Regza-Link for use with Toshiba televisions), mini FireWire, and a 54mm ExpressCard slot on the left; a physical wireless switch and memory card reader on the front; and a further two USB ports, VGA video output and 3.5mm jacks for headphone/ digital audio out and microphone to the right. As we’ve touched upon the X500 also features a BD-RE drive, which writes at x6 and re-writes at x2.
Toshiba’s unique Resolution+ technology (which upscales standard definition material to the screen’s Full HD resolution) is still on hand, though given the lack of a Cell co-processor we assume this is handled by the CPU alone. Unfortunately you’ll be hard-pressed to notice the difference with the upscaling available to any Windows PC using a dedicated graphics card.
While on the topic of high definition, the X500-10T’s 18.4in screen, with its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, will certainly do Blu-rays and games as much justice as you can expect from a laptop display. Crucially, it improves on the poor viewing angles and contrast shift that noticeably affected the Satellite P500 screen. Though very far from what you would get on a high-end desktop monitor like the new Dell UltraSharp U2410, horizontal viewing angles are good enough that you can enjoy a film with some friends.
Colours are bright and vibrant, helped by the screen’s glossy coating. Sharpness is excellent and there is very little sign of backlight inconsistency or banding. Inevitably greyscale performance is patchy, but Toshiba has sensibly (for an entertainment-focused machine) configured the panel to prioritise dark detailing over white saturation – so while you’ll miss subtleties in bright scenes, at least you’ll have a good chance of spotting that monster hiding in the shadows. Overall, it’s one of the better 18.4in laptop screens we’ve come across.
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