Despite the outstanding build quality present in the chassis, the keyboard on the L650 gives reason for pause. It has a good layout, though the off-centre alignment created by the – admittedly useful – number pad takes a little getting used to, but it just doesn’t feel right. Some minor flex doesn’t help matters, but it’s really the light, shallow key actions that are to blame. It’s far from a bad keyboard, but we’ve used better.
Things couldn’t more different with the touchpad. It seems somewhat incongruous to praise its buttons so highly, but the large, chunky ones on the L650 are quite a departure from the flimsy ‘rocker’ buttons we’ve become accustomed to of late. As for the pad itself, it’s nicely differentiated from its surroundings by a lightly textured surface, and supports all the usual multi-touch gestures.
Like the majority of similarly priced laptops, the 15.6in screen on the L650 has a 1,366 x 768 native resolution. Purists might deem this a bit low, but if you want more then – by and large – you have to pay for privilege. In any case, it’s still a good resolution for HD video content and offers enough horizontal pixels to fit documents side-by-side.
It’s an above average display for the price, too. Viewing angles are reasonably good, and though colours don’t jump out at you, the screen resolves more detail in videos than many. Only the reflective finish puts a damper on things, particularly as it’s exacerbated by the equally reflective bezel.
Toshiba has fostered an excellent reputation for audio on its laptops, but clearly the L650 has been deemed too cheap to continue it. Its stereo speakers do an adequate job, but are characterised by the kind of high-frequency bias that makes you wince at high volume. Try very hard you might make out some bass, or failing that you can create your own by acquiring some beatboxing skills.