As usual on Toshiba laptops, the keyboard is rather good. It’s a shallow, low-profile tile-style affair that looks great (at least initially). Again the roomy chassis has allowed for an excellent layout with plenty of dedicated function buttons, and of course there’s a full number pad on hand as well.
Though the keys’ slightly shiny surface makes them feel slippery, their large area means you’ll seldom slide off a key. Feedback is also good, despite being shallow, as keys return a solid click when pressed. In fact, the only criticism we have is that there is just a hint of flex, but you probably won’t even notice unless you learned to type on an old-fashioned typewriter.
Just below the keyboard is a recessed button which turns the touchpad on or off, indicated by the backlit strip which illuminates when the touchpad is active. To be honest we didn’t find the touchpad interfered with typing at all so felt no need to turn it off, but it’s nice to have the option all the same.
The sensitive multi-touch touchpad itself looks tiny, but at nine centimetres wide it’s in fact larger than those found on many laptops – it’s just dwarfed by the sheer size of its surroundings. It’s the only visible part of the laptop that’s truly matt and is also slightly textured, making it very pleasant to use. Aside from their chrome finish the pad’s buttons are ideal, being large, well-positioned and offering light, crisp feedback.
On a laptop as obviously focused on entertainment as this one, connectivity should be good and indeed Toshiba doesn’t disappoint. On the left we have Gigabit Ethernet, one standard USB and one combined eSATA port, mini FireWire and HDMI video out, as well as a 54mm ExpressCard slot and the DVD optical drive. Now that Toshiba is finally on-board with Blu-ray, it’s interesting to note that the model up from the P500-12D we have (the P500-12F) is the first Toshiba laptop to offer a Blu-ray drive.
Towards the front of the Satellite P500-12D you’ll find an IR receiver, physical wireless switch and memory card reader which takes all the usual formats. Finally, to the right we have the power input, VGA output, two further USB ports (all USB ports on the P500-12D feature Sleep & Charge for charging your devices while the laptop is unplugged) and 3.5mm jacks for headphone and microphone, the former of which doubles as a digital output.