One of the highlights of this machine is its nVidia GeForce GT 230M discrete graphics card. While it does have a negative effect on battery life, this is hardly much of a concern on a machine that’s not very portable to begin with. Performance, on the other hand, is just about good enough to run some modern games at low detail settings. In TrackMania Nations Forever the Satellite P500-12D returned a silky-smooth 76.9fps at 1,366 x 768 (or 64.4fps at the screen’s native 1,680 x 945 resolution), while even Stalker was playable at minimal detail settings. Of course you also get the benefit of PureVideo video processing over Intel’s integrated graphics options.
Though arguably battery life is never going to be more than an afterthought on a laptop this large, the P500-12D put in a surprisingly good score of two hours and six minutes in MobileMark’s Productivity benchmark (with screen brightness at a very usable 40 per cent). Unfortunately the DVD test refused to run, but seeing as less intensive use allows for two hours battery life, watching films on battery seems an unlikely event.
Finally on the value front the £750 P500-12D also does quite well, though it doesn’t truly stand out. For example, you can get a similarly-configured Acer Aspire for the same price, while the Dell Studio 17 offers a Core i7 processor for as little as £780 – albeit with a graphics card you won’t be able to game on and more than likely integrated speakers that won’t shine a candle to Toshiba’s. As such, given the features on offer, the P500 comes out pretty well.
With decent build quality, a good keyboard and touchpad, usable screen and the best speakers on any laptop we’ve tested (plus relatively good battery life to boot), the Satellite P500-12D’s ill-advised glossy insides and lack of a Blu-ray drive are forgivable, especially considering the reasonable price. If you want a desktop replacement for light gaming and entertainment, it’s definitely worth considering.