Toshiba U50T-A-10F – Performance
One of our favourite things about the U50T-A-10F is that it has a discrete hybrid 32GB solid state drive to complement the 750GB 5,400rpm hard disk. Inaccessible to the user, its effects are definitely noticeable in the machine’s boot up speeds: 15 seconds from a restart and just 10 from cold. But it’s also clear in the day-to-day usage that this is a fast machine for office use. Switching between tabs, and applications is smooth and trouble-free.
In our Geekbench 3 test to measure the computer’s speed, the U50T-A-10F scored a reasonable 4,802. That’s only a little behind our expensive but highly rated Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus (5,033) and a little ahead of the Sony VAIO Duo (4,524). For additional context to those numbers, the highest we’ve seen to date was the 2013 27-inch Apple iMac with 14,462.
As a games machine, the U50T-A-10F is not competing with the Alienware 14s of this world. It has no dedicated onboard AMD or Nvidia graphics and instead relies on the integrated Intel HD4400 on the CPU. As such, we weren’t expecting amazing things, and the benchmarks duly delivered. In 3DMark, the Ice Storm and Ice Storm Extreme benchmarks aimed at low-end laptops and mobiles produced scores of 23,973 and 15,753 respectively.
That’s about par for the course in the Ultrabook market, and puts it in a similar ballpark to the likes of the Lenovo Yoga 11S (26,381 and 18,860), and Sony Vaio Duo (14,874 and 16,013), but well behind those with a Nvidia chipset like the Gigabyte U2442V (35,906 and 27,609). The Cloud Gate test – aimed at notebooks and desktops — returned a score of 3,756. On this more intense level it was slightly worse than both the Sony (4,869) and the Gigabyte (4,099) and well ahead of the Lenovo Yoga 11S (2,861).
On the Inigine Heaven benchmarks — limited purely to 1366×768 benchmarks by the screen resolution — the U50T-A-10F managed an average of 10.2fps on the basic level and 3.6fps on the extreme version. Low scores then, but these tests are hugely intensive, and most low-end laptops we’ve run the test on struggling to even reach double figures in the former (the Toshiba Z10T-A only got 6.3fps while the Asus X200CA managed just 4.8fps). More powerful laptops with stronger graphics chips fare better of course: the 15-inch Macbook Pro managed 30.3fps and 13.3fps, while the Asus G750JX (our gaming laptop of choice) achieved speeds of 53.6fps and 27.8fps. But then these retail for over £500 more.
Despite this, it should still be good for some 3D gaming. We managed to get Burnout Paradise running at a perfectly playable framerate in 1366 x 768 resolution and high detail. So while the latest AAA titles may be off the table, some of the older classics are definitely fair game.
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Toshiba U50T-A-10F – Heat & Noise
When running standard office activities, the U50T-A-10F is virtually silent. In our office, even during quiet times you could barely hear the laptop in action unless you put your ear really close to the fans on the side. Heatwise too, there’s generally enough room for the heat to dissipate, although it did get a little warm around the middle of the bottom of the laptop after an afternoon’s steady plugged in usage.
Under heavy load, even in our most taxing gaming tests the results were pretty much the same: very little heat or noise. The laptop would be comfortable on your lap, with only the slightest warm spot just below the power button on the upper right hand side. Impressive.
Toshiba U50T-A-10F – Battery Life
With similar performance to other Ultrabooks despite its larger frame, it seems that the majority of this new bulk has been spent on the battery, and the effects are definitely noticeable. In our standard battery test, which comprises of a mixture of web browsing, video playback and word processing at 40% screen brightness, the U50T-A-10F recorded a pleasing seven hours and one minute before giving up the ghost. With lower brightness and wi-fi turned off, you’d easily be able to get through a working day’s usage, actually beating Toshiba’s estimates of seven hours.
Better still, a 30-minute charge restored 33% of the total battery, which equates to a whopping two hours and six minutes of real world usage. This is one of the best batteries we’ve ever seen, only eclipsed by the truly outstanding life of the Macbook Air and the Sony Vaio Duo (an incredible 10 hours, 38 minutes).
How we test laptops
Unlike other sites, we test every laptop we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.