Toshiba Satellite L500D

We like the Toshiba Satellite L500D, it's amazing value for its price. However, we think it's worth paying the extra AU$200 for the version with the less power hungry GPU.


8.0
CNET Rating
7.7
User Rating

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About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


Design and features

The Satellite L500D is one of the fancier looking laptops we've seen in the sub-AU$1000 category, with an understated fingerprint pattern on the lid which carries through to the inside. The touchpad sits flush with the wrist rest too — an uncommon design choice, although Toshiba gets around any potential issues of knowing where the edges are by having a silken texture for the wrist rest and a coarser, stippled texture for the touchpad itself.

There are a few quick launch buttons, with simple media controls, a volume mute button and the power button situated underneath the 15.6-inch, 1366x768 monitor.

On the left-hand side is a hot air vent, which left-handed external mouse users may find annoying. Also on this side is a VGA port, 100Mb Ethernet, combined eSATA/USB port, headphone and microphone jacks. On the right is a 56Kbps modem port, two USB ports and the DVD+-RW drive. The front features an SD card reader and a rotary wheel for adjusting the volume. Just like the Compaq Presario CQ61 (on top of choosing 100Mb instead of gigabit Ethernet) Toshiba has gone with 802.11g wireless instead of 802.11n, and not included Bluetooth or an Express Card slot.

Bundled in is a Norton Internet Security 2009 trial; Microsoft Office 2007 trial; Google Desktop, Earth, Picasa and Toolbar; and a bunch of trial games. More useful are Toshiba's bundled applications, including its best of breed "Configfree" networking utility and the aforementioned eco utility.

Performance

The Satellite is also the first AMD Athlon X2 laptop to cross our path in this price range, clocking in at 2.1GHz, with a 320GB hard drive and an ATI Radeon 3100 powering the graphics. It's also got 4GB RAM, but this is penalised down to 2941MB due to shared graphics memory and Toshiba opting for a 32-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium. Interestingly, Toshiba has included both the 32- and 64-bit versions of Vista in its recovery partition, giving the user the option to upgrade. Bravo, Toshiba.

Performance is quite good for a budget laptop, scoring 3688 in PCMark05, indicating it's fine for general use and web browsing, while its 1479 in 3DMark06 makes it the most powerful of the sub-AU$1000 laptops we've tested recently in the 3D graphics stakes, thanks to the Radeon video card, potentially opening up the laptop for older 3D games.

The Radeon though is a double-edged sword — while it allows for better 3D graphics performance, it punishes the Toshiba on battery life, lasting just one hour, 18 minutes and 53 seconds in our gruelling XviD video playback test, where we turn off all power-saving features and set screen brightness and volume to maximum to create a worst-case scenario. Less taxing activities such as web browsing and office work will see considerably longer battery life, and Toshiba even bundles an excellent "eco Utility", which measures power consumption in real time and helps you extended battery life.

If you'd like to see even more battery life, you'll need to spend another AU$200 for the version with the Intel Pentium 2.1GHz processor and GMA4500HD graphics.

We like the Toshiba Satellite L500D, it's amazing value for its price. However, we think it's worth paying the extra AU$200 for the version with the less power hungry GPU.

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RenegadeVictim
4
Rating
 

"Good for Business - Bad For Gaming"

RenegadeVictim posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Great look and feel

The Bad:Short battery life, overheating issues, fans stop working once battery goes.

As this is my first laptop, I can't really say I can compare it to another model. I have, however, used other laptops before such as the HP Pavilion. The Toshiba Satellite is a model that I recommend for business/office purposes. Great for things like typing up documents and such and short time usage. Bad for things like gaming. The processor is too slow for most games. The vents are on the bottom of the laptop in the worst possible places. No rear ventilation. One Side vent. Battery life is too short and as a result you have to keep it on charge if you wish to use it for long periods of time. Keeping the laptop on charge constantly, however, drains the Battery's Lifespan. I have had mine for over a year now. Within the first 6 months, the battery died completely and as such I have had to keep it on charge constantly. Recently, the fans stopped working completely temporarily and I had to wait until they righted themselves. Once your battery goes, your fans begin to play up. The Laptop overheats too easily. Runs many older games smoothly and without an issue, but lacks the specs for newer games.

Overall Opinion:
Great for use over short periods of time for office type things.
Bad for gaming.

 

patrick09217 posted a comment   
Australia

Can the graphic card of this loptop replacable.

 

AdamV posted a reply   

nope. this review is also 3 years old. As a general rule you can assume that almost all laptops can't handle graphics card replacements.

 

GregK posted a comment   

great machines fans just aint all that good 8/10

 

markh68 posted a comment   
New Zealand

I will never touch another Toshiba!

markh68
3
Rating
 

"Hard drive issues"

markh68 posted a review   
New Zealand

The Good:average

The Bad:I would hate to have it as a work computer, prob let you down!

I have had mine a little over a year, it fried the ram within 6 months , and has just blown the hard drive, price of crap!

geejaybee
8
Rating
 

"Great Allrounder"

geejaybee posted a review   
Australia

The Good:separate number pad, good lcd screen

The Bad:short battery life between recharges

As this is my first laptop, I cant really compare it to any other. All I can say is that i have had no problems what so ever with this unit. Both my wife and myself have one that I bought at the same time and both have been excellent. I notice a few complaints from other users about heating problems, we both use ours on laptop cooling pads and find no problems at all as the bigger fan in the cooling pads circulates cool air efficiently

SarahG1 Facebook
9
Rating
 

"MARKED AS SPAM BY AKISMET"

SarahG1 posted a review   

The Good:Great look and feel.

The Bad:Heating is only issue but easily managed.

When bought it was not intended as a gaming laptop but started running a few different MMO types on it and have found it runs them quite smoothly. Have had Everquest2, Skype, teamspeak3 and several web pages going at once and still not had issues, Heating can be easily managed by using on flat hard surface to let air underneath or using something small to lift it slightly. Been running this laptop for well over a year and still runs perfect, Impressed and will definitely buy Toshiba again.

 

Georgia posted a comment   

The Good:fast

The Bad:short lifetime

Died after 9 months of used - with no damage apparent- End the manufacturer blame it on liquid damage 0$ covered- Have to pay the price of a new one!

 

BettyAnn posted a comment   

This computer sucks!!!..it is not even a year old and the hard drive crashed. I had nothing but problems from day 1. Kept freezing up..lost some driver,the most important one..the DVD player which they had to recover...took it to be repaired to their suppier..that didn't change anything...they told me nothing was wrong...then it really started acting weird on me..Went to do a recovery disc..and guess what..that is when the system crashed..I want a new computer out of this...I will never purchase another toshiba again!!!

 

Serginator posted a reply   

The Same happened with my Laptop, toshiba crams at least 20 of there programs that dont do anything, like PC health Monitor, Eco Mode, Face Regonition etc.

Flash Cards and Link Doctor are the useful ones. If you get a Black screen upon login, its due to the GPU Program that corrupts itself within a month. All the Programs are CPU and RAM Hungry

Do a Fresh OS and Reinstall Flash Cards and the Wireless Network Drive, and Audio Drive and it will be ok.

Hope this helps


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User Reviews / Comments  Toshiba Satellite L500D

  • RenegadeVictim

    RenegadeVictim

    Rating4

    "As this is my first laptop, I can't really say I can compare it to another model. I have, however, used other laptops before such as the HP Pavilion. The Toshiba Satellite is a model that I recomme..."

  • patrick09217

    patrick09217

    "Can the graphic card of this loptop replacable."

  • GregK

    GregK

    "great machines fans just aint all that good 8/10"

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