The Satellite Pro S500-11C benefits from good performance but, considering the price, we were expecting much better in terms of battery life.
Decent performance; plenty of storage; large and bright display.
Poor battery life; glossy screen attracts reflections; chassis feels cheap.
Toshiba's Satellite Pro S500-11C looks pretty impressive at first sight. It's reasonably slim (measuring 33mm at the thinnest point and 38mm at the thickest) and has an all-black chassis that's interrupted only by the large silver Toshiba logo on the lid.
Pick the laptop up, however, and it feels a little cheap and plasticky. We're also not fans of the corrugated effect on the wrist rest.
The large 15.6in display looks good, but it has a glossy coating that will irritate many business users. On the plus side, it's bright, making outdoor use possible, but in terms of reflections this is when the glossy coating is even more troublesome.
The native resolution of 1,366 x 768 means it's a 16:9 widescreen display that's great for movies and comparing spreadsheets side by side, but not so hot when browsing web sites or scrolling through long documents.
Toshiba has managed to squeeze in a numeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard. But this means there's slightly less room for the rest of the keyboard, and the Enter and Space keys have had to be slimmed down as a result. The other keys are also slightly thinner than we'd like, but not desperately so, and we soon managed to get up a good typing speed.
There's also a small amount of flex, particularly on the numeric keypad, but this shouldn't be a concern unless you have a very heavy typing style.
The touchpad is slightly smaller than we'd hoped for, while the two buttons below it are a little too stiff. Squeezed in between these buttons is a fingerprint reader, allowing for secure access without the need for a password.
Four USB ports are provided (two on either side of the chassis), and one of these doubles as an eSATA port, allowing fast external storage to be attached. Other inputs include a 54mm ExpressCard, multi-format card reader and audio I/O. These are joined by a mini DisplayPort socket, which allows for audio and video to be passed to a compatible external display via a single cable. Toshiba has also found room for a multi-format DVD writer, which is located on the right of the chassis.
The majority of corporate users will find that the 320GB hard drive provides more than enough space, while all the networking boxes are ticked with Bluetooth, 802.11n wireless and Gigabit LAN provided as standard.