3.5 star rating

Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010 Review

$949.00
Pros: Attractive design ; Bright crisp 18.4-inch display ; Good performance ; Excellent speakers;
Cons: Small touchpad ; Sluggish boot time;
The Verdict: Toshiba’s first 18-inch notebook with Intel’s Core i3 CPU features solid performance, an attractive design, and rich sound at a wallet-friendly price.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

 Entertainment seekers looking for a big-screen notebook without an accompanying big-ticket price will find a lot to like in the Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010, an 18.4-inch system featuring Intel’s new Core i3 processor, touch-sensitive controls, excellent audio, and enough graphics muscle to handle mainstream games. At $949, the system packs a significant amount of features for its price, but film buffs may lament the lack of a full HD screen and a Blu-ray drive with the standard configuration.

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Design and Aesthetics

Measuring 17.4 x 11.6 x 1.6 inches and weighing a hefty 8.6 pounds, the P505 isn’t a notebook designed for the coffee shop. However, this attractive machine will look great sitting on a desktop or entertainment center thanks to the Fusion Finish in Sonic Black design. The system features an eye-catching glossy coating that extends from the lid to the bezel, keyboard, and base (the latter incorporates subtle arcing white lines that cut through the black).

Heat

After playing a Hulu video for 15 minutes at full screen, the P505 remained relatively cool. The touchpad measured 89 degrees Fahrenheit, the space between the G and H keys was 89 degrees, and the bottom reached 94 degrees. However, the back vent soared to 112 degrees. We consider anything higher than 100 degrees to be unpleasant.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010

The keyboard on the P505 is wide and spacious, but the individual keys lack a certain amount of tactile feedback that touch typists may enjoy. Still, you have a full number pad and nicely sized Shift keys. To the left of the keyboard is a responsive touch-sensitive media control panel that allowed us to easily play, pause, and skip tracks while listening to music files.

South of the keyboard is a smallish 3.3 x 1.6-inch touchpad that could have benefited from additional horizontal and vertical space. Its texture invites a bit of friction, but not enough to interfere with cursor movements. The ample mouse buttons were easy to press, but some might find them too mushy.

Display and Audio

Our Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street DVD displayed rich blacks and vibrant colors on the 18.4-inch display, which sports an unusual 1680 x 945-pixel resolution. Toshiba says this “HD+” resolution is designed to show sharper images than 720p while keeping costs down. Film buffs may lament the lack of a full HD display (a feature more expensive machines such as the Sony VAIO F Series have), but the image quality was excellent. While the picture held up from all but the most extreme angles, the screen’s glossy coating kicked back plenty of reflections.

Twin Harmon Kardon speakers produced excellent audio when we fired up some James Brown tracks on Slacker. The Dolby-powered speakers separated high- and low-end sounds rather nicely, which opened up the soundscape and allowed us to appreciate both the treble and bass. The speakers also produce enough volume to fill a medium-sized room; the P505-S8010 would make an excellent addition to your media center.

Ports and Webcam

The perimeter of the P505 is packed with ports for connecting gear: arrayed around the chassis you’ll find three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, VGA, FireWire 400, ExpressCard/54, eSATA/USB, VGA, Ethernet, and modem ports, along with a Kensington lock slot and 5-in-1 memory card reader.

Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010

Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010

Above the display is a webcam that served up somewhat murky visuals when we chatted with Meebo friends. Moving into brighter light helped, but skin tones became a bit washed out.

Performance

Under the hood runs Intel’s new 2.13-GHz Core i3-330M processor. Although it doesn’t possess Intel’s Turbo Boost technology for dynamically increasing CPU clock speed when needed (that’s reserved for Core i5 and Core i7 notebooks), the P505-S8010 demonstrated very good performance in our benchmarks.

Combined with 4GB of RAM and a 5,400-rpm, 500GB hard drive, the P505 produced a solid PCMark Vantage score of 4,997, a tally that was over 450 points higher than the desktop replacement category average. This score trailed the Acer Aspire 8940G (which also has an 18.4-inch screen but a faster 1.6-GHz Intel Core i7-720QM GPU) by nearly 1,000 points. However, the Acer notebook has a much higher price tag of $1,349. In our day-to-day use of the P505, windows opened swiftly (even with multiple applications open), and there were very few instances of Windows’ spinning blue swirl.

When we used the P505 to transcode a 114MB, 5-minute-and-5-second video using Oxelon Media Converter, it took 1 minute and 12 seconds (just 10 seconds longer than the 1:02 desktop replacement average). The hard drive copied a 4.97GB folder of mixed media at a rate of 22.8 MBps, which is 4.7 MBps slower than the 27.5 MBps average and even further behind the Sony VAIO F Series’ 29.2 MBps. The lengthy 1 minute and 18 second boot time into Windows 7 Home Premium exceeds the 1:06 category average.

Graphics Performance

The Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics card enabled the P505 to achieve a 3DMark06 score of 3,652, which is approximately half the 7,142 desktop replacement average. That’s also less GPU muscle than the Acer Aspire 8940G’s score of 4,261 (which has Nvidia GeForce GTS 250M graphics) as well as the Sony VAIO F Series’ 6,577 (which has more powerful Nvidia GeForce GT 330M graphics).

Despite its low benchmark score, the P505 was able to plow through World of Warcraft at 60 frames per second using the 1024 x 768 auto-detect resolution, and a still-playable 23 fps using the 1680 x 945 maximum resolution. The graphics-intensive Far Cry 2 proved a tougher challenge; the system pushed polygons at a rate of 44 fps at 1024 x 768, dropping to just 12 fps at 1680 x 945.

Wi-Fi and Battery Life

The P505’s battery lasted just 1 hour and 54 minutes when Web surfing over Wi-Fi, which is about 30 minutes shorter than the desktop replacement category average of 2:28. Given that this 18.4-inch machine isn’t intended to be left unplugged for very long, this endurance shouldn’t be a concern.

The 802.11b/g/n radio saw data throughput of 24.6 Mbps and 16.7 Mbps at 15 and 50 feet, respectively. Both scores fall below the desktop replacement category averages of 19.9 Mbps and 16.6 Mbps.

Green Testing

The P505 took 2 hours to fully recharge, and used an average of 41.9 watts during that time. Its LAPTOP Battery Efficiency rating of 44.1 is better than the 79.0 category average.

Other Configurations

Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010

Toshiba offers a multitude of options for the P505. Preconfigured models include the P500-ST5806 ($949, Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 CPU, Nvidia GeForce GT 230M GPU, 320GB HDD), and the P500-ST5807 ($1,099, Intel Core i7-720QM CPU, Nvidia GeForce 310M GPU, 320GB HD).

Consumers can also configure their own P500 (referred to as the P500-ST6844) with a choice of Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 CPUs, integrated Intel or discrete Nvidia GPUs, 320GB to 640GB HDDs, a 64GB SSD, Blu-ray drive, and more.

Software and Warranty

Preinstalled on the P505-S8010 is a slew of applications, trials, and special offers. You get a 30-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2010, 60-day trial of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, Corel DVD MovieFactory, Intuit QuickBooks Financial Center, and Skype. Toshiba also includes a number of its own utilities, including Bulletin Board, Face Recognition, Media Controller, and ReelTime.

Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010Toshiba covers the P505 with a one-year warranty with 24/7 toll-free tech support. To see how Toshiba fared in our annual Tech Support Showdown, click here.

Verdict

It’s not a gaming powerhouse by any stretch, but those looking for a rock solid multimedia machine with punchy speakers for an affordable price will enjoy the $949 Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010. In short, shoppers desirous of a big-screen notebook that won’t break the break will find a lot to like.

Tags: Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010, Toshiba Satellite P505, Toshiba Satellite, desktop replacements, multimedia notebooks, notebooks, Toshiba, reviews, laptops

Technical Specifications
Toshiba Satellite P505-S8010
http://www.toshibadirect.com


The central processor unit, or CPU, is the brain of your notebook.
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CPU
2.13-GHz Intel Core i3-330M
Operating SystemMS Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
The amount of memory our reviewed configuration comes with.
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RAM
4GB
The maximum amount of memory this notebook supports.
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RAM Upgradable to
8GB
Amount of data your storage drive can hold.
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Hard Drive Size
500GB
The rotation speed of a mechanical hard drive.
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Hard Drive Speed
5,400rpm
Your notebook’s storage drive (hard drive or solid state drive) holds your operating system, your programs, and your data.
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Hard Drive Type
SATA Hard Drive
Your notebook display is the primary viewing device for your laptop computer.
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Display Size
18.4
The number of pxiels (wxh) displayed on your screen at once.
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Native Resolution
1680x945
An optical drive allows you to play or record to DVDs, CDs, or Blu-ray discs.
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Optical Drive
DVD /- RW
The speed of the optical drive.
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Optical Drive Speed
8X
Graphics chips are responsible for processing all images sent to your computer’s display.
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Graphics Card
Nvidia GeForce 310M
The amount of memory available for graphics processing.
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Video Memory
512MB
Wi-Fi connects you to a router or hotspot for wireless Internet access.
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Wi-Fi
802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth allows you to connect to wireless devices such as headsets, smart phones, and speakers.
Bluetooth
Mobile broadband connects you to the Net from anywhere, even places with no hotspot.
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Mobile Broadband
Ports allow you to connect to external devices such as monitors, printers, MP3 players, and hard drivse.
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Ports (excluding USB)
eSATA/USB; Ethernet; Firewire 400; HDMI; Kensington Lock; Microphone; Modem; VGA
USB ports allow you to connect many external devices, from MP3 players to external hard drives.
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USB Ports
3
Card readers allow you to plug memory and expansion cards directly into a notebook.
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Card Slots
5-1 card reader; ExpressCard/54
Warranty/SupportOne-year limited/24/7 toll-free phone
Size17.4 x 11.6 x 1.6 inches
Weight8.6 pounds
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