One of the advantages of the dizzying progress of computer technology is that a good deal of power can be bought for very little. The Toshiba Satellite Pro L850-11U might lack the all-round showmanship of Acer’s budget fare, but it’s still a solid laptop.
The Toshiba Satellite Pro L850-11U’s casing is rather more bulbous than that of, for example, the Acer V3-571. But its sober and understated colour scheme, and nicely curved casing and polished lid put it a cut above the typical sub-£500 model. The rough-hewn two-button Synaptics trackpad is vast, but isn’t particularly comfortable to use. Nor is it suitably smooth and responsive.
Most of the keys are of a good size and properly spaced – with the tiny cursor keys being an exceptions. The touch isn’t very satisfactory, with very little depth to the buttons, and we didn’t find our typing as accurate on the keyboard.
The Toshiba Satellite Pro L850-11U’s screen is a substantial 15.6in version. It’s good for a cheap laptop, although the resolution of 1366 × 768 pixels is limited for the size; we would expect more detail from such a large panel.
The matt surface doesn’t pick up reflections, which makes it very comfortable to use. Colour palette is a little lacking in bite and vitality though. The colours aren’t incorrect, but you don’t get the same impression of photo detail that you find on shiny screens. Viewing angles are dire, so you’ll need to be sitting directly in front of the screen for the image to remain clearly viewable.