A Review of the Toshiba Satellite P50T 4K laptop
The Toshiba Satellite P50T may not look flashy and impressive but this mid-sized laptop really delivers some powerful 4K graphics surrounded by an array of generally exquisite specs. The overall result is a laptop that impresses in the first minutes of actual use even if its appearance is rather plain vanilla and very straightforward.
Furthermore, the graphics on the Satellite P50T are nothing short of excellent. The 4K ultra HD display renders beautifully with extremely sharp clarity, excellent color accuracy and the ability to display 4K video, images, and other ultra-high resolution graphics with remarkable clarity and performance.
Thus, in this sense, the 4K performance of the P50T is a definite winner. Additionally, its ability to run HD gaming is absolutely superb. With this laptop, you’ll be able to race your Full HD PC games at full power and with some truly massive frame rates. However, as far as 4K UHD gaming goes, while the Satellite P50T may perform remarkably well for what it is, it doesn’t quite match the needs of really serious 4K gaming. While the AMD Radeon R9 M265X GPU inside the Satellite P50T has plenty of muscle for supporting the 4K display, it doesn’t fully go the distance for 4K gaming at high resolution on that 4K display. However, some lower end games do indeed work reasonably well at mid-level detail settings.
The Satellite P50T comes with a bunch of excellent features included in its rather plain design. For starters, this little powerhouse offers some truly spectacular display features that really captivate the eye for both native 4K UHD graphics and for conventional HD visuals. On a screen of only 15.6 inches, the difference between the two is very, very hard to notice in any case but and given that 8.2 million pixels are being packed into this notebook’s 15.6 inch screen, you won’t see anything but smooth clarity instead of individual pixels no matter how hard you squint at the screen.
Furthermore, in terms of connectivity options, the P50T is well decked out too. Four USB ports take it beyond the more usual 3 found in many 4K laptops and an HDMI port with support for 4K UHD output completes the deal here in taking connections above the usual. There’s also gigabit internet connectivity and Intel WiDi 2.0 integration is available for streaming content from the P50T’s screen to any other WiDi enabled TV or adapter. Basically, connectivity is one of the real strong points of the P50T.
Finally, a robust package of internal hardware specs includes an excellent 1TB hybrid hard drive with SSD storage built in for speedy loading of the laptop’s OS and for high speed performance in general. On top of this, the AMD GPU and Intel i7 CPU run all that 4K resolution and software performance in the P50T very smoothly for the most part, but we’ll cover this in greater detail further down. Additionally, there is a 16GB RAM that’s probably more than enough for almost anything you’d need to do with the P50T.
We should also note that Toshiba has installed several excellent software programs with the units they’re shipping out. These include Microsoft Office 360, Evernote Touch, Amazon Kindle Reader, Netflix and easy Google Drive access.
4.8 - 5 Review
It’s hard to call much of anything about the P50T Satellite “bad”. However, there are a couple of things that slightly stain its overall power. The most glaring thing on the P50T is the really low battery power it offers. Considering how much else Toshiba got so right with this notebook, it’s amazing that they so badly dropped the ball here. Even when used normally, without straining its internal hardware, the P50T can barely pull off just over 3 hours of battery life. While many laptops can’t manage to last as far as 8 hours, we should at least expect a solid 5 hour lifespan from this model at a full charge, at least with light use.
Furthermore, there are a couple of scaling issues with certain older software graphics in the P50T. This isn’t exactly Toshiba’s fault and we can’t blame the laptop for the failings of some software companies in anticipating ultra HD but the matter wouldn’t happen with an HD display and is thus worth mentioning.
Finally, you should bear in mind that if you want real 4K gameplay with fast frame rates, a laptop like this or most other 4K UHD models simply won’t cut the ice on graphics. A full 4K desktop PC running multiple GPUs like the AMD R9 M265X GPU in the Satellite P50T or a single 4K-capable GPU like Nvidia’s Titan and 980 Ti cards or AMD’s Radeon 295X2 is a much more realistic solution for 4K gaming in high detail at more than 45 fps.
Screen size: 15.6 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Included OS: Windows 8.1 Pro
Battery life: variable, depending on processor and GPU usage, nominally 4 hours
Processor: Intel Core Intel Core i7-4700MQ 2.4 GHz quad-core
RAM: 16GB DDR3
Weight: 5.1 lbs
Storage (Hard drive): 1TB Hybrid drive (8GB of SSD storage)
GPU (Video card): AMD Radeon R9 M265X
Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, 4 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x Headphone/ 1 x microphone jack
The 15.6 inch display on the Satellite P50T is absolutely stunning. While maybe not the very best you’ll find on the market, (ASUS Zenbook with Quantum Dot display will definitely give the P50T a run for its money in this department) the screen on the P50T boasts some exquisite pin point clarity simply by virtue of the massive 3840 x 2160 pixels of resolution spread over just over 15 inches of space. This alone means a PPI (pixels per inch) of 282 which puts Apple’s Retina displays (2880 x 1800) and the UHD 3200 X 1800 resolution displays of select other Windows laptops completely to shame.
Furthermore, the viewing angles on the P50T’s screen are excellent, with only a minor and slightly annoying gloss produced by the display’s covering finish. The P50T’s screen also delivers an excellent contrast level combined with some very rich and warm colors overall. Specifically, testing via colorimeter shows that the display on this notebook offers a 98% sRGB color gamut coverage and offers a Delta-E of 3.1, which while a bit higher than that of other 4K laptops we’ve reviewed, is still far below the average of 8 or more --With Delta-E, 0 is the ideal and higher numbers mean inferior performance.
Color temperature can also be adjusted using Toshiba’s Chroma Tune software. There are five settings for this which range from Technicolor, Cool Warm, Rec. 709 and Full. Which one works best for you as a user will depend on preferences, though Cool Warm and Full both offer some nice balances.
Finally, the display on the P50T offers a slightly less than ideal brightness. While it’s certainly not a dim display by any means, its 210 lux of display luminance go well below an industry average of 260 lux.
We should also mention that the P50T offers a 10 point touch screen with excellent responsiveness and solid performance in both Windows 8 and Windows 10 now that it’s available. In fact, this was one of the earlier 4K laptop models to go with touchscreen technology.
The speaker setup in the Satellite P50T is not bad but certainly doesn’t deliver the kind of power we’ve found in other 4K laptops we’ve reviewed here. Specifically, the overall sound quality, while good, is a bit lacking in sharper definition. Thus, the speakers will do a great job of filling a smaller space with clear sound but can lose clarity in larger rooms. Bass is also low. Of course, these are built-in laptop speakers, so asking for too much of them is a bit hard to justify. However, given that they were built by audio experts at Harmon/Kardon, overall sound quality could be more robust than it is. The ASUS Zenbook does a definite better job in this department with its four Bang & Olufsen speakers.
The design of the Satellite P50T is pretty plain vanilla at first glance. This is a perfect laptop for an office setting and certainly doesn’t offer much flash in the way that some gamer-oriented 4K laptops do. However, despite this external simplicity, the P50T is well built.
The brushed aluminum body and rounded corners create a sense of elegant simplicity that manages to surpass what could otherwise be called a boring appearance. The interior of the laptop is silvery and cleanly arranged with plenty of space for resting ones hands and wrists, and the keyboard itself is large enough to be comfortable and includes a touch pad that’s easy to use because it’s also quite large.
On the other hand, the P50T could weigh slightly less than its 5.2 pounds if Toshiba had invested a bit more in economic design and the 1.1 inch thickness of this laptop is a bit on the hefty side.
Most importantly, the brushed aluminum lid and palm rest add a firm feel to this machine that’s often lacking in other laptops with bodies made entirely of plastic. However, the laptop’s underside is made of plastic.
As we’d already said earlier, this is not a 4K laptop in the sense you’d attribute to any 4K gaming PC. Its built-in AMD Radeon R9 M265X GPU is nowhere near robust enough for gaming at 4K resolution in high detail and with high frame rates. However, this GPU does offer a powerful punch when it comes to sustaining regular 4K graphics, videos and things like CAD content on the screen. Furthermore, the AMD R9 GPU in the P50T is indeed built for handling HD gaming of any kind at excellent frame rates. The P50T also includes asecondary and much lighter Intel HD Graphics 4600 GPU for doing much less stressful visual tasks like streaming HD video and displaying sequences of images.
As for the remaining hardware, it also contributes wonderfully to making the P50T’s graphics work well. The Intel 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700HQ quad-core processor and 16GB of DDR3 RAM memory are superb performers for most professional and personal use requirements and the 1TB hybrid storage with its 8GB of SSD drive space is not only roomy enough for plenty of video and other media, it also works much more quickly at loading Windows and running the computer quickly thanks to those extra 8GB of SSD space. TO beef storage up even more in terms of performance, you can now also buy versions of the Satellite P50T with full SSD memories that range in size from 120GB to 960GB, though this latter size causes the price of the P50T to leap up enormously to well over $2200.
Finally, the connectivity and physical ports in the Satellite P50T are just great. The laptop features the latest 801.11ac WiFi capability and also comes with a Gigabit Ethernet port. Furthermore, there are four USB 3.0 slots on the P50T and a single HDMI 1.4 port with somewhat limited (30 frames per second) 4K content output capacity. Finally, this unit also features Bluetooth 4.0 and Intel’s WiDi 2.0 technology for streaming content wirelessly from the screen to any nearby WiDi equipped display device.
The Satellite P50T runs on Windows 8.1 and this is something that does offer a few minor problems to the laptop. Windows 8.1 itself is nicely designed to scale its graphics up to ultra HD resolution levels but unfortunately, a range of third party software solutions that accompany the Windows OS ecosystem often fail to take UHD into account. Thus, as a result, the 4K screen can sometimes leave you glaring at tiny looking menu options and task management toolbars.
Overall, while being an absolutely excellent 4K laptop with some truly superb 4K display quality and color, the Satellite P50T does suffer from low screen brightness, some scaling issues with Windows 8.1 and a really poor battery life, which is its single most glaring flaw. Also, the speakers, while very decent, don’t quite have the kick they could offer for being Harman/Kardon audio pieces on a laptop that costs well above $1,700.
The Toshiba Satellite P50T 4K laptop is currently retailing for $1,799.95 for the 120GB SSD model with 250GB SSD, 500GB SSD and 960GB SSD models available on the same site for $1,899, $2,099 and $2,299 respectively.
4.8 - 5 Review
• Exquisite display quality and color
• Powerful internal processing specs
• Great connectivity and ports
• Solid and accommodating physical design
• Speakers underperform slightly
• Battery life is really bad
• Screen brightness could be better
• Slightly overpriced