The Satellite Pro R850 is a Windows 7 Professional notebook aimed at business users, and decked out in functional black with a grooved texture running across the lid. That lid itself is thin and feels a little plasticky, but the overall build quality is sturdy, particularly the chunky chrome hinges that open and close the display.
Along with the solid build, Toshiba has also seen fit to put data protection measures on board. Namely, HDD protection. This detects the laptop’s hard disk when the PC is in motion, by moving the disk drive head temporarily into a safe position. Thus, those important company files are less likely to get corrupted by a chance jolt to the hard disk’s platters, should you be unfortunate enough to drop your laptop while wandering about with it switched on.
The disk itself is a reasonable capacity at 500GB in size. Under Windows benchmarking, the hard drive proved itself nippy, and the system pretty fast and responsive on the whole. Toshiba hasn’t stinted on the innards of the R850, providing 6GB of RAM – more than the usual 4GB we’re accustomed to seeing in this type of laptop – along with an Intel Core i5-2410M processor running at 2.3GHz (with the chip’s turbo mode kicking that up to 2.9GHz).
The 15.6in, 1366×768-resolution display is driven by a low-end Radeon HD6450M graphics solution. It’s a somewhat under-powered card, but it’ll certainly handle basic graphics needs with working up a sweat. The screen itself is non-reflective and impressively so – we found we could read text even in the glare of direct sunlight, and we could make out darker websites and dimly lit scenes in videos.
Unfortunately, the one weak point about this laptop’s screen we discovered when we tried to view a presentation: the vertical viewing angle. The horizontal angle is fine, but if your head isn’t in exactly the right position in the vertical plane, colours appear more washed out. It’s not a terrible shortcoming, but it did niggle us somewhat. Particularly as we found that when sat on our lap, the R850′s display had to be tilted back further than we’d like to hit the viewing angle’s narrow vertical sweet spot.
One more positive point worth mentioning when it comes to showing off your PowerPoint or other masterpieces is the notebook’s presentation button. With one touch, you can pipe out a duplicate image of the desktop to a projector (or other screen) hooked up via VGA or high-definition HDMI.
Alomg with the monitor port and HDMI, the R850′s connectivity stretches to a decent enough array of connections, consisting of an Ethernet port, two USB ports, one e-SATA/USB combo and a multi-memory card reader – although there’s sadly only a single USB 3.0 port. There’s a headphone socket.
Rounding off the Satellite Pro R850′s feature list is a webcam with built-in microphone, a DVD Super-Multi drive, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Keyboard and touchpad
Toshiba has provided a full-size tile keyboard with a numeric keypad. The keys are light but clicky, a smooth combination that makes for comfortable typing – although one bugbear is the spacebar. It’s a little too small and occasionally we found ourselves missing a space because it didn’t register our press. We also had to disable tapping on the touchpad, as our palms kept brushing it when typing, sending the cursor periodically skipping around the document.
Still, that was no big deal and easily solved. The touchpad itself is a multi-touch affair which recognises two finger pinch-to-zoom, as well as pan scrolling and pivot rotation. The touchpad buttons are chromed up to match the lid’s hinges.
The laptop lasted five and three quarters of an hour on a full charge, given light to moderate Windows usage and balanced power settings. There’s an ‘eco’ button to extend the battery life, although this throttles back the CPU and dims the screen to achieve its improved mileage.
Toshiba’s Satellite is a well built business notebook with some smart extra features such as hard disk protection and one-touch presentation mode. The machine is well specified, has a reasonable battery life, and the display does a very good line in anti-glare technology (although the vertical viewing angle isn’t too hot). For the price, the R850 represents pretty good value.
Contact: Toshiba on 0844 847 8944
- Non-reflective screen; neat extra touches such as HDD protection.
- Annoyingly narrow vertical viewing angle.