If you can’t afford one of the latest slim and light 13.3in ultraportables, such as Toshiba’s own Portege R830, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 or Samsung’s Series 9 notebook, then the Satellite L750 is the next best thing. It costs $999, looks good, has a weight of around 1.9kg and it comes with a built-in DVD burner. Most importantly, it can supply good performance thanks to the inclusion of a Second Generation Intel Core i5 CPU.
The L750 can be considered a good all-rounder that will suit students, office workers and home users who want something with good speed and mobility, and decent user comfort and toshiba laptop battery life. It’s not perfect; for example, we think its touchpad is sometimes way too sticky to use comfortably, it has a noisy hard drive, its glossy screen can be annoying, and it takes over an hour to set up once you’ve taken it out of its box. But overall, there is more to like than dislike.
Specifications and performance
It feels well made, has a nice white patterned finish, and it comes with good connectivity and specifications. An Intel Core i5-2410M CPU is in the engine room and it’s accompanied by 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM and a 640GB, 5400rpm hard drive. It recorded expected times of 44sec and 54sec in our Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tests — these are on par with what we’ve seen from other 2410M-equipped notebook’s we’ve seen such as the MSI CR640.
Graphics are handled by the integrated Intel HD 3000 adapter in the Core i5 CPU, which recorded a score of 3642 in 3DMark06. It can process Full HD graphics without any problems, which means you can easily plug the L750 into your TV via HDMI to watch downloaded video content; it’s also capable of running some games, such as StarCraft 2.
The hard drive, which is a Toshiba MK6476GSXN model, makes a ticking noise that can be annoying. It performed well in our tests though, recording a transfer rate of 27.89 megabytes per second when we copied 2.12GB worth of 2-50MB files from one location on the drive to another. It also has shock protection, which is a little sensitive at first as it kicks in to stop the drive at the slightest movement, but this sensitivity can be adjusted in the Toshiba HDD Protection software utility that’s provided.
Overall, we’re happy with the performance of the Satellite L750 and think it will have no problems dealing with everyday office work and even the demands of busy students.
The keyboard has smoothly-finished, full-sized keys that feel soft and possess good travel. They feel a lot nicer to hit than the keys on the Portege R830, with the exception of the arrow keys, which feel a little too resistive. However, the Portege has the better touchpad. The multi-touch, gesture-supporting Touchpad on the Satellite L750 has a texture that sometimes feels like it has too much grip, making it less than a joy to use. It’s designed to blend in with the palm rest and it can only be distinguished from the palm rest when you run your finger over it. We’d much prefer it to have a softer and smoother surface. We also don’t like the placement of the left- and right-click buttons on the edge of the base, as they are too easy to inadvertently press.
The notebook has an air vent and a fan on its right side, which extracts all the warm air that’s generated by the Core i5 CPU, RAM and hard drive. Even so, the notebook does get slightly warm. It might feel a little uncomfortable if used in your lap for a long period of time and the palmrest will also get slightly warm.
The 13.3in screen has a native resolution of 1366×768 and a glossy finish. It’s susceptible to reflections, which can be annoying, especially because changing the tilt of the screen to get rid of the reflections can cause the picture to look too pale.
Features and battery life
Around the edges, you get plenty of useful features. A DVD burner is built in to the left side and it sits next to two USB 2.0 ports; the right side has a USB 3.0 port, which offers very quick file transfers to and from external USB 3.0 drives (especially for photos and MP3s); it also has HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, and microphone and headphone ports. You also get a webcam, Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi (it’s an Atheros AR9002WB-1NG adapter, which is the same adapter that’s in the much more expensive ASUS N73SV desktop replacement notebook).
There are speakers located above the keyboard and they have a nice silver trim. They are adequate for a small laptop, but if you want good, loud sound you’ll still have to plug in a pair of decent, amplified speakers. The only thing we don’t like about the layout is the location of the SD card reader on the left side under the USB 2.0 ports. It’s an inconvenient location that’s hard to access without turning and lifting the notebook first.
Like most Toshiba laptops, the L750 has USB ports that support Sleep-and Charge, which can be used to charge USB-based gadgets (such as the iPhone) even when the laptop is switched off. It comes in handy while travelling as you can leave the notebook in your bag while you charge your phone. You have to make sure the laptop’s battery is charged in the fist place though.
A 6-cell, 48 Watt-hour battery sits in the laptop’s spine. This lasted 3hr 10min in our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise the screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video. We wish it lasted a little longer, but it’s not a terrible result at all. You can get a lot more life out of it if you tone down the brightness and only use the laptop for light Web browsing and word processing, for example. You could also make use of Toshiba’s Eco mode to prolong its life even further.
With good looks, a compact and relatively light design, in addition to a good array of features, the $999 Toshiba Satellite L750 represents good value for money. We think it would be a good choice for a home user, student or even an office worker who wants something small, affordable and good looking.