Notebookcheck

Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U Notebook Review

Nino Ricchizzi, Tanja Hinum (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 12/29/2014

Beauty isn't everything. Toshiba's Satellite S50-B-12U features a classy aluminum design. The thin, lightweight notebook is available for 700 Euros (~$846), including a dedicated AMD graphics card. But appearance doesn't make the man -- or the notebook -- so is there more hidden within that beautiful exterior? Our review reveals the answer.

For the original German review, see here.

Streamlined and ready to be picked up. Toshiba's S50-B-12U is a 15.6-inch multimedia notebook that boasts of good application performance, even with its thin case and lightweight body. The device's height measures just 2 cm, and it weighs only 2 kg (~4.4 lbs). The performance is generated by an Intel Core i5-4210U, 8 GB of working memory, a 750 GB hard drive, and a dedicated AMD Radeon R7 M260 graphics card. The whole configuration is on the market for about 700 Euros (~$846).

The Toshiba S50 has to fight its way through a swarm of notebooks to be noticed. To position the device relative to its competitors, we'll compare it firstly to the Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E, as the Acer computer is also equipped with an Intel Core i5-4210U. However, rather than an AMD card, the Acer notebook has an Nvidia GeForce 840M at its command, and its Full HD display also has a higher resolution. Like our test device, a further competitor is also manufactured by Toshiba -- the Satellite L50-B-182. The L50-B-182 is outfitted with the same graphics unit as our S50-B-12U, but it has a more potent Intel Core i7-4500U and a high-quality IPS panel. Since its release, the L50's price has fallen below the 800-Euro mark (~$967).

Case

The Toshiba glides onto the scene with a simple, elegant, brushed aluminum look. The display lid is constructed of aluminum, while the rest of the case is made of plastic. The device's texture isn't the only thing that pleases the eyes -- the height of just about 2 cm is also alluring. At a low weight of 2 kg (~4.4 lbs), the 15.6-inch notebook is easy to transport. The display is held in place with two little hinges. The hinges don't appear to be particularly stable, and it doesn't take much to make the display bounce. In terms of manufacturing quality, there aren't any conspicuous problems. Glancing over the computer with the naked eye, we can say that some parts of the case could fit together more perfectly. The removable battery is secured by two screws on the bottom side of the device. Any other maintenance work requires the base plate / base unit to be partially dismantled.

Toshiba chooses an elegant design...
Toshiba chooses an elegant design...
...for their S50 line.
...for their S50 line.
Reflective display and weak hinges.
Reflective display and weak hinges.
Maintenance is difficult with this machine.
Maintenance is difficult with this machine.

Connectivity

Unfortunately, only two of the three USB ports are USB 3.0. Overall, the Satellite S50's range of connections is rather limited. Toshiba also installed an Ethernet port and an HDMI output in their notebook -- and that's it. The positioning of the ports, however, is quite smart. The Ethernet port and one USB connection are located on the left-hand side towards the back, which is a good spot for external devices that will remain plugged in for longer periods. The rest of the ports are situated near the front of the right-hand side, where they can be accessed quickly and easily.

Left: power connection, Ethernet port, 1x USB 2.0
Left: power connection, Ethernet port, 1x USB 2.0
Right: audio combination, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI output, Kensington lock
Right: audio combination, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI output, Kensington lock
Front: SD-card reader
Front: SD-card reader

Communication

To establish connections with wireless networks, Toshiba installed an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 module. In order to simulate a true-to-life scenario, the author of this review recorded the system's average download rate in his personal test setup. In the first test, our Satellite S50 sat one floor above the router. We also ran this test on an Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 (Late 2013) for comparison purposes. The MacBook is outfitted with a Broadcom 802.11 ac module. After a series of automatic downloads, the Toshiba S50's download rate settled at almost 4.6 MB/s. At 7.7 MB/s, the MacBook's throughput was considerably higher. When both devices were relocated to the same floor as the router, the two obtained similar results.

Accessories

Besides a manual and various other brochures, our test device doesn't come accompanied by any accessories. The manufacturer's website doesn't list any special accessories for the notebook either -- just cases and power supplies.

Maintenance

Unfortunately, there are no maintenance hatches on the underside of this device. Even the battery has to be unscrewed. Further access to the inner workings of the S50 series can only be achieved by removing the base plate. The manufacturer doesn't include any instructions here.

Warranty

In Germany, the Satellite S50 comes with a 24-month warranty with pick-up service. Further service and warranty options are available on the Toshiba website. The list includes a data recovery service, a warranty extension to three years, and a “no matter what happens” warranty.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The black chiclet keyboard lacks appeal, unfortunately. The flat keys have short but varying travel lengths. Depending on the section of the keyboard, the click points are slightly different. The space bar is especially problematic here. We almost wonder whether our test device might be defective. Some of the special keys are a little on the narrow side, but this isn't a big problem. Users who expect to type on this device for long periods will be better off connecting an external keyboard. On a positive note, the keyboard possesses a small but full number pad, and the keys are backlit with sufficiently bright light. The lighting is activated when a key is hit and can't be turned on and off with an independent key. The click sound produced by the keys during typing is pleasantly quiet.

Touchpad

The touchpad to the south of the keyboard is amply sized. The slightly roughened surface makes it possible to operate the input device with precision. Even in the corners, the pad's reaction is decent. Multitouch gestures, like scrolling on websites, work fluidly and without delay. The keys integrated into the touchpad are very stiff and have inconsistent travel lengths. The travel length is long near the edges and grows shorter towards the middle.

The keyboard is poorly manufactured and needs improvement.
The keyboard is poorly manufactured and needs improvement.
However, besides the keys, the touchpad is satisfactory.
However, besides the keys, the touchpad is satisfactory.

Display

The display is the port between man and machine. This notebook's model has a resolution of 1366x768 pixels. For a TN panel on a 15.6-inch device, this is a very low resolution. The competitors with Full HD displays have much more to offer here. Instead of a matte panel, Toshiba chose a glossy alternative that should produce better images. The Acer Aspire E5-571G is an interesting matte option, especially because it makes the computer fit for outdoor use. Our test device's average display brightness of 207.7 cd/m² is below average for its class. The Satellite L50, for example, shines at a much brighter 340.2 cd/m².

Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
Radeon R7 M260, 4210U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
Radeon R7 M260, 4500U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
GeForce 840M, 4210U, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
Screen
54%
-30%
Brightness middle
203
323
59%
212
4%
Brightness
208
340
63%
217
4%
Brightness Distribution
88
84
-5%
91
3%
Black Level *
0.41
0.31
24%
1.1
-168%
Contrast
495
1042
111%
193
-61%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
9.93
4
60%
12.4
-25%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
10.84
2.24
79%
13.94
-29%
Gamma
2.24 98%
2.46 89%
3.08 71%
CCT
11605 56%
6353 102%
17672 37%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
38
54
42%
49.2
29%

* ... smaller is better

216
cd/m²
197
cd/m²
199
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
203
cd/m²
203
cd/m²
225
cd/m²
205
cd/m²
201
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 225 cd/m² Average: 207.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 203 cd/m²
Contrast: 495:1 (Black: 0.41 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 9.93 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 10.84 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
38% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.24

At 495:1, the display's contrast lies in the mid-range for multimedia devices. The L50-B offers better contrast. The black value, which is calculated using the contrast value, comes to 0.41 cd/m². This number attests that the display produces black image sequences in a relatively deep black. Once again, the Satellite L50-B surpasses our test device with its black value of 0.31 cd/m².

The CalMAN results show that the grayscale has a visible blue cast. At almost 11, the average DeltaE deviation is quite high. The average deviation for colors isn't any better (DeltaE 10).

Given the results mentioned above, our test device is in no way equipped for those who work with images professionally. The display covers 38% of the AdobeRGB color space and 55% of the sRGB color space.

AdobeRGB color space coverage
AdobeRGB color space coverage
sRGB color space coverage
sRGB color space coverage
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps

The Satellite S50's reflective display surface makes outdoor use difficult. Only in especially shadowy areas is the notebook's display content visible. The display frame is also glossy and generates even more distracting reflections.

The Toshiba...
The Toshiba...
...isn't suited...
...isn't suited...
...for outdoor use.
...for outdoor use.

Toshiba installed an inexpensive TN panel in their device, effectively minimizing the display's viewing angles. Both the colors and the brightness are immensely distorted when the display is tilted or viewed from the side. However, the display opens up to about 140 degrees, which means the notebook can be properly viewed from above while resting on your lap.

Viewing-angle stability
Viewing-angle stability

Performance

The configuration of the Toshiba S50 we have before us is designed for multimedia use. Thanks to its dedicated graphics card, the system offers enough performance for applications with higher hardware demands and even some current games. The Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U is available at present for 700 Euros (~$846).

System information: Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U

Processor

The Toshiba is outfitted with an energy-saving ULV-CPU. The Intel Core i5-4210U processor clocks at between 1.7 and 2.4 GHz (2 cores). In single-core mode, the processor reaches clock rates of up to 2.7 GHz. Intel specifies the TDP at 15 W.

The Cinebench R15 benchmark test reveals how the S50's CPU performs compared to the competition. The Acer lies 10% behind our test device in this discipline, even though the Aspire E5-571G-536E is outfitted with an equivalent CPU. The L50-B, also manufactured by Toshiba, runs on an i7-4500U. Despite the fact that this chip is supposed to offer stronger performance, the L50-B only comes in a hair ahead of our test notebook. The comparisons drawn by these scores are no exception. Cinebench R11.5 records similar results. Our Satellite S50-B has the advantage of sustained operation in turbo mode -- even through several runs of the Cinebench tests.

Our CPU benchmark list lays out further details and comparisons.

In mobile use without connection to a power outlet, the computer is still able to operate in turbo mode. The clock speed, however, levels off at around 2.2 GHz. For this reason, when the notebook is under load in battery mode, slight drops in performance are to be expected. The device scores about 11% fewer points in Cinebench R15 in battery mode.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
101 Points ∼46%
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
102 Points ∼47% +1%
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
116 Points ∼53% +15%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
67 Points ∼31% -34%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
103 Points ∼47% +2%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
240 Points ∼5%
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
215 Points ∼5% -10%
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
248 Points ∼6% +3%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
168 Points ∼4% -30%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
235 Points ∼5% -2%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
1.12 Points ∼46%
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
1.19 Points ∼49% +6%
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
1.29 Points ∼53% +15%
Medion Akoya P6647 (MD98571)
1.31 Points ∼54% +17%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
0.76 Points ∼31% -32%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
1.18 Points ∼48% +5%
Toshiba Satellite Pro C70-B-111
1.12 Points ∼46% 0%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
2.53 Points ∼9%
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
2.38 Points ∼9% -6%
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
2.75 Points ∼10% +9%
Medion Akoya P6647 (MD98571)
3.21 Points ∼12% +27%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
1.81 Points ∼7% -28%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
2.59 Points ∼10% +2%
Toshiba Satellite Pro C70-B-111
2.47 Points ∼9% -2%

Legend

 
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U Intel Core i5-4210U, AMD Radeon R7 M260, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
 
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E Intel Core i5-4210U, NVIDIA GeForce 840M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
 
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182 Intel Core i7-4500U, AMD Radeon R7 M260, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
 
Medion Akoya P6647 (MD98571) Intel Core i5-4200M, NVIDIA GeForce 825M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
 
Asus F555LD-XX243H Intel Core i3-4010U, NVIDIA GeForce 820M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
 
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng Intel Core i5-4210U, NVIDIA GeForce 840M, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
 
Toshiba Satellite Pro C70-B-111 Intel Core i5-4200U, AMD Radeon R7 M260, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.12 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.53 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
41.08 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
101 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
240 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
36.66 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help

System Performance

Subjectively, the computer always runs quickly while running everyday applications. Load times are fairly short, and programs operate without any short pauses for computing. Users who are used to SSDs will certainly have to adjust to the system's longer reaction times. The results from the PCMark benchmark substantiate this subjective impression. All of the devices we are comparing in this article are outfitted with HDDs and the same amount of RAM. In PCMark 7, all four models are more or less on par with each other. The Toshiba L50-B-182 takes the lead by a small margin. Overall, our Satellite does reasonably well. An SSD would definitely improve the performance here. Unfortunately, Toshiba doesn't offer a version with an SSD, and access to the computer's inner workings is too limited for the user to make this upgrade easily.

Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
Radeon R7 M260, 4210U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
GeForce 840M, 4210U, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
Radeon R7 M260, 4500U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
GeForce 840M, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
PCMark 7
Score
2766
2809
2%
2932
6%
2525
-9%
PCMark 8
-16%
-25%
Work Score Accelerated v2
4257
3792
-11%
3252
-24%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
3626
2805
-23%
2628
-28%
Home Score Accelerated v2
3223
2772
-14%
2457
-24%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-7% / -12%
6% / 6%
-17% / -21%
PCMark 7 Score
2766 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3223 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3626 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4257 points
Help

Storage Devices

Toshiba installed a 5400 RPM hard drive with a storage capacity of 750 GB in their S50-B-12U. The drive has plenty of space for storing data, but the benchmark results are less than satisfactory. The speeds recorded by CrystalDiskMark are substantially below average for multimedia notebooks with an HDD. The Acer Aspire E5-571G achieves much better results here.

The benchmark table in our FAQ section provides information for further comparisons.

Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
Radeon R7 M260, 4210U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
GeForce 840M, 4210U, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
Radeon R7 M260, 4500U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
24%
1%
Write 4k QD32
0.83
1.045
26%
0.815
-2%
Read 4k QD32
0.737
0.853
16%
0.693
-6%
Write 4k
0.823
1.036
26%
0.791
-4%
Read 4k
0.377
0.39
3%
0.354
-6%
Write 512
27.3
46.78
71%
33.27
22%
Read 512
30.48
33.38
10%
30.93
1%
Write Seq
85.35
103.7
21%
89.48
5%
Read Seq
89.03
104
17%
89.54
1%
TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Sequential Read: 89.03 MB/s
Sequential Write: 85.35 MB/s
512K Read: 30.48 MB/s
512K Write: 27.3 MB/s
4K Read: 0.377 MB/s
4K Write: 0.823 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 0.737 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 0.83 MB/s

Graphics Cards

A dedicated AMD Radeon R7 M260 graphics card made its way into the new Satellite S50 line. According to GPU-Z, the AMD card runs at a base clock frequency of 600 MHz and increases its speed to up to 940 MHz in turbo mode. This is 40 MHz below the maximum speed specified by the manufacturer. Our test device's sister model, the L50, clocks at equivalent frequencies. In 3DMark 11, the two Toshiba computers attain comparable scores. Thanks to its Nvidia GeForce 840M, the Acer comes in 23% ahead of our test notebook.

As we discussed in the CPU section, the Toshiba can't access its full performance reserves in battery mode. The notebook's score in 3DMark 11 sinks from 1963 points to about 1100 points. The system's graphics switching can't be responsible for this disparity, as the Intel HD Graphics 4400 scores an average of 750 points in this benchmark.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
1922 Points ∼6%
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
2361 Points ∼8% +23%
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
1963 Points ∼6% +2%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
1353 Points ∼4% -30%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
2316 Points ∼7% +20%
Medion Akoya P6647 (MD98571)
1888 Points ∼6% -2%
3DMark
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
4366 Points ∼8%
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
5543 Points ∼10% +27%
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
4404 Points ∼8% +1%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
3942 Points ∼7% -10%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
5477 Points ∼9% +25%
Medion Akoya P6647 (MD98571)
5700 Points ∼10% +31%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
45334 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
40293 Points ∼4% -11%
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
44395 Points ∼4% -2%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
45538 Points ∼4% 0%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
45583 Points ∼4% +1%
Medion Akoya P6647 (MD98571)
65520 Points ∼6% +45%

Legend

 
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U Intel Core i5-4210U, AMD Radeon R7 M260, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
 
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E Intel Core i5-4210U, NVIDIA GeForce 840M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
 
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182 Intel Core i7-4500U, AMD Radeon R7 M260, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
 
Asus F555LD-XX243H Intel Core i3-4010U, NVIDIA GeForce 820M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
 
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng Intel Core i5-4210U, NVIDIA GeForce 840M, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
 
Medion Akoya P6647 (MD98571) Intel Core i5-4200M, NVIDIA GeForce 825M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
3DMark 11 Performance
1922 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
45334 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
4366 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
947 points
Help

Gaming Performance

We test gaming performance as a separate category, as the 3D benchmark results don't necessarily speak perfectly to this subject. Once again, it's interesting to see how the Nvidia GeForce 840M and our test device's AMD Radeon R7 M260 compare.

On the Acer Aspire E5-571G, Grid: Autosport runs without a problem at medium to high quality settings. The weaker AMD Radeon R7 M260 only reaches fluid frame rates of over 30 fps at low quality settings.

The results from the game BioShock Infinite paint a similar picture. The Acer manages to render the game at more fluid frame rates and higher graphics settings. The Toshiba Satellite is more suited for older games. Newer games can only be played at very low quality settings, and even then they may not run fluidly.

Our benchmark list enumerates a variety of games that are well-suited for the AMD Radeon R7 M260.

low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 53.2231.7524.9fps
GRID: Autosport (2014) 78.5426.8fps
Alien: Isolation (2014) 25.717fps
F1 2014 (2014) 3728fps
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) 26.923.4fps

Emissions

System Noise

In idle mode, the S50's fans are practically silent -- only the HDD is audible. However, as soon as the user switches to the Windows high-performance profile, the fans gear up immediately. But even then and under load they rarely make a bothersome amount of noise. Every once in a while the fans generate tones at a higher frequency for a few seconds, but, fortunately, this high-pitched noise fades quickly. Nevertheless, the competition fares better in this discipline. The Acer notebook's maximum noise level is lower than the Toshiba device's minimum noise level under load.

Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
Radeon R7 M260, 4210U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E
GeForce 840M, 4210U, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182
Radeon R7 M260, 4500U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
Noise
8%
-0%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
31.7
31
2%
31.6
-0%
Idle Average *
32.5
31.5
3%
31.7
2%
Idle Maximum *
33.1
31.5
5%
31.7
4%
Load Average *
37.2
32.5
13%
41.7
-12%
Load Maximum *
43.6
36
17%
41.7
4%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
31.7 / 32.5 / 33.1 dB(A)
HDD
31.7 dB(A)
Load
37.2 / 43.6 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test, performed using...
Stress test, performed using...
...Prime 95 and Furmark.
...Prime 95 and Furmark.

The computer's slim construction led us to wonder whether it may have trouble cooling down. Idle mode is wholly unproblematic: The test notebook consistently remains comfortably cool. In our stress test, we run Prime95 and Furmark simultaneously to push the device to its absolute limits. After over an hour, the processor starts to throttle (the base clock rate drops). The Satellite flip-flops constantly between 800 MHz and 2400 MHz. The palm rest and keyboard both warm up, but they never grow hot enough to be bothersome.

Max. Load
 30.4 °C
87 F
38.2 °C
101 F
33.8 °C
93 F
 
 40.3 °C
105 F
36.8 °C
98 F
39.7 °C
103 F
 
 32.2 °C
90 F
35 °C
95 F
33.6 °C
92 F
 
Maximum: 40.3 °C = 105 F
Average: 35.6 °C = 96 F
36 °C
97 F
57.1 °C
135 F
40.3 °C
105 F
54 °C
129 F
54.8 °C
131 F
47.1 °C
117 F
32 °C
90 F
33.7 °C
93 F
31.1 °C
88 F
Maximum: 57.1 °C = 135 F
Average: 42.9 °C = 109 F
Power Supply (max.)  48.3 °C = 119 F | Room Temperature 21.8 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-360
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 35.6 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 30.9 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 40.3 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 57.1 °C / 135 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24.8 °C / 77 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (35 °C / 95 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (-5.9 °C / -10.6 F).

Speakers

A Harman Kardon logo adorns the Toshiba notebook's speaker grilles. For this reason, we had high expectations for these speakers. Unfortunately, the sound they produce leaves something to be desired. The maximum volume is more than sufficient, and mid-tones and high-tones sound reasonably good, but the sound spectrum certainly isn't full. Overall, the two stereo loudspeakers are satisfactory for watching YouTube videos or full-length films, but music lovers will need to connect external devices.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Thanks to its ULV processor, the Satellite's energy consumption rates in idle mode are very low. All the competing devices are more or less on par with each other here. However, at a maximum of 8.4 W, our test device uses the least amount of energy in idle mode. Under load, the computer utilizes much more of its performance capacity, consuming up to 52.1 W in the process. We record this number during our stress test, while Prime95 and Furmark are running simultaneously.

If after using the notebook the user doesn't have time to shut down the system, the computer only consumes 0.1 W in standby mode. The Satellite's power supply is rather small but should provide the device with up to 65 W.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4.5 / 6.7 / 8.4 Watt
Load midlight 40.2 / 52.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

The manufacturer lists a maximum battery runtime of 6.5 h. In order to find out how long the computer runs in different situations and when it reaches that runtime, we test it in various scenarios.

First, we test the computer's maximum battery life using the Battery Eater tool. This idle test runs with the communications modules turned off, the energy-saving profile activated, and the display brightness set to minimum. After a little over eight hours, the Toshiba runs out of steam and shuts off. The Acer Aspire keeps chugging along for almost three hours longer here. This is surely related to the fact that the Toshiba has a 44 Wh battery, whereas the Acer notebook's is 55 Wh.

To test the computer's battery life in practical, everyday use, we simulate surfing over WLAN. In energy-saving mode and with the display brightness set to about 150 cd/m², our test device hums along for 5 h and 6 min -- 1.5 h longer than the Satellite L50 line, and only half-an-hour shorter than the Acer.

Last but not least, we test the notebook's minimum battery life with the help of Battery Eater. In this case, we use the Classic test. With a runtime of almost two hours, the S50 once again falls in between its competitors. The Acer manages to hold out about 20 min longer, while the Toshiba L50 cuts out 8 min earlier.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 10min
WiFi Surfing
5h 06min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 56min

Verdict

Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U
Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U

The Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U's hardware characterizes it as a multimedia notebook. In our first round of tests we determined that the notebook's hinges and keyboard are faulty. Like the display itself, the display frame is reflective and makes outdoor use difficult. We do, however, very much like the thin and classy design. At a weight of just 2 kg (~4.4 lbs), for a notebook this size, it is exceptionally easy to transport. The computer's processing power and graphics performance do it credit. Also, as long as the system isn't under heavy load, the fans are pleasantly quiet -- but as a result, the computer's temperatures are somewhat high. To be fair, this isn't much of a problem when the Satellite sits on a desk, as the hotspots are only on the underside of the device. The Acer Aspire E5-571G-536E performed better in this area. The Satellite in turn achieved solid results in our battery life tests, though the Aspire surpassed it in this discipline as well.

The bottom line: If you're looking for a thin, lightweight, 15.6-inch multimedia device and aren't concerned about the keyboard quality, the Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U is a good option. Nevertheless, the competitors we have discussed in this review are interesting alternatives. If you're a gamer at heart, the Acer or other devices with stronger GPUs are more likely to be up your alley. To explore more multimedia notebooks in this price range, see our current list of the Top 10 Multimedia Notebooks.

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In review: Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U. Test model courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de
In review: Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U. Test model courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de

Specifications

Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U (Satellite S50 Series)
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon R7 M260 - 2048 MB, Core: 940 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, atiumdag 13.351.1001.0 / Win8.1 64
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR3-1600, Single-channel, 2 memory banks (1 occupied)
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366 x 768 pixel, LG LP156WH3-TLS2, TN, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
Storage
TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075, 750 GB 
, 5400 rpm, 5400 RPM
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Audio combo, Card Reader: SD, Sensors: Brightness sensor
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19.9 x 380 x 262 ( = 0.78 x 14.96 x 10.31 in)
Battery
44 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: Harman/Kardon stereo speakers, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.004 kg ( = 70.69 oz / 4.42 pounds), Power Supply: 325 g ( = 11.46 oz / 0.72 pounds)
Price
700 Euro

 

A sleek...
A sleek...
...and classy design...
...and classy design...
...meets the eye when you see...
...meets the eye when you see...
...the Toshiba S50-B-12U.
...the Toshiba S50-B-12U.
Thin and light.
Thin and light.
Aluminum backing.
Aluminum backing.
The rest is constructed out of plastic.
The rest is constructed out of plastic.
The display and its frame are unpleasantly reflective.
The display and its frame are unpleasantly reflective.
Opens to a maximum of 140 degrees.
Opens to a maximum of 140 degrees.
...the display bounces easily.
...the display bounces easily.
The keyboard is backlit.
The keyboard is backlit.
Pretty -- the power button lights up too.
Pretty -- the power button lights up too.
The sound generated by the Harman/Kardon speakers is disappointing.
The sound generated by the Harman/Kardon speakers is disappointing.
Closed, the display sits with its protruding frame touching the base...
Closed, the display sits with its protruding frame touching the base...
...which isn't an especially stable design.
...which isn't an especially stable design.
The 15.6-inch device has space for a number pad.
The 15.6-inch device has space for a number pad.
Maintenance options are limited.
Maintenance options are limited.

Similar Devices

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

HP Pavilion 15-p151ng Notebook Review
Radeon R7 M260, A-Series A10-5745M
Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182 Notebook Review
Radeon R7 M260, Core i7 4500U

Devices with the same GPU

HP Pavilion 17-f130ng Notebook Review Update
Radeon R7 M260, A-Series A10-5745M, 17.3", 2.9 kg
Toshiba Satellite Pro C70-B-111 Notebook Review
Radeon R7 M260, Core i5 4200U, 17.3", 2.7 kg

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

Toshiba Satellite C70-C-1FT Notebook Review
GeForce 930M, Core i5 6200U, 17.3", 3.56 kg
Toshiba Satellite L50-C-275 Notebook Review
GeForce 930M, Core i5 6200U, 15.6", 2.1 kg

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Price Comparison

Pros

+Fans make no noise in idle mode
+Elegant and thin design
+Low weight
 

Cons

-Bouncy display
-Reflective display frame
-Heats up under load
-Bad keyboard

Shortcut

What we like

The classy design and the 15.6-inch notebook's low weight. The speakers reach a good volume for watching movies or TV series.

What we'd like to see

A better support system for the display and a decent keyboard.

The competition

If you're looking for a computer with hardware like the Toshiba's and have a little more money to play with, we recommend taking a look at the Toshiba Satellite L50-B-182. It has an IPS panel and an Intel Core i7 processor. The Acer Aspire E5-571G-536 costs the same but offers better graphics performance.

Rating

Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U - 12/17/2014 v4(old)
Nino Ricchizzi

Chassis
69 / 98 → 70%
Keyboard
56%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
58 / 81 → 72%
Weight
63 / 20-67 → 91%
Battery
87%
Display
70%
Games Performance
75 / 85 → 88%
Application Performance
76 / 92 → 83%
Temperature
85%
Noise
85 / 95 → 89%
Audio
60%
Camera
45 / 85 → 53%
Average
70%
75%
Multimedia - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Toshiba Satellite S50-B-12U Notebook Review
Nino Ricchizzi, 2014-12-29 (Update: 2018-05-15)