Notebookcheck

Toshiba Tecra A50-C Notebook Review

Quiet demeanor. Toshiba has refreshed its affordable Tecra A50 lineup with the thinner and sleeker A50-C series. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has a long way to go to catch up to the likes of Dell, HP, or Lenovo in the business space.

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The 2015 Tecra A50-C was announced late July with promises of core business features at an affordable price. Higher-end ThinkPad, Portege, and EliteBook model can easily be over $1000 USD while the Tecra A50-C starts at just $729.

Our test model today is the lowest-end configuration with a ULV Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM, and a 500 GB HDD. While we liked the 2013 Tecra A50-A, we found it to be a bit slow with very noticeable coil noise. Let's see if the 2015 Tecra A50 fixes any of these issues and if it can compete with other costlier 15.6-inch business notebooks.

Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10 (Tecra A50 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 5500, Core: 900 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz, 10.18.15.4268
Memory
8192 MB 
, 800 MHz, 11-11-11-28, Single-Channel
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366 x 768 pixel, TN LED, Name: LG Display LP156WHB-TPB1, ID: LG0460, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Broadwell-U PCH-LP (Premium)
Storage
Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630, 500 GB 
, 7200 rpm
Soundcard
Intel Broadwell PCH-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, Card Reader: SD reader
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I218-V (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0 + LE
Optical drive
TSSTcorp CDDVDW SU-208GB
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 23.95 x 379 x 258 ( = 0.94 x 14.92 x 10.16 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 4-Zellen
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 2.0 MP w/ built-in stereo microphone and FHD recording
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo w/ DTS Sound , Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Warranty card, McAfee Internet Security, Toshiba Service Station, Synaptics, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.1 kg ( = 74.08 oz / 4.63 pounds), Power Supply: 182 g ( = 6.42 oz / 0.4 pounds)
Price
700 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Unlike more and more notebooks these days, the Tecra A50-C is recognizable right from the get-go. The signature grooved surfaces from the 2013 Tecra A50 make a return and it's uncommon for a notebook to have such glossy edges. This time, however, the grooves are smaller and smoother with reflections similar to brushed aluminum without the excessive glare. The texture itself is smooth in one direction and rougher in the perpendicular direction. The Tecra's unique combination of glossy and matte make for an intriguing impression.

In terms of quality, the base holds up quite well against twists and depressions despite the all-plastic chassis. It is, after all, advertised to hold up against heat, shock, and vibration. Pushing down on the keyboard and palm rests only results in minimal warping. The weakest area is the surface directly above the removable disk drive, though this is common for most other notebooks with an optical drive as well. The display exhibits above average resistance to twists due to its thick bezel and edges. Unfortunately, the outer lid is very easy to depress and feels like it belongs on a budget consumer notebook. Slight creaking can even be heard when pushing down on the center. Lastly, the gray hinges are strong enough to prevent wobbling when typing up to its maximum angle of about 160 degrees. The initial wobbling of the display still occurs when opening the lid.

The new Tecra isn't aiming to win any design awards and is about the same size as other 15-inch business notebooks including the ThinkPad T550 and TravelMate P255. It also weighs about the same as the TravelMate at about 2.1 kg, though the ThinkPad is heavier due to its wider range of features and superior build.

Connectivity

Available interfaces include the standard SD reader, USB ports, and the all-important VGA-out for conferences and classrooms. While our test model does not include it, Smart Card is an optional configuration.

There are no ports on the rear or front of the notebook, so the left and right edges can feel quite crowded. Furthermore, the ports are all positioned close to the front where cables are more likely to become an annoyance. On the bright side, this also means that they are easily accessible.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: SDXC reader, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI-out, VGA-out, AC adapterRight: SDXC reader, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI-out, VGA-out, AC adapter
Right: SDXC reader, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI-out, VGA-out, AC adapter
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Left: Kensington Lock, Gigabit RJ-45, Removable optical drive, 2x USB 2.0, 3.5 mm audio
Left: Kensington Lock, Gigabit RJ-45, Removable optical drive, 2x USB 2.0, 3.5 mm audio

Communication

WLAN is provided by an Intel Wireless-AC 3165 in a M.2 1215 form factor. The module supports theoretical transfer rates of up to 867 Mbps with integrated Bluetooth 4.0 and WiDi. We experienced no connectivity or dropout issues during our time with the notebook.

Toshiba includes no WWAN or SIM options for the Tecra A50-C. We recommend checking out the Portege series if such connectivity features are vital.

Security

Like Smart Card, the fingerprint reader is also optional for this particular Tecra model. Intel TPM 1.2 as well as EasyGuard are standard across all configurations for HDD protection against accidental drops and bumps.

Accessories

The Tecra A50 series now includes the same docking port as the higher-end Portege series. This means the notebook can share the same accessories between families for improved versatility. Toshiba offers dedicated port replicators and docking stations for its notebooks.

Users will only get a warranty card out-of-the-box. A caddy for the optical drive would have been a nice extra for those who would rather keep the slot empty to reduce weight.

Maintenance

The motherboard is accessible with just an ordinary Philips screwdriver. Our only complaint is that there is an excessive amount of screws (25!) that must be removed before the bottom panel can come off.

A spot for the optional Nvidia discrete GPU can be seen underneath the length of the single heat pipe.

Warranty

Standard limited warranty is a full three years from date of purchase, which is two years longer than most consumer notebooks and one year longer than most other business notebooks. Coverage for the battery is still only one year. The Toshiba SelectServ Program allows owners to extend the warranty even longer with more options.

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Input Devices

Keyboard

Compared to the 2013 Tecra A50-A, the A50-C includes a number of small changes to the layout of its spill-resistant Chiclet keyboard. The F keys are now evenly spaced and the FN and Ctrl keys are now smaller in order to make room for a longer Space bar. These are definite improvements that should make the keyboard feel more familiar to new users. Unfortunately, Toshiba has removed the AccuPoint that is a staple on most other business notebooks and has even cut the keyboard backlight.

The keys themselves are very quiet when typing, but are quite flat and can be easy to miss with short travel. Feedback is also a bit on the weak side and could have been more firm. Compared to an AccuType keyboard, we prefer the Lenovo solution for its deeper travel and more satisfying feedback.

Touchpad

The removal of the AccuPoint has also elicited a redesign of the touchpad. The dedicated mouse keys are now on the bottom and the edges that separate the touchpad from the palm rests are now more defined. Unfortunately, the touchpad is a bit small at just 9.2 x 5.2 cm. Toshiba could have certainly utilized the dead space between the Space bar and touchpad for additional surface area.

As for functionality, we experienced no cursor jitters or other unusual behavior during use. Multi-touch features like pinch-to-zoom and scrolling work without major delays, but the small surface area available makes such actions needlessly more difficult. The Synaptics V7.5 software is able to recognize up to three fingers simultaneously. Unfortunately, there appears to be no option to automatically disable the touchpad when typing.

The mouse keys are surprisingly responsive and comfortable to use compared to the keyboard and touchpad. Travel is short, but feedback is very firm with a satisfying auditory click when pressed.

Display

Our test model is equipped with a 1366 x 768 resolution display, though Toshiba can also configure up to 1080p. In either case, the displays will be matte with no touchscreen options. A quick search for our LP156WHB-TPB1 panel name shows that similar panels can also be found on the Satellite C55D and Fujitsu Lifebook A555. In both these cases, however, we found display quality to be very disappointing.

The same can unfortunately be said for our Tecra A50-C. While there is minimal backlight bleeding, colors are very inaccurate and text appears grainy due to the low native resolution. Brightness is also on the low side at just under 200 nits compared to the competition. Contrast is below average, which only accentuates the poor picture quality.

218.6
cd/m²
188.7
cd/m²
187.2
cd/m²
219.5
cd/m²
194.1
cd/m²
180
cd/m²
220.4
cd/m²
188.8
cd/m²
182.7
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 220.4 cd/m² Average: 197.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 194.1 cd/m²
Contrast: 360:1 (Black: 0.539 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.35 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 6.88 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
59.5% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 37.9% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.11
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10HP Envy 15-ae020ngToshiba Satellite C55D-C-10P Carrizo-LDell Inspiron 15-5558MSI PX60 QD-034USLenovo ThinkPad T550Acer TravelMate P255-M-54204G50Mnss
Screen
-6%
10%
25%
55%
1%
-12%
Brightness middle
194.1
240
24%
216
11%
177
-9%
300.9
55%
297
53%
186
-4%
Brightness
198
226
14%
220
11%
176
-11%
285
44%
287
45%
169
-15%
Brightness Distribution
82
88
7%
85
4%
78
-5%
86
5%
83
1%
85
4%
Black Level *
0.539
0.48
11%
0.28
48%
0.15
72%
0.431
20%
0.9
-67%
0.7
-30%
Contrast
360
500
39%
771
114%
1180
228%
698
94%
330
-8%
266
-26%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.35
12.14
-65%
10.46
-42%
8.52
-16%
1.79
76%
8.74
-19%
7
5%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.88
12.74
-85%
11.5
-67%
9.72
-41%
2.19
68%
9.31
-35%
8.1
-18%
Gamma
2.11 104%
2.49 88%
2.29 96%
1.85 119%
2.29 96%
2.42 91%
2.27 97%
CCT
8885 73%
15295 42%
12724 51%
5036 129%
6724 97%
10649 61%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
37.9
38
0%
40
6%
39
3%
63.1
66%
50.8
34%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
59.5
59
-1%
62
4%
61
3%
97.8
64%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
3.96

* ... smaller is better

Color space coverage is about 38 percent and 60 percent of AdobeRGB and sRGB standards, respectively. These are typical numbers for budget TN panels found on more inexpensive notebooks. The Tecra A50 is certainly not built for professional graphics work.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. HP Envy 15 2015
vs. HP Envy 15 2015
vs. Dell Inspiron 15-5558
vs. Dell Inspiron 15-5558

Further color analyses with an X-Rite spectrophotometer reveal very inaccurate colors and grayscale. RGB balance is especially off, so colors appear unnatural and shallow at first glance. Thankfully, a quick calibration improves picture quality dramatically. Colors still become less accurate at higher saturation levels due to the imperfect sRGB coverage of the panel, but we highly recommend a calibration if possible.

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration

Outdoor usability is generally poor. The matte panel certainly helps in reducing glare, but it is just not enough to overcome both the dim backlight and limited viewing angles of the TN panel. The Tecra A50 is more of an indoor notebook for these reasons.

Viewing angles are inferior to increasingly common IPS panels. This is insignificant for the sole business user, though it can make sharing the display with others nearby more difficult.

Display under shade
Display under shade
Display under direct sunlight
Display under direct sunlight
Limited TN viewing angles
Limited TN viewing angles

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz for a single core
Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz for a single core

Core configuration options include a 2.2 GHz i5-5200U or a 2.4 GHz i7-5500U plus an integrated Intel HD 5500 or dedicated GeForce 930M GPU. Our particular test model is the lower-end configuration with the dual-core i5-5200U and integrated graphics. The CPU is wholly capable of operating up to 2.7 GHz according to HWiNFO and will idle at 800 MHz if on Power Saver mode. The GPU core is always operating at its base 900 MHz speed even if idling on Power Saver mode according to GPU-Z.

RAM is expandable up to 16 GB via the two SODIMM slots provided. Our unit uses one 8 GB module from Samsung in single-channel mode.

LatencyMon shows recurring spikes even when the system is on Airplane mode. This is likely due to the built-in McAfee protection software, Toshiba Service Station, or the Toshiba Eco Utility that all automatically run in the background upon startup.

 

Processor

Though it may be a Broadwell core, the ULV i5-5200U performs very similarly to the ULV Haswell core it replaces in terms of raw performance. CineBench R15, for example, shows a boost of only a few percentage points compared to the i5-4300U and i5-4200U. Single-threaded performance can be even slower on our Tecra A50 due to higher Turbo Boost rates for the outgoing generation of Core i5 and i7 CPUs. The results are unsurprising as the benefits of Broadwell lie mostly in its lower heat output and more powerful integrated GPU.

CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6663 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
10360 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5506 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6231
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
6550
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4168
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
20.02 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.83 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.03 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
25.94 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
257 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
91 Points
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
91 Points ∼42%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
171 Points ∼78% +88%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
123 Points ∼56% +35%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
108 Points ∼50% +19%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
99 Points ∼45% +9%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
257 Points ∼6%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
873 Points ∼20% +240%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
271 Points ∼6% +5%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
252 Points ∼6% -2%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
223 Points ∼5% -13%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
1.03 Points ∼42%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
2.07 Points ∼85% +101%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
1.43 Points ∼59% +39%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
1.23 Points ∼50% +19%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
1.14 Points ∼47% +11%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
2.83 Points ∼10%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
9.4 Points ∼35% +232%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
2.88 Points ∼11% +2%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
2.78 Points ∼10% -2%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
2.49 Points ∼9% -12%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
5506 Points ∼53%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
8911 Points ∼87% +62%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
6142 Points ∼60% +12%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
5331 Points ∼52% -3%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
4951 Points ∼48% -10%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
10360 Points ∼14%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
33974 Points ∼45% +228%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
11673 Points ∼15% +13%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
11204 Points ∼15% +8%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
9835 Points ∼13% -5%
Rendering Single 32Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
4168 Points ∼38%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
6756 Points ∼62% +62%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
4642 Points ∼43% +11%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
4083 Points ∼38% -2%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
3725 Points ∼34% -11%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
6550 Points ∼13%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
25835 Points ∼52% +294%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
9072 Points ∼18% +39%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
8601 Points ∼17% +31%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
7580 Points ∼15% +16%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
818.369 Seconds * ∼4%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
437 Seconds * ∼2% +47%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
653.298 Seconds * ∼3% +20%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
665 Seconds * ∼3% +19%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
849 Seconds * ∼4% -4%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
567.765 s * ∼7%
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme
174.76 s * ∼2% +69%
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA
549.012 s * ∼6% +3%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
590.2 s * ∼7% -4%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
790 s * ∼9% -39%

Legend

 
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10 Intel Core i5-5200U, Intel HD Graphics 5500, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Eurocom P5 Pro Extreme Intel Core i7-4790K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF (RAID 0)
 
HP ProBook 470 G2 K9W25EA Intel Core i7-5500U, AMD Radeon R5 M255, Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB
 
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme Intel Core i5-4300U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Liteon IT LCS-256L9S-11
 
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614 Intel Core i5-4200U, NVIDIA GeForce 820M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

PCMark 7 ranks our Tecra A50-C alongside older notebooks like the HP Folio 13 and Fujitsu Lifebook UH572. The primary HDD is partly to blame as more modern notebooks typically come with primary SSDs instead. Our Fujitsu Lifebook A555, for example, is equipped with the same i5-5200U CPU and integrated HD 5500 GPU, but scores 4147 points in PCMark 7 compared to just 2956 points on our Toshiba.

Subjectively, applications, startups, and installations take noticeably longer than usual to launch compared to SSD-based systems. Otherwise, we experienced no major issues during our time with the notebook. Pop-ups from the pre-installed McAfee Virus Protection software can certainly give a headache unless if taken care of from its Settings menu.

PCMark 7
PCMark 7
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 7 Score
2956 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2909 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3261 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3860 points
Help

Storage Device

HDD replacement is easy after disconnecting the inconveniently placed ribbon.
HDD replacement is easy after disconnecting the inconveniently placed ribbon.

A single 2.5-inch SATA III bay is provided with no mSATA or M.2 secondary options. The optical drive can be easily swapped for a second 2.5-inch drive instead, though this will be limited to SATA I speeds and will require an optional caddy.

Our test model is installed with a 500 GB HGST Travelstar Z7K500 HDD. Average transfer rate according to HD Tune is good for a 7200 RPM drive at just over 102 MB/s. This is faster than the 500 GB Toshiba MQ01ABD100 5400 RPM HDD in our Inspiron 15-5558, which scored just above 83 MB/s on the same benchmark. We recommend an SSD configuration for faster system performance and a secondary HDD if storage is a concern.

HD Tune
HD Tune
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
Transfer Rate Minimum: 65.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 131.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 102.6 MB/s
Access Time: 15.9 ms
Burst Rate: 181.8 MB/s
CPU Usage: 4.2 %

GPU Performance

The integrated HD 5500 GPU in our Tecra is about 20 to 30 percent faster than the outgoing HD 4400 and HD 4600 according to most 3DMark benchmarks. The advantages are smaller when running Cloud Gate, though the notebook still outranks the integrated Radeon R5 and R6 Kaveri GPUs almost consistently.

These are still budget integrated graphics, so most modern 3D games are largely unplayable unless if on the lowest settings. Less intensive titles like Starcraft II run satisfactorily on the native 768p resolution.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Fire Strike
low med. high ultra
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) 127.636.221.3fps
Metal Gear Solid V (2015) 27.818.9fps
3DMark 11 Performance
1189 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
42973 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
4474 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
619 points
Help
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
979 Points ∼5%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
897 Points ∼5% -8%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
841 Points ∼5% -14%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
916 Points ∼5% -6%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
698 Points ∼4% -29%
1280x720 Performance Physics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
3300 Points ∼18%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
2075 Points ∼11% -37%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
1754 Points ∼9% -47%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
3287 Points ∼18% 0%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
3669 Points ∼20% +11%
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
1082 Points ∼2%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
1140 Points ∼2% +5%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
901 Points ∼2% -17%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
831 Points ∼2% -23%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
744 Points ∼1% -31%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
1189 Points ∼4%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
1188 Points ∼4% 0%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
964 Points ∼3% -19%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
945 Points ∼3% -21%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
838 Points ∼3% -30%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Combined (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
229 Points ∼2%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
206 Points ∼2% -10%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
202 Points ∼2% -12%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
210 Points ∼2% -8%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
4119 Points ∼15%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
2254 Points ∼8% -45%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
1672 Points ∼6% -59%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
4139 Points ∼15% 0%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
657 Points ∼2%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
638 Points ∼2% -3%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
572 Points ∼1% -13%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
716 Points ∼2% +9%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
619 Points ∼2%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
578 Points ∼2% -7%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
527 Points ∼2% -15%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
641 Points ∼2% +4%
1280x720 Sky Diver Physics (sort by value)
HP Elitebook 745 G2
2553 Points ∼9%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
1812 Points ∼6%
1280x720 Sky Diver Graphics (sort by value)
HP Elitebook 745 G2
2426 Points ∼2%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
2044 Points ∼2%
1280x720 Sky Diver Score (sort by value)
HP Elitebook 745 G2
2446 Points ∼4%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
2010 Points ∼3%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
2783 Points ∼7%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
1613 Points ∼4% -42%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
1176 Points ∼3% -58%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
2918 Points ∼7% +5%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
3114 Points ∼8% +12%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
5415 Points ∼3%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
4350 Points ∼2% -20%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
3959 Points ∼2% -27%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
5861 Points ∼3% +8%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
4983 Points ∼3% -8%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
4474 Points ∼8%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
3158 Points ∼5% -29%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
2594 Points ∼4% -42%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
4787 Points ∼8% +7%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
4396 Points ∼8% -2%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
36392 Points ∼42%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
58289 Points ∼11%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
51414 Points ∼22%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
30952 Points ∼37%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
31550 Points ∼4%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
31415 Points ∼15%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
30747 Points ∼20%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
19136 Points ∼12% -38%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
11791 Points ∼8% -62%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
32595 Points ∼21% +6%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
30540 Points ∼20% -1%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
48482 Points ∼6%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
40312 Points ∼5% -17%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
36559 Points ∼5% -25%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
36021 Points ∼5% -26%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
35603 Points ∼5% -27%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
42973 Points ∼4%
HP Elitebook 745 G2
32355 Points ∼3% -25%
Lenovo Thinkpad E555
24924 Points ∼2% -42%
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
35198 Points ∼3% -18%
Fujitsu Lifebook E544
34337 Points ∼3% -20%

Legend

 
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10 Intel Core i5-5200U, Intel HD Graphics 5500, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
HP Elitebook 745 G2 AMD A10 Pro-7350B, AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri), Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Lenovo Thinkpad E555 AMD A8-7100, AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri), Seagate ST500LM021-1KJ15
 
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K Intel Core i7-4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
 
Fujitsu Lifebook E544 Intel Core i5-4210M, Intel HD Graphics 4600, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive

Stress Test

The Tecra A50-C performs generally well when under stressful conditions. The GPU in particular will never drop below 800 MHz when connected to mains, though the CPU eventually throttles to the 1.6 - 1.7 GHz range after a minute or so of being subjected to both Prime95 and FurMark. The throttling occurs when core temperature reaches the low-to-mid 70 C range.

Unigine Heaven stress is more representative of demanding daily loads. Here the CPU is able to maintain a 2.6 - 2.7 GHz clock rate for the first few minutes before throttling causes Turbo Boost to occur less frequently. GPU performance in unaffected.

Turbo Boost is slightly less frequent when running on battery power, but users will hardly see the difference when gaming or otherwise. A 3DMark 11 run on batteries returns Physics and Graphics scores of 1056 and 3170 points, respectively, compared to 1082 and 3300 points on mains.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Maximum stress
Maximum stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Stable Clock Rates and Temperatures Under Stress
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Maximum Core Temperature (C)
Prime95 Stress 2.5 -- 65 - 70
FurMark Stress -- 800 - 850 65 - 70
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 1.6 - 1.7 800 65 - 70
Unigine Heaven Stress 1.7 - 2.7 900 70 - 73
Battery Power 1.7 - 2.7 700 - 900 65 - 70

Emissions

System Noise

The cooling system consists of a single 40 mm fan and a short heat pipe over the CPU and optional GPU. The fan is always active no matter the system setting and is audible under quiet ambient conditions. At its low 32 - 33 dB(A) range, the notebook is not loud enough to be distracting when browsing or word processing.

Perhaps more interestingly, fan noise when under high loads is still very quiet at just under 33 dB(A), which is unheard of for a notebook. This is compared to 40 dB(A) or higher on most Ultrabooks. We commend Toshiba for designing a notebook with very low fan noise without imposing heavy throttling limits to curb temperature development.

Nonetheless, we cannot guarantee the same fan behavior if the system is configured with a dedicated Nvidia GPU and faster Core i7 CPU. It's likely that the low fan noise ceiling will be lifted to the more typical 38 - 40 dB(A) range to compensate for the increased heat production.

Noise Level

Idle
32.2 / 32.3 / 32.5 dB(A)
DVD
35.8 / dB(A)
Load
32.9 / 32.9 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Surface temperatures are low when the system is idling with no obvious hot spots. The right palm rest is a bit warmer than the left by a few degrees due to the HDD immediately underneath. Otherwise, no one quadrant is exceptionally warmer than the other under these conditions.

When under high loads for extended periods, surfaces closest to the fan and heat pipe warm up considerably. However, temperature development is noticeably isolated due to the small cooling system, so the temperature gradient is quite steep. The NumPad becomes noticeably warmer than the QWERTY keys as result. In general, the Tecra A50-C runs cooler than the Aspire V3-574G, but warmer than the Inspiron 15-5558 under stressful conditions.

Max. Load
 27 °C
81 F
34.4 °C
94 F
37.8 °C
100 F
 
 25.2 °C
77 F
32.2 °C
90 F
35.2 °C
95 F
 
 23.8 °C
75 F
24.2 °C
76 F
27.8 °C
82 F
 
Maximum: 37.8 °C = 100 F
Average: 29.7 °C = 85 F
45.2 °C
113 F
39 °C
102 F
26 °C
79 F
30.8 °C
87 F
30.2 °C
86 F
25.4 °C
78 F
29 °C
84 F
25 °C
77 F
24.2 °C
76 F
Maximum: 45.2 °C = 113 F
Average: 30.5 °C = 87 F
Power Supply (max.)  46 °C = 115 F | Room Temperature 22.2 °C = 72 F | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 29.7 °C / 85 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 37.8 °C / 100 F, compared to the average of 33.9 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 45.2 °C / 113 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24 °C / 75 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 27.8 °C / 82 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.3 °C / 82.9 F (+0.5 °C / 0.9 F).

Speakers

The integrated stereo speakers are subpar in quality. Sounds are lacking in bass even for a notebook and have a "tin can" characteristic. Maximum volume is loud enough to fill a small conference room, though quality worsens at higher settings. Even so, the poor speakers should not be a concern for the target audience as this is not a multimedia notebook.

Battery Life

Runtimes are average for the Tecra A50 when compared to other 15-inch notebooks at just below 5 hours of constant WLAN use. Our standard WLAN test loops a browser script every 40 seconds while on the Balanced profile with screen brightness set to 150 nits. Fortunately, the battery pack can be quickly swapped as expected from a business notebook. Competing consumer models like the recent Envy 15 may have slightly longer runtimes, but are more than likely to have integrated battery packs instead.

Toshiba claims a battery life of up to 8 hours of use. While our WLAN runtime is well below this mark, users can likely squeeze an hour or so more out of the battery by running at a lower screen brightness setting and using the Power Saver profile.

Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
10h 07min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
4h 54min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 49min
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
45 Wh
HP Envy 15-ae020ng
55 Wh
Toshiba Satellite C55D-C-10P Carrizo-L
44 Wh
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
40 Wh
MSI PX60 QD-034US
52 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad T550
67 (44 plus 23) Wh
Acer TravelMate P255-M-54204G50Mnss
37 Wh
Battery Runtime
22%
-1%
6%
-55%
85%
-35%
Reader / Idle
607
753
24%
498
-18%
666
10%
192
-68%
1264
108%
389
-36%
WiFi v1.3
294
308
5%
254
-14%
337
15%
146
-50%
Load
109
148
36%
140
28%
103
-6%
58
-47%
177
62%
72
-34%
WiFi
677
309

Pros

+ small and quiet system fan
+ quiet keyboard
+ ODD bay/optical drive
+ very minimal performance hit when running on battery power
+ spill-resistant keyboard
+ removable battery
+ dedicated docking port
+ matte panel

Cons

- weak outer lid
- very inaccurate colors without calibration
- low contrast
- display backlight could be brighter
- no mSATA or M.2 options
- small touchpad
- no TrackPoint
- no keyboard backlight

Verdict

In review: Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10. Test model provided by Toshiba US.
In review: Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10. Test model provided by Toshiba US.

The Tecra A50 series is but a shadow of the more expensive and well-regarded Portege series. In order to reach the lower starting prices, Toshiba had to cut a bit too many corners including its weaker lid, poorer display, lack of backlit keyboard, and lack of SIM support. Core business features such as Smart Card and fingerprint readers are now optional instead of mandatory. While we can't speak for the 1080p configuration, our 768p configuration is below average in terms of color quality, contrast, and brightness. 

If you're set on a Toshiba, then it may be worth saving up for a Portege-class notebook instead. The difference in quality and longevity is noticeable from the get-go. However, the 3-year standard warranty for the new Tecra A50-C is hard to ignore. We recommend configuring with a 1080p panel and a primary SSD in order to get the most out of the notebook for basic office tasks. Otherwise, costlier business solutions like the flagship ThinkPad, Latitude, Portege, or EliteBook will be the better long-term option for power users.

The lowest configuration should be avoided as it is essentially stripped of most core business features. Its docking port, 3-year warranty, consistent performance on battery power, and near-silent operation are some of the major highlights of the Tecra A50-C.

Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10 - 10/08/2015 v4(old)
Allen Ngo

Chassis
80 / 98 → 82%
Keyboard
82%
Pointing Device
80%
Connectivity
62 / 80 → 78%
Weight
62 / 20-67 → 89%
Battery
86%
Display
72%
Games Performance
72 / 68 → 100%
Application Performance
74 / 92 → 80%
Temperature
91%
Noise
90%
Audio
65%
Average
76%
79%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Toshiba Tecra A50-C Notebook Review
Allen Ngo, 2015-10- 8 (Update: 2015-10- 8)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.