Toshiba Satellite C650/01E (PSC12A-01E00T) notebook
A cheap but disappointing Toshiba notebook
- Looks good, very light for a 15.6in laptop
- Doesn't have enough features, only 2GB RAM, relatively small hard drive, only two USB 2.0 ports, no HDMI, poor battery life
The Toshiba Satellite C650 is a let-down, even for a budget notebook. It could use more connectivity options, a little more RAM and hard drive space, and a much better battery. On the plus side, it's a very light laptop considering its 15.6in screen size and it looks good.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
Toshiba's Satellite C650/01E (PSC12A-01E00T) notebook is targeted at people who are on a budget. It has a far from spectacular configuration, but it's actually a very nice laptop with all the essentials you need to run office applications, rip CDs, get on the Internet, and watch TV shows. However, its battery life is shockingly bad.
Toshiba Satellite C650/01E: Design and features
The Toshiba Satellite C650/01E (PSC12A-01E00T) has a 15.6in screen with a native resolution of 1366x768; it's decent for everyday use, which might include running office applications and viewing photos. Because it's a glossy panel, you won't want to use it in bright environments. The keyboard feels solid and is very comfortable to type on; it includes a number pad, which should make accountant types happy. The palm rest is large (80mm), but the touchpad is quite small (82x40mm) and it also feels rough. It has huge buttons though; they look a little comical when pitted against the touchpad buttons of similar 15.6in notebooks.
The edges of the C650/01E don't overflow with connectivity. The right side is particularly bare, with only a DVD burner and the port for the power adapter — there's nothing but blank space next to the DVD burner. On the left side you get two USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port, headphone and microphone jacks and a 10/100 Ethernet port.
Now we know that this laptop is aimed at budget users, but it's still a very disappointing set of credentials considering you can pick up a laptop like Medion's Akoya P6624, which packs in almost every mod con in the book, for only $100 more! At the very least we'd like to see three USB 2.0 ports instead of only two, an HDMI port and Gigabit Ethernet. You do get 802.11n networking up to 150Mbps and there is also a webcam, but Bluetooth is not included. The upside is that the lack of features makes the notebook very light; it's only 2.2kg, which is about 400 grams lighter than a typical 15.6in notebook.
We like some of the software that has been added to the C650/01E, which can make the notebook easier to use. For example, when you press the function key, the F-keys that perform a function are shown at the top of the screen along with their function's logo. This can be helpful if you're typing in a dark environment and can't see the grey writing on the keys. There are plenty of other utilities and applications to check out, so much so that if you want to restore the system to its original state, it will take a couple of hours.
Toshiba Satellite C650/01E: Specifications and performance
The C650/01E has a typical configuration for a sub-$1000 notebook: it comes with a 2.26GHz Intel Core i3 CPU, which has two cores and Hyper-Threading. It's not a bad CPU at all and it will easily cope with tasks ranging from office work to media encoding and file compression. The C650/01E doesn't come with as much RAM as we're used to seeing in most laptops these days — Toshiba only supplies 2GB for this model — and it also has a relatively small hard drive by today's standards (320GB as opposed to 500GB). Other models, such as the C650/01E/028, offer 4GB and 500GB of RAM for the same price.
In our Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tests, the C650/01E recorded times of 1min 5sec and 1min 11sec, which is a competitive score when compared to recent Core i3 notebooks we've seen, such as Samsung's Q330 -JS03AU, which has the same CPU. However, the Toshiba's hard drive transfer rate of 20 megabytes per second is what we expect of a netbook rather than a full-blown notebook. We were expecting to at least see a rate of 26MBps. In our video encoding test, in which we use AutoGordianKnot to turn a DVD file into a 1.5GB Xvid file, the C650/01E took 1hr 17min, which is 3min slower than the Samsung notebook. The notebook's Intel HD graphics scored 1438 in 3DMark06, which is a decent result for a laptop with integrated graphics and 2GB of RAM.
Toshiba Satellite C650/01E: Battery life
Where the Satellite C650/01E faltered badly was in our battery test. Our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video, lasted only 50min. The C650/01E only has a 22 Watt-hour battery, which explains this result. We'd like to see Toshiba offer a longer-lasting battery in order to give buyers something that can at least last the length of a typical motion picture while away from an outlet.
Overall, the Satellite C650/01E looks good and it's comfortable to type on, but you won't want to use it on your lap for a long period of time as its left side does get annoyingly warm. Its performance is good and it allows the laptop to be used for plenty of multimedia tasks in addition to office work, although you can't play games on it. But we were disappointed by its paltry number of USB 2.0 ports (only two), low RAM capacity (only 2GB), and its very short battery life (only 50min in our tests).
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