Let's be honest here — Intel utterly dominates the laptop world as the dominant CPU supplier. Not only are its chips speedy, but they also require less power and throw out less heat, two factors of critical importance when building a PC inside a 15mm gap. Nearly every laptop we're supplied to review features Intel CPUs, which makes the Satellite U50D such an interesting proposition. Finally we get to see what AMD's CPUs can do.
Design and features
Before we delve under the hood, we should point out that this is a full-sized 15.6 inch behemoth.
This isn't too surprising given that AMD chips tend to pump out more heat, and are thus more likely to be found in laptops with larger cooling solutions. The 15.6 inch screen on offer here foregoes the touchscreen feature found on most other laptops, as the AMD APU used within means it doesn't need to abide by Intel's Ultrabook specifications. Based on the relatively low resolution of 1366 x 768, the screen is a bit grainy for our liking, but beggars can't be choosers.
Plastic is used throughout the U50D's construction, but it's cleverly disguised as brushed aluminium. It's such a believable finish that we barely noticed that the palm wrist was actually brushed aluminium. The full-sized island keyboard lacks any form of backlighting, but is a delight to use thanks to its larger size and lack of any flex or rattle. The touchpad is very accurate, yet requires a tad too much force to activate the buttons; hopefully these will loosen up over protracted use.