Toshiba Satellite P50t review: Toshiba adds a gorgeous 4K screen to the Satellite P50t laptop

While the Satellite P50 series covers a wide range of specs and prices, the 4K display is currently available only in a single configuration, as reviewed here. It's not hard to pick out of the lineup, but if you're shopping on Toshiba's website, just check to make sure you're buying the correct model, as different configurations look similar and have similar names.

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Sarah Tew/CNET
We compared the P50t to other laptops with better-than-HD displays. Those systems, including the Razer Blade 14, 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and Dell XPS 15, all share Core i7 CPUs, and some form of discrete graphics card. In our benchmark tests, the P50t was near the top or middle of the pack in application tests, but its AMD R9 GPU is better suited to video rendering than 3D gaming, and it turned in acceptable but unimpressive frame rates in games at the standard 1,920x1,080 resolution.

Of course, we had to try playing some games at the full 4K native resolution of the screen, but this is an idea the hardware is not yet ready for. Metro: Last Light and Bioshock Infinite ran under 10 frames per second at 4K. Skyrim chugged unpleasantly, even with detail settings at low. But, a couple of older games, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, were very playable.

Pushing that many pixels has to have an effect on battery life. Playing a standard 1080p video file, the P50t ran for 2:52, which is a low score for any current 15-inch laptop and less than the other higher-res systems we tested, sometimes by a large margin. We ran a second test using a 4K resolution video file to see if that would make a difference (perhaps by hitting the GPU harder), and that test run scored two hours even, which is about one-third less than our standard test.

Conclusion

Even without the first-on-the-market 4K display, the Satellite P50t is a very nice premium 15-inch laptop, with a big touchpad, large hard drive, and decent AMD graphics. Would I pay $1,599 for that? Probably not, but it's not completely out of the ballpark.

Adding that amazing-looking 4K screen is a big extra and definitely makes this a conversation piece, while still being a useful all-around midsize laptop. The only real letdown here is battery life, which may be a trade-off you're willing to make for first-on-the-block bragging rights if you want to be a 4K early adopter.

Handbrake Multimedia Multitasking test

Dell XPS 15 (2013)
654
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
391
Razer Blade RZ09-0116
185
Toshiba Satellite P50t-BST2N01
181
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (2013)
177

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
302
Dell XPS 15 (2013)
221
Toshiba Satellite P50t-BST2N01
197
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (2013)
190
Razer Blade RZ09-0116
189

Note:

In seconds, shorter bars indicate better performance

Apple iTunes encoding test

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
121
Dell XPS 15 (2013)
100
Razer Blade RZ09-0116
97
Toshiba Satellite P50t-BST2N01
90
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (2013)
60

Note:

In seconds, shorter bars indicate better performance

Bioshock: Infinite (1,920 x 1,080: Ultra DX11)

Toshiba Satellite P50t-BST2N01
23.97
Dell XPS 15 (2013)
28.64
Razer Blade RZ09-0116
68.08

Note:

In frames per second; longer bars indicate faster performance

Video playback battery drain test

Toshiba Satellite P50t-BST2N01
172
Dell XPS 15 (2013)
214
Razer Blade RZ09-0116
267
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
430
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (2013)
592

Note:

In minutes, longer bars indicate better performance

System Configurations

Toshiba Satellite P50t-BST2N01

Windows 8.1 (64-bit) 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 2048MB (dedicated) AMD R9 M265X; 1TB Hybrid 5400rpm HDD

Razer Blade 14 RZ09-0116 (2014)

Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4702HQ; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz, 3GB (dedicated) Nvidia GeForce GTX 870; 256GB SSD

Dell XPS 15

Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4702HQ; 16GB DDR2 SDRAM 1600MHz; 2GB (dedicated) Nvidia GeForce GT 750; 1TB 5400rpm HDD

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (2013)

OSX 10.9 Mavericks; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-4850HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 2GB (dedicated) Nvidia GeForce GT 750M + Intel Iris Pro Graphics; 512GB SSD

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro 59394174

Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 1.6GHZ Intel Core i5-4200U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1792MB (shared) Intel HD 4400 Graphics; 128GB Samsung SSD

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