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Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018 review: Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018

Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
7 min read

Editors' note: This review is part of our spring 2010 retail laptop and desktop roundup, which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.


Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018

The Good

Sturdy design; competitive dual-core performance for the price; decent battery life; hard drive devoid of bloatware.

The Bad

Bulkier and heavier than other 15.6-inch laptops; shortened spacebar and nonrecessed touch pad present some input challenges; so-so audio output; low-resolution Webcam.

The Bottom Line

The Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018 is about the cheapest dual-core laptop that you'll find, and it provides a predictably basic feature set, but boasts competitive performance, respectable battery life, and zero bloatware.

The Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018 is a thoroughly average budget laptop. At $499, it undercuts two other budget retail-only laptops we've looked at, the Asus K60I-RBBBR05 and the Dell Inspiron i1545-4266IBU by $30, but the price break is the only advantage it has when viewed against its budget brethren. The Asus K60I offers the best feature set of the trio, but we prefer the Dell Inspiron i1545's design. The Satellite L505 is the bulkiest of the bunch, and you may have issues with the spacebar and touch pad. On the plus side, the dual-core Pentium processor provides decent performance, battery life is respectable, and the hard drive is blissfully free of bloatware.

The Satellite L505D-ES5018 features Toshiba's Fusion finish, a look the company has used for the past few years. The lid is dark gray and the keyboard deck is silver, and both feature gently curved pinstripes. The laptop feels sturdy. The plastic chassis doesn't suffer from much flex, and a single, wide hinge keeps the display firmly rooted in place. Along with that sturdiness comes some bulkiness; the Satellite L505 measures 15.1 inches wide by 10.2 inches deep by 1.6 inches thick. It's about a half-inch wider and deeper than the Dell Inspiron i1545, and a few ounces heavier, weighing 6 pounds.

Toshiba manages to squeeze in a dedicated number pad to the right of the keyboard, but we're not sure how useful that is unless you spend the majority of your day entering numbers into Excel. In order to accommodate the number pad (and keep the four arrow keys at full width), the spacebar is shortened. It'll take some getting used to and some accidental Alt-key hits before typing feels natural.

The touch pad features a matte finish and a responsive feel, but it sits flush with the wrist rest. As a result, your palm is more likely to accidentally graze it and move the cursor. Most touch pads are slightly recessed to prevent your cursor jumping to and fro. We like the large mouse buttons, however, which offer good travel and none of the loud clack you get from many low-end laptops.

The 15.6-inch display features a 1,366x768-pixel native resolution, which is standard for the size. Movies and 720p HD video look good, and the glossy screen coating helps smooth edges and movement. The screen finish strikes a fine balance; it's not so glossy and keeps reflections and glare to a minimum. The LED-backlit display on the Asus K60I was a touch brighter, by way of comparison.

Above the display is a 0.3-megapixel Webcam. It's the same low resolution as the Asus K60I's Webcam. The low resolution means photos and videos top out at 640x480 pixels. The Dell Inspiron i1545 features a 1.3-megapixel Webcam that can capture higher-quality 1,280x1,024-pixel photos and videos.

Two oval speaker grills sit in each corner above the keyboard and give the impression of offering some audio oomph. Unfortunately, their sound is average at best. We're never blown away by integrated laptop speakers, but the Dell Inspiron i1545 offers louder, clearer audio than the Satellite L505 does.

The Toshiba Satellite L505 supplies a basic collection of ports and connections. Two USB 2.0 ports reside on the right side, next to the DVD burner. On the left side is a third USB port that doubles as an eSATA connection. On the front edge you'll find a multiformat media card reader and a volume dial. (The volume dial doesn't provide any corresponding graphics on the screen, so it's hard to tell where the volume level is when making an adjustment.) As with the competing Asus and Dell laptops, a VGA port is the only video-out option; you have to spend a bit more for a laptop with HDMI. Networking connections include 10/100 Ethernet and Wireless-N Wi-Fi. The 320GB hard drive is bigger than the 250GB drive in the Inspiron i1545 and smaller than the 500GB drive in the Asus K60I.

The Satellite L505 features the Intel Pentium T4400 processor, a dual-core chip clocked at 2.2GHz. It's found in many laptops because it is an entry-level dual-core processor that's a rung below Intel's venerable Core 2 Duo line that delivers excellent bang for the buck (it's basically a Core 2 Duo with half the L2 cache). Budget buyers will find that it provides more than enough muscle for general use, including heavy multitasking scenarios. It finished with a percentage point or two off the Asus K60I and the Dell Inspiron i1545 on CNET Labs' application benchmarks, not a surprising result given that all three feature the same Pentium T4400 processor. The Asus has 4GB of memory to the Toshiba's 3GB, but the Toshiba's memory is a faster 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM compared with 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM on the Asus. The difference in memory speed and type offset the difference in memory amount, according to our test results.

Though we have no trouble recommending a Pentium T4400-based budget laptop for general use, we would also point out that laptops with the Core i3 processor, one of the successors to the Core 2 Duo, cost only $100 more. For example, the Gateway NV7915u costs $599 and uses the Core i3 330M CPU. The Gateway finished our multitasking benchmark with a 32-percent-faster score than the Inspiron Satellite L505. That's a significant number when you consider the laptops are only $100 apart in price. The performance difference on single applications is less drastic: the Gateway finished the Photoshop and iTunes benchmarks 12 percent and 2 percent faster than the Inspiron Satellite L505, respectively.

Juice box
Satellite L505 Average watts per hour
Off (60%) 0.41
Sleep (10%) 0.63
Idle (25%) 10.78
Load (05%) 42.14
Raw kWh Number 44.77
Annual power consumption cost $5.08

Annual power consumption cost
Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018

The Satellite L505 uses a standard six-cell battery and turned in a decent score of 3 hoursand 11 minutes on CNET Labs' demanding video playback battery drain test. It trailed only the Asus K60I, which was helped by its energy-efficient LED-backlit LCD. That's more than decent for a midsize budget-priced laptop.

Toshiba backs the Satellite L505-ES5018 with an industry-standard one-year warranty. Support is accessible 24-7 via a toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and a Web site with driver downloads.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core T4400; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 128MB (Dedicated)/1341MB (Total) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Acer Aspire AS5532-5535
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 TF-20; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200; 160GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Asus K60I-RBBBR05
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core T4400; 4096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1695MB (Total) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 500GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Compaq Presario CQ60-615DX
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) / 797MB (Total) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 250GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Dell Inspiron i1545-4266IBU
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core T4400; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 32MB (Dedicated)/1292MB (Total) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Gateway NV7915u
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 M330; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 128MB (Dedicated)/1755MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

HP Pavilion dv4-2145dx
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.3GHz AMD Turion II Dual-Core M520; 4096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 320MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4200; 320GB Seagate 7,200rpm


Toshiba Satellite L505-ES5018

Score Breakdown

Design 5Features 6Performance 7Battery 7Support 7