Toshiba Satellite Pro R850-143 review: Toshiba Satellite Pro R850-143

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The Good Speedy processor; Bright, matte screen; Fairly light by 15-inch standards; Good build quality.

The Bad Keyboard could be better; Expensive.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba Satellite Pro R850 offers good performance in a well-built chassis. But it's not the most inspiring machine to look at and the keyboard isn't as good as we would have liked.

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7.5 Overall

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Toshiba's Satellite Pro R850 is a sturdy desktop replacement machine for doing work on a grander scale. Priced at £790, it's powered by a meaty Intel Core i5 processor, so should have no problem handling everyday office tasks.

Deceptively thin

In many ways the R850 looks like a supersized version of the R830 we'll be reviewing shortly. It has a similar black and chrome finish that looks very professional. Unlike the R830, however, it feels as though it's well bolted together and that it'll stand up to long-term abuse. For a 15-inch model, it's relatively thin at 25mm, and light too, tipping the scales at just 1.48kg.

The R850 is smart, professional looking and built to withstand the rigours of everyday use.

Under the bonnet the R850 has a fairly meaty specification. It uses an Intel Core i5-2410M processor that's clocked at 2.3GHz, but the chip's Turboboost technology allows it to automatically overclock itself to a maximum of 2.9GHz in short bursts when an application particularly needs it. The processor is helped along by 6GB of RAM and there's also a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 6450M graphics chip.

In PCMark 05 it managed to rack up an impressive score of 7,629, while in 3DMark 06 it posted a result of 4,696. The PCMark 05 score shows the laptop is certainly not lacking in performance muscle, so it'll have no problem crunching its way through even more demanding multi-tasking duties. Its 3DMark score is a little less impressive, as it would need to score considerably higher if it was to be able to run the latest first-person shooters at high frame rates.

Mixed bags

Because Toshiba sees this laptop as primarily for work rather than play, it's kitted it out with a 15.6-inch matte display, as opposed to one that uses a glossy coating. The matte finish does mean that colours look a little less vibrant than they do on glossy screens, but this display's LED backlighting means it still looks very bright. Given the relatively high price of the laptop, we would have preferred to see a higher resolution than the 1,366x768 pixels on offer, especially as it would have made it easier to work on two documents side by side.

The spacebar on the R850's keyboard was lazy, in our experience. Spacebars these days, they don't know they're born.

The keyboard is a mixed bag too. It uses tile-like keys that are wide and flat and the action is quite springy. The spacebar on our sample didn't always register properly when we were touch typing on it, which was more than a little annoying. Nevertheless, the keyboard is spill-resistant, so if you knock a can of Coke over it, it shouldn't be the end of the world.

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