The Toshiba Satellite M505 Touch laptop is the newest laptop in Toshiba’s M line of personal computers. It comes equipped with a 14” multitouch screen, full keyboard, webcam, and Windows 7 Home Premium. Toshiba also includes their new LifeSpace program specifically designed for Windows 7 Touch. Does Toshiba’s new laptop have what it takes to stand out from the crowd?
Let’s get this out of the way; this laptop was not designed for the on-the-go people who require ultra-portability. The laptop is sturdy and thick, covering up plenty of lap space. The design may be thicker and heavier than most people want, but as a multimedia home laptop it works fine. This laptop is meant for the average person, for use at home to do serious work. With the powerful 2.2 GHz processor, working is made easy and multitasking is simple.
The keyboard on the laptop is by far its worst feature. It feels cramped together making it harder to type. Also, the directional pad feels totally misplaced and if you plan on playing games with this laptop (very likely), then be prepared to have to look down at your hands every time you move for the directional pad, at least until you become used to the placement. The track pad is also a little too small and the click buttons seem to come out of nowhere as they are raised up above all the other buttons and are shiny and silver against the background of basic black.
The M505 has plenty of ports with 3 standard USB ports, an eSATA port, an HDMI port, a headphone and microphone jack, an Ethernet port, a VGA output, a six-format flash-card reader, and an ExpressCard/54 slot. The HDMI port is a welcome addition to this laptop for all your multimedia needs. The laptop also includes an 11-format DVD disc reader. It’s a standard, but welcome, feature.
Toshiba also included a webcam and microphone on the laptop, and they both do a fine job. The microphone is adequate for video chat, but don’t get too fancy unless you want it to be muffled. It’s also quite sensitive to background noise, but not too bad at all. The webcam image looks sharp and beautiful on the screen. The only time I would have problems with the webcam is in low-light areas, where it couldn’t seem to focus at all.
Now, on to the main event: the screen. The screen is bright, vivid, and gorgeous. Watching movies is a pleasure on the beautiful widescreen display. It’s sharp, quick, and just plain amazing. It gets even better when you get to touch and interact with this wonderful display. The touch screen controls work marvelously and are great when you need to quickly move a window while typing and don’t want to have to find the track pad. The only problems I ever experienced with the touch screen was when I was on a web page and needed to click on a small link, it would sometimes miss the text I was aiming for.
The glossy finish proves to be a slight downside to the otherwise industrial design. It would have been better to use a less-shiny plastic as the one chosen is a fingerprint magnet. If you’re the kind of person which is bothered by appearance and such, this may cause you to carry around a cloth to wipe down the top every now and then.
As you most likely already know, Windows 7 is a fantastic operating system. The OS is gorgeous to look at and functions extremely well. The Windows 7 Touch adjustments give plenty to the experience of using it with no noticeable drawbacks or lag to the OS’s performance at all.
With this laptop, Toshiba is rolling out their new custom software called LifeSpace. The two main features of LifeSpace are the Bulletin Board and Reeltime. The Bulletin Board can be used as a sort of task manager with adjustable to-do lists, calendars, clocks, labels, with videos, documents, photos, and links. You can use the touch screen to move all of these around to your liking and use the multitouch to resize them. Reeltime is an innovative way to help users search through files visually based on when they were last used. Both LifeSpace components are useful, non-intrusive and a welcome addition to Windows 7.
I’m giving the Toshiba Satellite M505 Touch laptop a B because while the software is fantastic, user-friendly, and extremely useful, the keyboard and track pad need some adjusting.
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