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Toshiba Satellite P50t-BST2N01: The first laptop to boast a 4K display

Michael Brown | May 23, 2014
Toshiba's Satellite P50t boasts two important firsts: It's the first laptop to feature a 4K display, and it's the first to be Technicolor Color Certified. You likely have at least a passing familiarity with 4K video, but I would argue that the latter claim to fame--which you might never have heard of--deserves more praise.

Specs and performance
Most of the rest of the P50t's specs are impressive: The machine is powered by Intel's Core i7-4700HQ processor, augmented by 16GB of DDR3/1600 memory. And it has a discrete graphics processor in the form of an AMD Radeon R9 M265X, which taps 2GB of its own GDDR5 memory. Toshiba includes gigabit ethernet and an Intel Dual-band Intel Wireless-AC 7260 adapter, so you can take full advantage of your 802.11ac router's excellent streaming capabilities.

All four of the Satellite P50t's USB ports are USB 3.0, and there's an SD memory card reader in front. Although its key travel is very short, the backlit island-style keyboard felt great under my fingers. The size of the display left plenty of room for a numeric keypad on the right-hand side, but I found the 1/4-size arrow keys beneath the shift key and the equally small function keys in the top row to be annoying.

In terms of overall performance, The Satellite P50t trailed HP's work-oriented ZBook 15 Mobile Workstation (powered by a Core i7-4800MQ and a 1TB, 7200 rpm hard drive) and Dell's entertainment-focused XPS 15 (driven by a Core i7-4702Q and a 512GB SSD). But the Toshiba clobbered Dell's Inspiron 7537. While all four machines are outfitted with Core i7 processors, the Dell's Core i7-4500U is only a dual core and that PC is equipped with a 5400 rpm mechanical hard drive. The Toshiba is equipped with a 1TB hybrid hard drive (a 1TB 5400 rpm hard drive augmented by 8GB of solid-state memory). The HP has a mechanical drive, too, but it spins its platters at 7200 rpm. The XPS 15, meanwhile, comes with a 512GB SSD, and SSDs have an outsized impact on our benchmarks.

Toshiba Satellite P50t
The Toshiba's WorldBench score would be even higher if it had an SSD instead of a hybrid hard drive. 

Is it just too early for 4K?
The Toshiba Satellite P50t delivers the highest resolution of any laptop you can buy today. But you won't want to play games at its native resolution, and there's almost no entertainment content to watch on its beautiful screen. It's an awesome tool for digital content creators, provided you can get by with its 15.6-inch panel. No one will want to use it with an external 4K display at a refresh rate of 30Hz.

The day will come when 4K movies are as common as 1080p video is today. Until then, dropping $1800 for a Toshiba Satellite P50t buys bragging rights and a color-accurate display more than anything else.


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