At a glance
|For:||All the important features are here.|
|Against:||Lacklustre trackpad performance, flimsy screen lid.|
|Maybe:||The 16:9 screen ratio can be a blessing or a curse depending on what you need.|
|Verdict:||It’s OK, but canny shoppers can get a better laptop for the asking price.|
|Rating:||3 out of 5|
|Price:||Around $1800 although you should check the footnote.1.|
The ghost of Toshiba
Those of you who bought a Windows laptop more a decade ago may remember the Satellite Pro.
Toshiba began using the name when the Japanese laptop brand was at its peak in the early 1990s. Over the years Toshiba’s reputation lost its shine. It couldn’t keep pace with the competition. Toshiba didn’t go out with a bang; it faded from the scene.
Sharp picked up the remnants of Toshiba’s business in 2018. It uses its Dynabook brand to sell Portège and Satellite Pro models.
The Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H is the first model from this line we’ve seen to date.
If it’s indicative of where Sharp plans to take the range, then don’t expect Dynabook to shake the market.
Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H – acceptable business laptop
While the Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H is an acceptable business laptop, it is not special. It looks and feels dated next to today’s Microsoft Surface devices or MacBooks.
It’s closer to what you’ll find buried in the less interesting pages of catalogues from HP, Dell or Lenovo. There’s no polite way to put this, the Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H is dull by 2021 standards.
That’s OK. There’s a market for boring laptops. Not everyone cares about being seen with the smart brands or the sharpest looking hardware. A segment of users want to get the job done without any frills or thrills.
Ordinary looking… ordinary performance
There is nothing cutting-edge here. You won’t find anything special. It doesn’t have great looks, yet nor is the Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H hideous.
As we will see there are a couple of minor positive points and a few niggles.
Everything about the Satellite Pro C50-H is ordinary. This makes it a safe choice for people who are conservative about buying technology.
If there’s a major disappointment, it is the price. You might expect a computer that’s this ordinary to come with a killer price tag.
That’s not always the case here. You couldn’t describe the Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H as inexpensive. At the time of writing, one retailer is asking NZ$1832 for the laptop, another has it as a special for $1530.
The higher price will buy a similar specification from brands such as HP, Dell and Lenovo. You could buy a base model MacBook Air for a few dollars less if that appeals to you.
It’s competitive at the lower price, but remember, this is a special deal that may not last.
Screens are central to any laptop experience.
The Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H has a 15.6-inches full HD matt display with thin bezels.
In practice the display is bright enough for everyday work, but the colours don’t sparkle the way they can.
Dynabook has opted for a wide 16:9 screen ratio.
The maker describes the C50-H as a business laptop. A wide 16:9 ratio screen is good for watching movies and dealing with applications like spreadsheets. It’s lousy for writing documents.
Writing works better on taller, narrower displays. Human eyes struggle to track text over a wide measure. If you spend more time than number crunching look for a squarer shaped screen.
One other point: this is not a touch screen.
The screen feels flimsy compared with other laptop models. When you open the laptop it wobbles.
By their nature laptops move about a lot. If you are a mobile worker, you might prefer a more robust construction. It does not feel like close to $2000 worth of computer. It’s still disappointing but less unexpected on a $1500 device. Yet, on its own, this is not a deal breaker.
Despite being flimsy, the Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H weighs in at 1.75Kg. That’s heavier than most modern laptops. You notice the heft when carrying it around. To be fair, the higher than normal weight is, in part, down to a larger than usual screen.
Like almost every other laptop, the makers skimped on the HD webcam. This is no worse than you’d find elsewhere.
A bigger screen means there’s space for a full size keyboard with a number pad. That’s good and another plus for people who work with spreadsheets.
Beneath the keyboard is an off-centre trackpad. There may be an ergonomic reason for it being off-centre, but it’s not a good look.
The trackpad is large, which is a good thing but that’s the only positive.
Dynabook’s trackpad is slow and unresponsive. It feels sluggish and, in practice, you can get sore wrists using it for long periods. If you buy this computer, you may want to add a mouse.
Inside the box is an Intel Core i7 processor with four cores. There’s 16GB of Ram. This combination is not good enough for the latest games, but this is not a gaming device.
There’s more than enough power for business applications. You can spend the same money on a Windows 10 laptop and get something that turns in better benchmarks. Unless you use niche power-hungry apps, you won’t notice any difference.
That’s not true compared with working on the M1 MacBook Air which is in the same price range and runs much faster.
The built-in speakers are inadequate for playing music but are ample for Zoom calls and business applications.
Dynabook’s documentation promises 10 hours of battery life between charges. That’s true for business applications, you might get an hour or so less if your spend hours watching streaming video. There’s an old-fashioned charging plug.
Verdict – Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H
Reading back through the above, you’ll realise this is not an impressive laptop, but nor is it bad. It would be ideal if you need a wider screen for spreadsheets or similar applications.
When it comes to a decision to buy, the price is central. At $1832, the high end of the range of current prices, you could get more computer for that money elsewhere.
Meanwhile you would struggle to do better if you can find the Dynabook Satellite Pro C50-H selling for $1530. At that price it’s a reasonable deal.