One hates to judge too harshly, but someone at Toshiba didn’t get the memo that with a thin and light computer, the operative descriptors are both “thin” and “light.”
Measuring nearly 2.8 inches thick with its hulking battery pack jutting out the bottom of the laptop, it weighs a scale-busting 5.6 pounds. This monstrous eyesore will challenge the capabilities of just about any laptop bag or attaché case.
Fortunately all is not lost with the Satellite U505: The laptop turns in solid benchmark scores for a 13.3-inch machine, besting most of its similarly-sized compatriots by a (ahem) thin margin. It’s also awfully cheap for a notebook with a 13-inch screen (resolution is 1280 x 800 pixels): $950 gets you a 400-GB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM, and a respectable 2-GHz Core 2 Duo processor. That battery also does more than give you a pain in the back while lugging the U505 around. It gives over four hours of battery life with the optical drive continuously engaged, and lasts more than half a day in ordinary heavy use.
Ultimately the tragic looks and bloated girth of the Satellite U505 will make it an also-ran in a universe of thinner, lighter and more style-conscious laptops, but the price-performance ratio of the machine is hard to ignore. Value seekers would be wise to investigate the U505 — carefully — but others should probably steer clear.