toshiba satellite u505 touchscreen

I covered the initial impressions in my last review so let’s get right to the 13.3″ touchscreen. It’s a non-glossy matte screen so glare is pretty much not an issue. Fingerprints? Not a problem, unless you’re touching the screen with your grubby little hands after a late night KFC 14-piece extra crunchy bucket binge. Screen images/text look good but there’s a certain “faded” quality that I can’t quite place–definitely not as vibrant as other laptop screens I’ve seen (an iPad it’s not) but it certainly gets the job done.

So what can you do with the touchscreen? Well, you can start/close programs by tapping; scroll through websites and menus using directional swipes; expand/shrink images using the multitouch “pinch” gesture; waste hours and hours oohing and aahing over the included touch-enhanced fish pond screensaver; or close your eyes, pretend really, really hard it’s an iPad and type messages using the onscreen virtual keyboard.

Now, this is all well and good but after using the touchscreen for a while I often found myself asking, “and exactly why would I want to touch the screen when I could easily click it with a mouse?” and, “why am I such a moron for smearing chicken grease all over the screen?” Definitely some valid questions when you consider Windows 7 wasn’t designed from the ground up to be a touchscreen OS. Sure, it’s cool using gestures to control the GUI but it gets old and tiring after a while–not so much Toshiba’s fault but more of a Windows 7 design issue, IMHO.

Application performance is decent but one would expect that with an Intel Core i5-430M processor and 4GBs of memory. Gaming performance is absolutely riveting…if you’re playing the original Doom or Pacman. In other words, this doesn’t run modern games all too well as evidenced by my feeble attempt at running the latest Command and Conquer RTS at full settings. Words such as molasses, wet paint, and “405 traffic” come to mind. Again, one would expect this due to lack of video processing power on the integrated Intel HD Graphic card.

One last thing I’m going to mention is the sound quality. The stereo speakers are actually quite good for a laptop and sound fairly decent but, again, they’re laptop speakers so don’t expect to be blown away.

To sum up, the Toshiba Satellite U505-S2010 with Touchscreen is a good multimedia-centric laptop with solid build quality, responsive touchscreen, decent application performance, and ok gaming performance. It’s a bit hefty and the fans are a bit loud but, hey, that’s what you get in a desktop replacement. If you’re thinking about buying one primarily for the touchscreen, don’t. Buy an iPad or wait until Microsoft incorporates better touch UI features.