Dynabook Satellite Pro L50-G review: A good-value business workhorse

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  • Editors' rating
    7.9 Very good

Pros

  • 10th-generation Core processors
  • Good battery life
  • Plenty of ports and slots, including Ethernet
  • SmartCard slot available on some models
  • Wi-Fi 6

Cons

  • Uninspiring industrial design
  • No keyboard backlight
  • No camera privacy cover
  • Only 256GB of SSD storage

Dynabook's Satellite Pro range is pitched at mainstream knowledge workers, and with screen sizes ranging from 13.3 to 15.6 inches there are options for a variety of needs. These are standard laptops -- no convertibles here -- but the pricing can be compelling. For example, the 15.6-inch Satellite Pro L50-G starts at £519 (ex. VAT) with the G-13Z model; my G-193 review sample comes in at £699 (ex. VAT).

The Satellite Pro L50 has an unobtrusive design. The Dynabook logo appears prominently in silver on the lid, and the lid itself has a slight ridging that verges on the tacky. This continues on the inside across the whole of the keyboard section that's not punctured by keys, touchpad or power button.

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The 15.6-inch Dynabook Satellite Pro L50-G has an up-to-date spec, including 10th-generation Core processors and Wi-Fi 6, although SSD storage doesn't go above 256GB on the preconfigured models.

Images: Dynabook

If you plan to carry this laptop far, then its size and build quality will be important. With a 15.6-inch screen this is, inevitably, a rather hefty laptop. It measures 361mm wide by 244mm deep and is 19.9mm thick, giving plenty of room for port and slots. You'll need a strong shoulder, though, as the Satellite Pro L50 weighs 1.7kg, although thankfully the power brick is quite small and lightweight. 

Build quality is only average. One of my perennial issues with Dynabook's laptops is the amount of flex in the lid. I was unhappy with this with both the Portégé A30-E and Portégé X30-F at the end of last year, for example. Dynabook has inherited this issue from Toshiba, and it really could do with fixing. In the meantime, I suggest you invest in a protective sleeve.

The upside of this laptop's size is that there's room for a number pad to the right of the keyboard. Unlike that on the Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD that I looked at recently, which also has a 15.6-inch screen, the number pad has full-size keys. This has been achieved by pushing the whole keyboard section further out towards the short edges of the chassis than is the case on the ZenBook. 

The vertical space between the number pad and keyboard is slightly wider than the norm, and I'd have liked it to be wider still. The Enter key, while approaching double width, is only single height, and I found it easy to hit the '4' key instead. I've had similar issues with all keypads on the right side, and doubtless this is just an acclimatisation issue. Still, it's tedious while it lasts.

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The up and down arrow keys are very small indeed -- good luck to those with stubby fingers. Thankfully, the left and right arrow keys are full size.

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The keyboard isn't the quietest, and heavier-handed typists will notice a bit of flex. On the plus side, you get a separate numeric keypad on the right-hand side.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The keyboard is not as springy as some, and while I had no trouble touch-typing at full speed, it was not the most comfortable to work with. I suspect that heavy-handed typists will find it more accommodating, although they will also likely notice a bit of flex in the keyboard. It's quite noisy, clacking away in a quiet room, which could disturb colleagues. The FN keys include media controls and a quick aeroplane setting. I couldn't see any evidence of a keyboard backlight.

The touchpad is wide and deep, offering plenty of sweeping and scrolling space, with a smooth and functional action. There is a fingerprint sensor in the top left corner, which might not be the most ergonomic location for right-handers, but there are other security features in the shape of Windows Hello and the option for a SmartCard reader.

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The 15-6 inch screen sits in moderately slim bezels -- about 7.5mm on the short edges and a little deeper above the screen, in order to accommodate the webcam (which sadly lacks a privacy cover). The bottom bezel is much deeper than the rest.

There are several iterations of this laptop, and all share the same 15.6-inch non-reflective, non-touch TFT panel with FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. If you need to deliver video presentations or watch post-work TV or movies, you might want to look elsewhere, but for mainstream use cases the screen is fine, with plenty of brightness available. The stereo speakers don't go particularly loud, but the sound quality is perfectly acceptable. 

The specifications have been designed to be cost-effective, and all of the preconfigured versions of this laptop at the time of writing have just 256GB of SSD storage. All models bar one run Windows 10 Pro and have Wi-Fi 6. Beware as you look for savings as RAM slips down to 4GB and there's even a Core i3 processor among the various 10th-generation Intel options. 

  • Satellite Pro L50-G-193 (as reviewed)
    Intel Core i7-10510U, Windows 10 Pro, 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non touch screen, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £699 (ex. VAT)
  • Satellite Pro L50-G-13Z
    Intel Core i5-10210U, Windows 10 Pro (National Academic License), 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non touch screen, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £519 (ex. VAT)
  • Satellite Pro L50-G-139
    Intel Core i5-10210U, Windows 10 Home, 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non touch screen, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £549 (ex. VAT)
  • Satellite Pro L50-G-138
    Intel Core i3-10110U, Windows 10 Pro, 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non touch screen, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £559 (ex. VAT)
  • Satellite Pro L50-G-132
    Intel Core i5-10210U, Windows 10 Pro, 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non touch screen, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £559 (ex. VAT)
  • Satellite Pro L50-G-13F
    Intel Core i5-10210U, Windows 10 Pro, 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non touch screen, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £639 (ex. VAT)
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The Satellite Pro L50-G's 15.6-inch chassis provides plenty of room for ports and slots. The RJ-45 Ethernet port is a flip-down design. You can add an optional SmartCard reader too.

Images: Dynabook

As noted earlier, the size of this laptop's chassis has been put to good effect in terms of connectivity. On the right edge there is an SD card slot and USB 3.0 port. Some models (including mine) also have a SmartCard reader. The left edge has a further USB 3.0 port, a USB 3.1 port and a USB-C port as well as a full size HDMI connector, a 3.5mm headset jack, a flip-type RJ-45 Ethernet port, and a round-pin power jack.

The 4-cell battery supports fast charging via its relatively small power brick, and is rated as good for up to 9 hours 40 minutes (using MobileMark 2014). Working from a full charge I wrote into a web app, checking websites as I went, and streaming music for about a third of the time. I left the screen on the automatic setting of 50% throughout -- in everyday use I might raise the brightness a little, but 50% was not uncomfortable to work with.

After six hours the battery had lost 40 percent of its charge. This was a pretty undemanding workload, but even if you push harder, around 10 hours of uptime should be achievable. 

Conclusions

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Image: Dynabook

The Dynabook Satellite Pro L50-G offers some pleasant surprises but also some real annoyances. On the plus side are the small, bag-friendly power brick and good battery life, the plentiful ports and slots, including a smartcard option, and the presence of both an Ethernet port and Wi-Fi 6.

On the other hand, there's no keyboard backlight, the keyboard is clacky, and build quality could be more robust. Arguably, there should be a touch-screen model too.

Overall, though, the Dynabook Satellite Pro L50-G represents very good value for money.

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