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Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103 laptop review: A budget model that excels in performance and battery life

With a crisp screen display and comfortable keyboard, this is a machine that means business

Rachael Phillips
Wednesday 22 September 2021 12:55 BST
<p>At this price you couldn’t ask for a better battery life – expect to get in a full day of work on just one charge</p>

At this price you couldn’t ask for a better battery life – expect to get in a full day of work on just one charge

The satellite series of laptops is back with a new pro range that promises better quality, performance and style wrapped up in one affordable package.

The Japanese tech giant Toshiba first launched the satellite line back in the Nineties. But in 2016, Toshiba decided to exit the laptop market by selling over 80 per cent of its computer business to the Sharp Corporation.

Toshiba was the first company to release a laptop PC back in 1985. Despite maintaining its spot on the list of top PC manufacturers throughout the years, the growth of other brands such as HP, Dell, and Lenovo made it difficult for the company to retain its lion share of the market, hence the decision to sell up.

In 2019 the Sharp Corporation bought the remaining 19.1 per cent share from Toshiba’s computer business, which was globally known as “Dynabook”. In 2020, the brand relaunched the once world-famous satellite pro range under the Dynabook branding. Now, it’s revealed its first foray back into the laptop market since 2016, the satelite pro C40-H-103.

The brand knows its market when it comes to this laptop. Damian Jaume, president of Dynabook Europe GmbH, said: “We know that IT budgets are limited, especially with the current crisis unfolding, but the pressure’s still on for workers and students to stay productive. That’s exactly why we’ve launched the satellite pro C40-H to ensure that everyone can get access to the technology they need to get their work done, at an affordable price point.”

With such big claims, we were keen to see whether Dynabook has continued Toshiba’s legacy for producing reliable and durable laptops. The new machine has an updated core processor, better RAM and a faster, more reliable solid-state drive to meet the needs of a more modern and remote workforce. But how did it perform? Read on to find out.

How we tested 

We tested the Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103 by using it for a range of work and leisure activities. We looked at how well the battery performed when doing basic work tasks such as word processing right through to watching a couple of hours YouTube. We also opened multiple applications and web browser tabs, flicking between them to test how well it performed when multitasking. We checked out its portability claims too, and how easy it was to see the screen in different settings.

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Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103

Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103 indybest.jpeg

Buy now £489,

  • CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i3-1005G1
  • Graphics: Intel UHD graphics
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Screen: 14in
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 10
  • Pros: Good battery life, lightweight, attractive design
  • Cons: Webcam isn’t great quality, feels like a budget machine
  • Rating: 7/10

The matte, dark blue exterior and chassis make this laptop look a lot more expensive than it is. Although it feels solid when in use, the chassis does feel plasticky and is a constant reminder that this is a budget laptop.

One interesting detail about the casing is that the surfaces have been treated with a special anti-bacterial paint protecting against bacterial growth. With the events of the last 18 months, we’ve become more aware of workplace hygiene, and these painted surfaces have been proven to inhibit the growth of microorganisms by 99.9 per cent.

The Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103 prides itself on how lightweight and portable it is. Weighing in at just under 1.55kg, this laptop certainly didn’t weigh us down when we took it out to the nearest coffee shop to work. This is a huge plus point for those who work from different locations regularly or students who have to carry a laptop back and forth to college. It has a narrow bezel design and is just 18.9mm thick, so it left plenty of room in our laptop bag for notebooks and other work essentials.

Read more: 9 best laptops under £500

The keyboard is comfortable to type on even after long periods. The trackpad is large and highly responsive, but clicking the buttons does feel a bit heavy and clunky. Despite its size, the trackpad doesn’t get in the way when typing, making working on this machine an enjoyable experience.

When it comes to ports, this machine offers everything you need. It has a built-in USB-C, which can be used to charge, connect, display and transfer data. It also comes with two USB-A ports, an SD card reader slot, an ethernet port and a standard headphone jack. A full-size HDMI port is also included and ideal for using an external monitor or displaying business presentations.

Display and audio

The Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103 has a 14in full LCD HD screen. The anti-glare coating on the screen means that this laptop offers comfortable viewing from different angles while still providing privacy from anyone sitting close to you, ideal if you’re planning to work at your local coffee shop or the train.

While the screen does reach an impressive 250 NITs, we did find that when turned up to its maximum brightness, the colours looked very drab and washed out. The full-HD screen really shows up when watching video content which offers a clear and crisp picture. The built-in stereo speakers are nothing to get excited about, they provide an adequate sound for video calls, but if you want a better experience when listening to music or streaming video, you may want to reach for your headphones.


The Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103 certainly delivers here. The combination of Intel Core i3-1005G1 and 8GB of RAM keeps this laptop quick and can easily handle everyday tasks such as web browsing and office tasks. It also continued to work well when multitasking. We pushed it to its limits with multiple applications open and didn’t notice any slowing or lag when switching between them.

The Intel UHD graphics card is suitable for basic gaming, but this is a business machine and not designed for full-on gaming. It struggled a little when trying games that used heavy graphics, but since this is not likely to be the reason why you buy this laptop, we don’t think it’ll make much of a difference to the core Dynabook customer.

Read more: MacBook buying guide 2021: Air or Pro?

The SSD drive makes a huge difference to the responsiveness of this machine. It’s not the biggest at just 256GB, but it’s undoubtedly adequate for essential office software and regular file management. The solid-state drive also goes some way with helping to keep this machine quiet even when under pressure; we didn’t once hear the fan kick in despite heavy use.

Battery life

The battery life on the Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103 is impressive. The official stats claim that it lasts up to 10 hours, and we got pretty close with it lasting around eight and a half hours after some intense usage. So you’ll be able to complete a full day of work on one charge, and when you consider that this is in the budget range of laptops, you couldn’t ask for a better battery.

Webcam and microphone

This laptop comes with a Windows “hello-ready” HD webcam. But despite being HD, the webcam falls short – it didn’t work very well in low-light, and even in ideal lighting conditions it still came across as slightly grainy. The built-in microphone was satisfactory, and when used in a Teams meeting, the sound was clear. The microphone is also Cortana enabled, which is really useful for setting reminders and managing our calendar just by using our voice.

Software and features

This machine runs the latest version of Microsoft Windows 10 home. But businesses need not worry about security as this model has the firmware-based Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0. This means that any information is encrypted on the device to remove the risk of it being tampered with. There are also additional user and admin passwords, so unauthorised access will be made even harder.

Read more: 10 best high-end laptops with great performance design

Another good feature that will please users who travel with their laptops is a Kensington lock slot that will prevent the machine from being stolen.

This machine uses wifi 802.11 AC and Bluetooth connectivity, which works well, and even when using an external mouse and keyboard, it didn’t experience any lag or dropouts.

The verdict: Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103

This is a laptop that is more about business and productivity than any exciting bells and whistles, but that’s exactly what the brand intended to create.

It’s a machine that will get the job done. The Intel Core i3-1005G1 is supported by 8GB of RAM, which offers a perfect performance that effortlessly handles various tasks from spreadsheets to streaming Netflix.

The Dynabook satellite pro C40-H-103 is also a very reasonably priced laptop for the level of performance it offers. Priced at just £489, it is the ideal choice for any budget-conscious consumer who wants to enjoy the reliability and longevity that Toshiba was best known for and that Dynabook is carrying forward.

And we can’t sign off without mentioning the portability aspect of this laptop. It’s compact, lightweight and will not weigh you down, so whether you’re travelling for work or heading to college, it’s a great option.

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