Toshiba Satellite C55-A5245 15.6-Inch Laptop Review

Toshiba Satellite C55-A5245 15.6-Inch Laptop

The Toshiba Satellite C55-A5245 15.6-Inch Laptop (Satin Black in Trax Horizon) is a general purpose workhorse machine. It’s budget-friendly features make it ideal for everyday computing tasks like surfing the web, checking email, video chat or word processing, without the expense of overly powerful technologies that you don’t need to get the job done.

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At the heart of this machine lies a 3rd generation Intel Core i3-3110M processor. This is a dual core CPU designed specifically for use in laptops, and is based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture. It supports Intel’s Hyperthreading technology, which allows each core to handle two threads in parallel, but doesn’t support Turbo Boost. Consequently, each core runs at a fixed speed of 2.3GHz, which should be more than adequate to cope with routine tasks.

The processor is supported by 4GB of DDR3 memory running at 1600MHz. Again, this should be more than enough to allow the machine to perform well under the kind of workload that it is designed to handle.

For permanent storage of music, movies, document and pictures, this machine is equipped with a 500GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Although more expensive machines often feature hard drives with much greater storage capacities, 500GB should be easily sufficient for most purposes, and far more than many users will ever fill. Should more storage capacity become necessary at a later date, however, it is an easy matter to connect an external disk drive to one of the machine’s three USB ports.

The machine’s 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 HD display is driven by integrated Mobile Intel HD Graphics 4000 technology. As with most integrated graphics options from this generation of processor, it should be easily able to handle the demands of everyday computing applications, including HD video and even some casual gaming. However, it will struggle to meet the needs of heavyweight software –  video editing and modern games, for example, may be beyond its capabilities. That said, this is not, and does not claim to be, a gaming laptop with all the powerful (and expensive!) hardware that that implies. It is an inexpensive workhorse for everyday tasks, and for those purposes the integrated graphics should work well.

Pros :

  • Good Basic Workhorse For Routine Tasks
  • Intel Core i3-3110M 2.3 GHz Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Large 500GB Hard Disk
  • 15.6-Inch Screen
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Cons :

  • Underpowered for serious gaming

Excellent though the machine’s TrueBrite display may be, there will probably be times when you want, or need, to use a larger display – perhaps for watching a movie in comfort, or making a presentation. For those occasions, the machine offers and HDMI port for connecting to an HDTV or modern monitor, along with a legacy VGA port for connecting to older monitors, TVs or projectors.

Other connectivity options include three USB ports, of which two are standard USB 2.0 ports, and one is a high speed USB 3.0 port. Wireless connectivity is also supported via built-in Bluetooth, making it easy to connect wireless mice, keyboards, headsets and other devices.

As you would expect from a modern laptop, network connectivity is also built in. The machine features an Ethernet port for wired networking, and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi for access to wireless networks, either at home or on the move.

It’s good to see that the Satellite C55-A5245 (model number PSCF6U-01J018) also has a built in DVD R/W drive. Although not as essential as they once were, and hence sometimes omitted from inexpensive or ultra-portable machines to save on cost or size / weight, optical drives are, nonetheless, extremely useful to have. Whether you want to install software from a physical disk, burn music or data onto CD or simply watch a movie from your collection, an on-board optical drive is far more convenient than its external USB counterpart.

That convenience is also in evidence with the machine’s built-in media card reader. There’s no need to connect the your camera or cellphone directly to the laptop, simply pop the card into the reader and you’re good to go.

Staying with camera technology, the C55-A5245 includes a built in webcam, making it video-chat ready right out of the box. Simply sign in to your favorite chat program, and you’ll be video chatting with your friends and colleagues in minutes.

Measuring 9.53 x 14.96 x 1.39 inches (L x W x H) and weighing 5.4 pounds, this is a sturdy machine, although not so cumbersome as to be difficult to carry around. And, with a reported battery life of up to four hours, you’ll want to take it with you everywhere. Of course, the Satin Black in Trax Horizon case needs to be big enough to accommodate the 15.6 inch screen, and this means that there is also room for a conveniently large touchpad that supports gesture recognition, and a full-size keyboard with addition 10-key numeric keypad – a very useful addition if your work involves keying lots of figures!

The machine ships with Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit edition). Whether this is good, bad or even relevant depends very much on the tastes of the individual. Despite Microsoft’s best efforts to frog-march the world onto Windows 8, the latest version of it’s flagship operating system, many users have found Windows 8 to be unsettlingly different from the software they have used for years. Many more have taken to the new style of Windows without difficulty, of course, but the fact remains that there is still a demand for machines running Windows 7 and this is certainly a point in this machine’s favor from their perspective.

Overall, the Toshiba Satellite C55-A5245 15.6-Inch Laptop is a general purpose machine, designed to cope well with the relatively undemanding needs of everyday computing tasks. It should handle email, web surfing, video chat, word processing and the like without difficulty, but will struggle with heavyweight games, for example. It is one of the few machines still available with Windows 7 preinstalled, which may well be a persuasive point to some users. If you’re looking for a stylish workhorse for routine tasks, and are happy with Windows 7, this could well be the machine for you.

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