Toshiba Satellite C55-A5355 Windows 7 15.6-Inch Laptop Review

Toshiba Satellite C55-A5355 Windows 7 15.6-Inch Laptop

The Toshiba Satellite C55-A5355 Windows 7 15.6-Inch Laptop (Satin Black in Trax Horizon) is a capable mid-range machine that combines ample computing power with stylish good looks. It is equally at home in the office or your living room, and should cope with routine tasks with power to spare.

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Much of that power comes from an Intel Core i5 3230M processor. This is a dual core, 3rd generation CPU based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture, and is specifically designed to provide a good balance between computing performance and power consumption in laptops. It supports both Hyperthreading, and Intel’s Turbo Boost technologies which, together, help to ensure speed and efficiency. Hyperthreading allows each core to handle up to two threads in parallel, ensuring that the processor makes best use of its resources, while Turbo Boost enables the processor to automatically adjust the speed of each core as needed, from the base speed of 2.6GHz up to a maximum of 3.2GHz. This means that it can deliver better performance when it is needed, and conserve power when it isn’t.

The processor is supported by 8GB of RAM. This should be more than adequate to allow the installed copy of Windows 7 Home Premium to perform well, with plenty of spare capacity to multitask your favorite applications. Of course, more memory is (nearly) always better, but 8GB represents a sensible balance between price and performance that shouldn’t disappoint.

For permanent storage of your music, movies, documents and pictures, the machine is fitted with a 750GB Hard Disk Drive. This is a substantial amount of storage that should be more than enough for most purposes, while, again, being a reasonable compromise between price and capacity. Naturally, should you eventually need more space, it is a simple matter to connect an external disk drive to one of the machine’s three USB ports.

Pros :

  • Good, Powerful, Mid-Range Laptop
  • Intel Core i5 3230M 2.6 GHz Processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Large 750GB Hard Disk
  • 15.6-Inch Screen
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Cons :

  • Underpowered for serious gaming

On the subject of disk drives, it’s good to see that this machine has a built in CD / DVD R/W. As more and more software is distributed online and files are routinely stored on memory sticks or in the cloud, the need for optical drives is decreasing slightly, and many manufacturers are omitting them from their products to save weight, space and cost. Nonetheless, it is undeniably useful to be able to burn an audio CD, watch a movie from your DVD collection or install software from a physical disk without needing to carry around yet another external device.

The machine’s 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 HD display is driven by an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 controller. As with most integrated graphics controllers in this generation of processors, HD Graphics 4000 is quite capable of handling routine computing tasks – web surfing, email, video chat, HD video and even casual gaming shouldn’t pose any problems. It will, however, struggle with more graphics-intensive applications – video editing or modern games, for example, may be beyond it. That said, this is not a gaming laptop, and should not be expected to compete with one; it is a mid range, relatively powerful, general purpose laptop, and, for a machine in that class, HD Graphics 4000 should perform perfectly well.

Sooner or later, you are going to want – or need – to use a larger display than the 15.6 inch screen built in to this machine. For those occasions, the Satellite C55-A5355 provides an HDMI port for connecting to an HDTV or modern monitor, along with a legacy VGA port for connecting to older monitors, TVs and projectors etc. – ideal for watching a movie in comfort at home, or making presentations at the office.

Other connectivity options include two standard USB 2.0 ports and one high-speed USB 3.0 port, making it easy to attach just about any USB-capable device to this machine. USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices and ports are interchangeable, meaning that a USB 20 device will work in a USB 3.0 port and vice versa, but to take advantage of the high speed features of USB 3.0, you must use a USB 3.0 device in a USB 3.0 port.

The Satellite C55-A5355 (model number PSCF6U-0KR018) provides both wired and wireless networking. For wired connections, there is a standard 10/100 Ethernet port while, for access to wireless networks, the machine features built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi.

A built-in HS webcam and microphone makes this machine video-chat ready right out of the box. Simply sign in to your favorite chat software and you’ll be ready to chat with your friends and colleagues in minutes.

Of course, there will be times when you’d rather keep your conversations for your ears only, or listen to music without disturbing the people around you. For those occasions, the machine provides headphone and microphone sockets.

A media card reader rounds off the range of input / output options provided with this machine, making it easy to transfer images to the laptop from your camera or cellphone.

Measuring 9.53 x 14.96 x 1.39 inches and weighing 5.4 pounds, this machine is sturdy yet still portable. The extra space required by the 15.6 inch screen means that the sleek Mercury Silver case also has room for a full-sized keyboard, with 10-key numeric keypad (a valuable feature if you spend much time keying numeric data!) and a generously sized, responsive touchpad.

As noted earlier, this machine ships with the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium, rather than Windows 8, the current version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system. Whether this is good, bad or irrelevant is a matter of personal taste. Certainly, many people have expressed a dislike for the changes introduced in Windows 8, and are actively seeking machines that feature Windows 7 instead. Others have embraced the changes and prefer the new look of the current version. For those with a preference for Windows 7, however, the fact that it ships with this machine could well be a major selling point.

Overall, the Toshiba Satellite C55-A5355 Windows 7 15.6-Inch Laptop is an impressive mid-range laptop that should be able to cope with everyday computing tasks with power to spare. It may struggle with modern games, but then it isn’t, and doesn’t claim to be a gaming laptop. As a general purpose workhorse, however, it should do very well indeed. The preinstalled copy of Windows 7 Home Premium may also be tempting to some users, allowing them to avoid the radical changes in Windows 8 for a little longer. If you’re the market for a powerful general purpose laptop, this may well be the machine for you.

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