The Toshiba Satellite C55D-A5240NR 15.6-Inch Laptop (Satin Black in Trax Horizon) is a budget-friendly, entry level laptop that is ideal for routine and relatively undemanding computing tasks.
It should cope well with workloads like surfing the web, updating social status, checking email or video-chat via the machine’s built-in HD webcam, and it should have no difficulty with displaying HD video or perhaps even some casual games. And, with a full-sized keyboard and numeric keypad, it is equally capable of undertaking word processing and general productivity tasks, making it ideal for homework, too.
The machine is driven by a dual core AMD 1.4 GHz E-Series Dual-Core E1-1200 processor. This CPU was designed for use in netbooks and small laptops, and is in broadly the same category of component as Intel’s Atom processors, although it features a number of technical improvements that make it more capable than a comparably clocked Atom CPU. Although it is no match for more sophisticated and powerful processors, it is, nonetheless, quite capable of carrying out the tasks for which this laptop was designed.
The processor is supported by 4GB of DDR3 RAM, which should be enough for the supplied copy of Windows 8 to run reasonably well, and, again, should be more than adequate to cope with the machine’s intended uses.
Permanent storage for music, videos, documents, pictures and software is provided by a 500GB hard disk drive (HDD). As with the installed RAM, this should be easily sufficient for the majority of users, and represents a sensible compromise between cost and the tasks that the machine is likely to carry out. Of course, should more storage space become necessary, it is an easy matter to attach an external hard disk drive via one of the machine’s three USB ports.
- Ideal Entry-Level, Budget-Friendly Laptop
- 1.4 GHz E-Series Dual-Core E1-1200 Processor
- 500GB Hard Disk
- 4GB RAM
- AMD Radeon HD 7310 graphics
- Windows 8
- Underpowered for serious gaming
Those ports consist of one high speed USB 3.0 port, which would be the natural place to connect a high speed external disk drive, and two standard USB 2.0 ports. The machine’s two USB 2.0 ports provide easy connection points for less demanding peripherals, such as printers and memory sticks. Of course, the USB standards are backwards compatible, enabling USB 3.0 devices to connect to USB 2.0 ports, and vice versa, although, naturally, only USB 3.0 devices connected to the USB 3.0 port will be able to take full advantage of the latest USB 3.0 features.
The C55D-A5240NR offers wireless networking connectivity via its built in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, ensuring that you can work, check your emails or simply chat with friends from anywhere that suits you best – as long as you have WiFi signal, you’re good to go. Of course, sometimes, conventional wired networking is preferable, or even necessary, and for those occasions, the machine also features a built in Ethernet port.
An integrated AMD Radeon HD 7310 graphics card drives the machine’s 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel HD display, and offers considerably better performance than the GMA 3150 graphics found in comparable Atom processors, once again setting this laptop apart from its nearest competitor. As with other aspects of the machine’s design, the Radeon HD 7310 is more than capable of handling the kind of tasks this machine was designed for, but will struggle with more challenging tasks. In particular, the demands of modern, sophisticated games are beyond its capabilities.
It should, however, have no difficulties with light, casual gaming or HD video, whether streamed from the internet or played directly from the hard drive or the machine’s built-in SuperMulti DVD drive. Of course, no matter how good the laptop’s inbuilt display may be, there may be times when you want or need to watch that HD video on a much larger display. Fortunately, the C55D-A5240NR features both an HDMI port for connecting to modern monitors and HDTVs, and a VGA port for connecting to older monitors, enabling you to use whatever kind of display you have to hand.
Measuring 9.53 x 14.96 x 1.31 inches, and weighing 5.3 pounds, this is neither the smallest nor the lightest laptop on the market, but, on the other hand, nor is so large or heavy that it is difficult or awkward to move.
Overall, the Toshiba Satellite C55D-A5240NR 15.6-Inch Laptop is exactly what it appears to be – an entry level machine with all the features that one would reasonably expect of a laptop, but without the expensive extras that more sophisticated machines provide. If you are looking for a computing powerhouse, or high performance games machine, this is not the laptop for you. But if you are in the market for a budget-friendly machine for relatively undemanding tasks, perhaps as a second machine or as a starter machine for a first-time user, this laptop is well worth considering.