Toshiba Satellite S55-A5257 15.6-Inch Laptop Review

Toshiba Satellite S55-A5257 15.6-Inch Laptop

The Toshiba Satellite S55-A5257 15.6-Inch Laptop is a powerful workhorse machine, designed to help you get real work done on the move. Its stylish good looks combine with impressive performance to create a machine that looks great in your office or your living room, and gets the job done just as well in either.

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Powered by a cutting edge, fourth generation, Intel Core i7-4700MQ processor, setting it apart from many of its competitors. The i7-4700MQ is based on Intel’s long-awaited new Haswell architecture, and features a number of improvements over the older, third generation, Ivy Bridge class processors that it supersedes.

Each of the CPU’s four cores runs at a base speed of 2.4GHz, but, thanks to Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, the processor is capable of automatically adjusting that speed, as needed, to match the demands of the current software application, up to a maximum of 3.4GHz. The processor also features an improved version of Intel’s Hyperthreading Technology, which enables each core to handle up to two threads in parallel to make best use of available resources.

Impressive though the machine’s processor may be, it is just one of the many components that must work together to make up a functioning computer. Almost as important as the processor is the machine’s memory – in this case, 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory. Although a little less than is offered on some machines, 8GB of RAM should be more than adequate for most tasks, and is certainly sufficient to allow the installed copy of Windows 8 to run smoothly and multitask your applications with ease.

Pros :

  • Excellent General Purpose Workhorse
  • Powerful Fourth Generation Intel Core i7-4700MQ 2.4 GHz Processor
  • 8GB DDR3 Memory
  • Large 750GB Hard Disk
  • Relatively Powerful Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • Windows 8

Cons :

  • Graphics Are Reasonable But May Struggle With Demanding Games

Permanent storage for your photos, videos, music, documents and software is provided by a 750GB hard drive. As with the machine’s memory, this is slightly less than is offered with some other machines on the market today. In reality, however, it ought to be more than large enough to cope with the needs of most users.

The Satellite S55-A5257 makes use of the processor’s integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600, rather than a dedicated graphics card. In earlier iterations of the technology, including its most recent predecessor, the HD 4000, performance was decidedly mediocre. It was an ideal low end solution for routine tasks, but was totally unsuitable for any games beyond the completely casual. However, the HD Graphics 4600 boasts a fairly substantial increase in performance of around 30% over the HD 4000, bringing it into direct competition with some entry-level and mid-range dedicated controllers.

It is, of course, compatible with DirectX 11.1, along with OpenCL 1.2 and OpenGL 4.0, and should be able to cope with many slightly older games on high detail settings, and quite a few more demanding titles on low or medium titles. Even so, this is not a dedicated gaming laptop, and nor does it claim to be – if you intend to use it to play specific games, it would be well worth checking in advance whether it is capable of playing those games at a level of detail that is acceptable to you.

The HD Graphics 4600 drives a 15.6 inch, 1366 x 678 pixel HD display, which is large enough to be usable while remaining easily portable. Of course, there will be times – such as when watching a movie on the built-in DVD drive, or streamed from the internet – when you might wish for a larger screen. Fortunately, the S55-A5257 is fitted with both an HDMI port, for connecting to an HDTV or modern monitor, and a legacy VGA port for connecting to older monitors and projectors etc.

Other connectivity options include both built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi for wireless networking, and an Ethernet port for more conventional wired networks. For connecting to other peripherals, the machine provides two high-speed USB 3.0 ports and a standard USB 2.0 port. Toshiba’s Sleep and Charge technology enables you to use this port to charge your cell phone or tablet from the laptop, even when the machine is switched off.

As you would expect from a modern laptop, this machine features a built-in webcam, making it video chat capable right out of the box. The supplied copy of Windows 8 includes the popular Skype software, so all you have to do is sign in to your Skype account (or create one, if you don’t already have one) and you’re ready to chat with friends and colleagues.

The machine has built in Harman Kardon speakers, capable of pumping out your favorite sounds in DTS Studio Sound. But, occasionally, you will probably want to keep your machine’s audio output to yourself, whether it’s late night music or a private conversation over Skpye that you’d rather wasn’t overheard. For those times, the machine provides standard headphone and microphone jacks, allowing you to connect external speakers or a headset with ease.

Measuring 9.60 x 14.90 x 1.02 (L x W x H) inches and weighing just 5.2 pounds, this machine is small and light enough to be easily portable, yet manages to pack a great deal of computing power, a clear, bright screen  and a full-sized, backlit keyboard into its Ice Blue, brushed aluminum casing. The Toshiba Satellite S55-A5257 15.6-Inch Laptop has a great deal to offer at a very attractive price, and really should be on the shortlist of anyone looking for a stylish, portable, general purpose workhorse machine.

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