Toshiba C55-B5356 is hardly a budget desktop – at around 500 dollars price it can be considered a mid-range notebook. However, for TechForPennies.com it seems to be a perfect pick since a quick look at the specs reveals a Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM and a terabyte hard drive, perhaps making the price rather affordable after all. But let’s not judge the laptop just yet – the review below will tell you what’s the Toshiba really about.
The essential things
Starting with the most important components, the processor of this Toshiba is Intel Core i5-4210U. It features two cores and a clock speed of 1.7 – 2.7GHz depending on turbo usage. Now, it’s clearly a step up from basic Core i3 CPUs which are found in many laptops of similar price. The Core i5 is certainly a capable workhorse and it offers adequate performance for everyday computing and heavier tasks (programming, image editing etc) alike.
The RAM amount is rather exceptional 8GB. It’s installed on a DDR3L low-voltage chip and is not user replaceable. As such, adding more memory won’t happen, but I can’t see many cases where more than 8GB RAM would be needed in the first place.
The terabyte hard drive is also bigger than usually seen in budget laptops. Capable of housing photos and videos in thousands, the speed wouldn’t be that good due to 5400 revolutions per minute (RPM). It loses to solid-state drives in terms of speed, but then again, the raw storage space is plenty.
The 15.6″ non-touch widescreen supports a 1366×768 resolution. For everyday use it’s fine, but I know many people expect Full HD resolution from their notebooks. For this price, however, it rarely happens.
Operating system is unsurprisingly Windows 8.1 (64-bit edition).
Briefly on gaming
Toshiba C55-B5356 offers an integrated Intel HD 4400 for rendering the graphics. It’s somewhat better chip than the common Intel HD 4000 – but the difference isn’t great enough to dub this model a real gaming card either. For lighter games like Minecraft you’ll surely get smooth frame rates on higher settings, but heavier 2013-2014 titles like Assassin’s Creed IV would probably run around 30 FPS with settings turned low.
There’s a regular 10/100Mbps Ethernet port available on the laptop for wired connection. A WiFi adapter is also installed. However, Bluetooth 4.0 isn’t supported by default. You’d have to use an inexpensive USB dongle to get your teeth blue.
Connecting peripherals to the Toshiba is possible through its one USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports. You may also use external monitors like HDTV with it since the laptop features HDMI and VGA outputs.
A DVD burner and a media card reader for SD, SDHC, SDXC, miniSD, microSD and MMC formats are available.
The laptop is listed as having a HD webcam and microphone, so video calls and meetings are possible on it.
Any other things to keep in mind?
The portability of Toshiba C55-B5356 tends to be typical for a 15 incher. The weight is 4.85 pounds, an average (or slightly less) for laptops of this size. Battery life isn’t directly listed which doesn’t surprise me: The life of a 4-cell battery isn’t usually that good and should give around 4 hours running time at best. In addition, the battery is not user replaceable.
The keyboard doesn’t have backlight feature, but contains the standard 10-key numeric pad on right.
Of the programs (bloatware) that’s installed on the system, at least MS Office 365 and Norton Internet Security 30-day trials are probably worthy of keeping.
Toshiba C55-B5356 is a laptop for somebody who enjoys increased performance from rock-bottom Chromebooks and other budget subnotebooks. The Toshiba’s Core i5 CPU and 8GB RAM are quite a powerful combo, allowing for some demanding applications, including occasional gaming with settings turned low to medium. Connectivity and mobility are no better or worse than its competitors. If you want a solid laptop without paying an arm and leg, for around 500 bucks this Toshiba is probably worthy of buying.