We’ve been reviewing a couple of refurbished laptops on Tech For Pennies before, and it was time to do it once again. This time the choice was Toshiba Satellite BC55-B5202, a 15 inch Celeron notebook hailing from Japan. You’ll find our honest opinion about this laptop below.
The dual-core Intel Celeron N2830 is responsible for the processing performance of Toshiba Satellite BC55-B5202. That CPU is known for its suitability only for lightweight use, because even the turbo speed of 2.4GHz won’t take it to same levels with capable Core i3 processors. For an entry-level laptop it’s good (and affordable) choice, just don’t expect too much performance for demanding software.
4GB DDR3 memory is installed on this system. It’s plenty for a budget notebook, although it’s not user replaceable type so more RAM can not be added even if you wanted to.
The storage solution is a regular 500GB hard drive with 5400RPM speed. Together with the low-end Celeron CPU the hard drive doesn’t give you the fastest user experience, but should suffice for everyday computing.
The screen measures at 15.6 inches and offers a 1366×768 resolution. Like I’ve said countless times before, that resolution is just fine for basic use, but professionals would definitely want to pick a Full HD laptop – which in turn costs much more than this Toshiba.
Operating system is Windows 8.1, the 64-bit version, however the screen is not a touch display so you won’t be enjoying all of Windows 8’s features on this notebook.
A word about gaming performance
Indeed, one can play games on Toshiba Satellite BC55-B5202. There’s a graphics chip called Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail) integrated in the processor that offers rudimentary performance for a limited selection of games.
Extensive benchmarks test have been made on this graphics engine, and they show that modern games, even lightweight ones like Fifa 14 on low settings, might have problems running on it. Heavier titles such as BF 4, X-Plane and Risen 3 are outright too much for this laptop. Old games like World of Warcraft and Minecraft should have FPS greater than 20 on low to medium settings.
The laptop features two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port. The right side also accommodates VGA and HDMI outs, so you can plug this notebook to a HDTV.
Internet access is attainable through 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN or 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. Bluetooth is not supported by default.
Sadly for some, Toshiba Satellite BC55-B5202 doesn’t come with an optical drive. You have to resort using an external DVD drive if you want to work with discs. There’s also no media card reader, so you have one way less to transfer data from digital cameras and other portable devices.
Other important things
Despite many missing features, the notebook still has a HD webcam and microphone for high quality video calls.
Some software is pre-installed, namely one month trials for MS Office 365 and Norton Internet Security.
Battery life isn’t listed anywhere, probably because it’s just the average 4 hours. The laptop weight is 4.85 pounds which is not heavy or light for a 15.6″ one.
Toshiba Satellite BC55-B5202 seems to be a stripped down laptop, a no-fluff computer in the word’s truest sense. It has enough power for simple home and office tasks, but Intel HD graphics together with Celeron processor limit the laptop’s suitability for gaming and demanding work. Also connectivity is worse than with average budget laptops. There are not many ways to transfer files to the computer since both optical drive and media card reader are missing.
The price is however rather lucrative, mainly because there’s the risk of refurbished item involved. There might be wear and tear, although from what I’ve seen there’s not usually any. However, due to its quirks in performance and connections I’m not going to recommend this laptop for everybody, but if you can get it for a rock-bottom price it might still be worth considering.