Toshiba Satellite C55-B5100 is one of the best selling new release laptops. There must be a reason to this, and I can see at least one: the low price. The notebook costs only a little and seems to offer enough power for simple tasks, including web browsing and video services such as Netflix. But is there more this laptop could offer to you? Moreover, does a good but cheap computer even exist? Let’s find out…
As expected, the performance of Toshiba Satellite C55-B5100 is not top notch. It contains Intel Celeron N2840, an entry-level dual-core chip of 2.2GHz clock frequency and 2.6GHz turbo. It gets 1000 points in Passmark tests which is rather low, meaning it’s mostly just the lightweight applications that run well on this computer. Many games and complex programs would end up with too much lag, but that’s common for all budget laptops.
4GB DDR3L (1333MHz) RAM is installed by default. It’s said to be “not user upgradable” in the manual, but technically you can still put a 8GB stick there. However, we’ve received reports from users saying that after upgrading to 8GB memory the laptop won’t boot up. So it’s probable 4GB RAM is the only option for this notebook.
The hard drive is 500GB 5400RPM model, offering a good basic storage for everyday computing. It’s not very fast unit and if you want to speed up your notebook, a swap to SSD is good idea. It’s possible with basically every laptop, so I don’t think this Toshiba would be any different.
Graphics and display
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5100 display is 15.6″ big and features 1366×768 resolution, just like these budget screens often do. It has no touch support, so Windows 8.1 64-bit must be used with the built-in trackpad and keyboard (or external USB ones).
There’s a graphics engine in the laptop, yes, but it’s a very, very slow chip. Dubbed Intel HD (Bay Trail) it can run only light games with playable frame rates. Minecraft, Counter-Strike: Go and Starcraft 2 will work on low details. However, most 2014-2015 titles would have too low FPS even with all eye candy stripped off.
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5100 features two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port so you can plug in several peripherals. An external monitor or HDTV can be connected too, the laptop has HDMI and VGA (RGB) outputs for that.
For networking the laptop has a 10/100Mbps RJ-45 port and basic 802.11b/g/n WiFi. Out of the box, Bluetooth 4.0 works as well.
The notebook contains a DVD burner and SD/MMC memory card reader. There’s also an HD webcam and microphone good for Skype video meetings.
Other noteworthy things
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5100 weighs 4.9 pounds, not much for a 15-inch model. The 4-cell 32Wh battery has been reported to last for 4-5 hours on web surfing.
The keyboard does not light up on this model. Product images reveal there’s a dedicated numpad on the keyboard’s right hand side.
If you’re not a power user, the performance of Toshiba Satellite C55-B5100 might satisfy you. It has entry-level components such as Celeron CPU and 500GB hard drive good for basic programs and very lightweight games. The screen is a regular 15.6″ one without touchscreen support, although it’s good enough to get you started with the computer. Connections including one USB 3.0 and HDMI out should be sufficient. “Not lighting fast but gets the job done”, as somebody put it, describes the laptop well. If that is enough for you, go for this Toshiba. It won’t set you back a lot of money, that’s for certain.