Toshiba is known for cheap but useful laptops. They’ve lately released yet new model, this time called Toshiba Satellite C55-B5101. That notebook follows the same pricing strategy – inexpensive – which has proved to work well with previous models. But how’s the case with this new release? Can even Toshiba create a decent laptop for this low price? Let’s see…
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5101 is powered by the Intel Celeron N2840 processor. That chip has two cores, 2.2GHz clock speed and 2.6GHz turbo. Those specs are not bad on paper, but in real life the performance is rather low. The N2840 receives around 1000 points in CPU Mark tests, whereas power efficient Core i3s get ~2500. However, the performance the N2840 offers is sufficient for simple things like web browsing and even video streaming. On the other hand, playing many 2014-2015 games would be too much for it.
The laptop has 4GB DDR3L memory installed. I consider 4GB the minimum acceptable amount these days. It is good for the aforementioned tasks, the system shouldn’t lag on light activities. And if you want more memory you’ll be glad to know 8GB is supported. However, as there is only 1 memory slot in total, you have to remove the 4GB module first.
The 500GB 5400RPM hard drive lets you store a lot of data (~100 000 images for example) on the computer, although compared to pricier models it’s both slow and small in storage. If you’re worried about the performance swapping the hard drive for an SSD should be possible.
Display and graphics
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5101 has a no frills display. Sized at 15.6 inches, it features 1366×768 resolution. That kind of a setup works for browsing and even watching some videos, but of course many people are used to Full HD and want nothing less. In that case though, you’d have to pay much more than this. Touch support is not enabled, you’ll have to use the Windows 8.1 with keyboard and trackpad.
The graphics engine, called Intel HD (Bay Trail), is integrated in the Celeron processor. Sad news for gamers, it’s a very poor engine, only capable of running very lightweight titles. For example, types like Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed are too much for this Intel HD. On the other hand, games such as Minecraft, Sims 4 and Counter-Strike: Go will work fine at least on low details.
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5101 comes with three USB ports, one of them being USB 3.0 (on the right, identified by a blue connector). With the HDMI output you can plug in an HD television or a PC monitor.
Networking interfaces include a 10/100Mbps RJ-45 port and 802.11b/g/n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 card.
DVD burner is installed on the left hand side. There’s also SD/MMC card reader for transferring stuff from digital cameras and such.
The laptop sports a webcam and microphone that can be used with Skype video.
Some other things to keep in mind?
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5101 weighs 4.85 pounds, which I consider average (or perhaps bit below) of 15.6″ laptops. In addition, it has a thickness of 1.05 inches. The 4-cell Li-ion battery should be a good one on this model, giving around 6 hours of use with WiFi browsing.
The keyboard offers no backlit keys, although there’s a numpad installed on the right hand side.
I’d call Toshiba Satellite C55-B5101 a starter laptop. It has a basic Celeron processor, 4GB RAM and 15.6″ low resolution screen good for everyday activities in homes or maybe small offices. Gaming and heavier stuff won’t really work on it, but that’s of course true for any laptop this cheap. So, if you don’t require a lot of power but value inexpensive price more, I’d say you have a good reason to get this simple Toshiba notebook.