Toshiba brand is well known from their budget laptop models. Perhaps because of cheap prices their notebooks are often featured on best selling lists. Toshiba Satellite C55-B5300 is one such popular notebook, offering enough core performance for web browsing and Office type use. But does it work well for heavier stuff, for people with demanding applications and perhaps even games? A good question which we’ll try to answer in this review.
The price of Toshiba Satellite C55-B5300 is very low. It’s almost the same than cheapest Chromebooks. So you can’t expect a notebook full of performance and fancy features. Indeed, the core components in this laptop belong to the entry-level category. The processor is Intel Celeron N2840, a late 2014 dual-core model offering 2.16GHz base frequency and 2.58GHz turbo feature. Celeron is synonymous for a low end chip, and this is verified by various benchmarks. CPU Mark, for example, gives this processor around 1000 points whereas next level Core i3s receive around 2.5 times that. In real life, this means suitability for lightweight tasks (web surfing to name one), but not for heavyweight software (video rendering as an example).
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5300 has 4GB DDR3L (1333MHz) memory. There should be just one memory slot all in all, so the 4GB is installed on one stick. It’s enough for most home users, but I can understand that many desire to upgrade the RAM. The thing is, Toshiba says the memory is not user replaceable, but that is not true. I’m sure people have been removing bottom cover and replacing the RAM on this model. It accepts up to 8GB memory stick.
The hard drive is a standard 500GB 5400RPM SATA model. You could theoretically store around 100,000 JPEG photos (assuming 5MB size) there, so space is plenty for many users. Another thing is the performance which is never great on these traditional hard drives. You are free to replace the installed hard drive for a solid state drive if you prefer faster transfer rates. Any 2.5″ internal SSD should do, like the Crucial MX100 or Samsung 850 EVO.
Display and gaming
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5300 contains a glossy 15.6″ display. The resolution is 1366×768 as expected. It doesn’t offer as much screen estate as Full HD displays but I wouldn’t care if I was just surfing the web and doing other things not related to graphics/video editing or gaming. It is not touch ready, so you must use the pre-loaded Windows 8.1 (64-bit) with trackpad and keyboard.
Gaming is probably the last thing you’d want to do with this notebook. It has the Intel HD (Bay Trail) integrated graphics unit ready to run your games. But sadly, that unit is a very slow one. Many 2014-2015 games would struggle with the Intel HD, and I bet types like GTA 5 would be unplayable no matter what settings you used. Titles with little system requirements, such as Sims 4, Diablo 3 and Minecraft would run fine but only on low details and 1366×768 resolution.
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5300 has connections typical to a budget laptop: all the necessary stuff is there but nothing extra. For example, USB setup is two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0. VGA (RGB) and HDMI outputs allow to plug in a monitor or HDTV.
Network adapters include 802.11b/g/n WiFi and 100Mbps RJ-45 port. It doesn’t look like Bluetooth is supported, but a simple USB dongle can be always used for that.
There’s a built-in DVD writer for reading and burning CDs and DVDs (no Blu-Ray). You can also insert SD and MMC cards to the reader in front.
A basic HD webcam and microphone are included so Skype video calls are possible.
Something else to keep in mind?
Toshiba Satellite C55-B5300 weighs 4.9 pounds, similar to what competing 15.6″ notebooks are. The unit comes with a 4-cell 32Wh battery that seems to last the usual 3-4 hours. Manual says it’s not user replaceable, but I’m sure a knowledgeable person can remove it just like the RAM.
The laptop has a standard (non-backlit) keyboard with a 10-key pad on the right.
Summing it up
Like somebody put it, Toshiba Satellite C55-B5300 is an excellent light duty notebook. You’ll find its Celeron processor and 4GB RAM enough for most tasks in office and home, also including the entertainment side of watching movies from streaming services. There are no fancy features in it (although DVD drive is still included), but you can’t expect more than the basics for the price. If your computer time doesn’t consist of anything more than simple activities, getting a more expensive notebook than this Toshiba doesn’t make a lot of sense.