Toshiba Satellite L55-B5357, a 15.6″ laptop with high-end Core i7 processor. The computer’s been a best seller on Amazon so Toshiba must have done something right with it. But is the laptop really useful for you? Does it offer good bang for the buck? That’s what I’ll tell you in the review below.
Intel Core i7-4510U is the processor of Toshiba Satellite L55-B5357. It offers two cores and clock speed of 2.0GHZ. With turbo boost, the clock frequency is increased to 3.1GHz. The processor is very fast one, easily beating common Core i3s in benchmarks and real life applications. A casual user might find the Core i7 perhaps bit too much for his needs, but for those who plan to run some heavier software a high end unit like this is the right choice. In popular CPU Mark tests the processor gets 4000 points while low-end Celerons get only around 1000 so a lot of performance can indeed be expected.
8GB of DDR3 memory is installed by default. It seems to be soldered on the board, so even though the mainboard can take up to 16GB you can’t upgrade the RAM yourself. But I don’t find this a problem since eight gigabytes is about the maximum anyone would need. There’s not noticeable performance increase from going beyond that.
Hard drive space is plenty on this model. A full terabyte is offered which can be used to store all the multimedia files easily – photos in hundreds of thousands, movies in hundreds. The 5400RPM rate is a slight disadvantage since 7200RPM and especially solid-state drives operate a lot faster, contributing to better user experience. Of course an SSD can be planted in if you take the hard drive out first.
Screen and graphics
Laptop displays tend to be weak spots. Some users were commenting about Toshiba Satellite L55-B5357 screen quality, with complaints mostly about the resolution: a 1366×768 display is offered which might not please everybody. On a 15.6″ screen a Full HD would work nicely, but that would also mean a higher price tag. Also bear in mind the display is a non-touch model. Windows 8.1 64-bit must be used with keyboard and trackpad (or mouse) only, which in my opinion works flawlessly.
Graphics card is the good old Intel HD 4400. There’s enough power to run many games quite smoothly, although heavier titles require you to drop details and/or resolution. Battlefield 4, for example, should get a maximum 30FPS on low settings. Minecraft and other less fancy games would work much better. So if you’re not into the newest titles this laptop would also satisfy your occasional gaming needs.
Toshiba Satellite L55-B5357 has three USB ports (two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0). The other USB 3.0 seems to have a sleep and charge functionality, so charging devices is possible even when the laptop is in sleep mode. All in all, having two USB 3.0s is improvement from many notebooks that only feature one such port.
Plugging monitor or HDTV in should be convenient since both RGB (VGA) and HDMI outputs are available. Networking options are also all you need: a Gigabit Ethernet adapter, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 support.
There’s a fixed DVD burner in the Toshiba so you don’t have to rely on external drives. A memory card reader for SD and MMC formats is installed, too. The HD webcam can be used for video conferences and chats on Skype.
What else to keep in mind?
Toshiba Satellite L55-B5357 weighs 4.8 pounds, making it a bit lighter than 15 inchers usually are (5 to 5.5 pounds). Battery life is not officially available but users reported 4-5 hours. For this price it’s nothing to be ashamed of, although a road warrior might benefit from a longer battery life.
The keyboard is not backlit, something I don’t personally mind. A 10-key pad is installed on the right, offering fast access to number keys.
A 30-day anti-virus trial is installed. But that’s not all, there seems to be Toshiba bloatware pre-loaded, too. If it annoys you, uninstall them and the problem is gone.
Some notebooks are not known for their great performance but Toshiba Satellite L55-B5357 is. The Core i7 should be speedy enough for power users who’re not happy with sub-standard starter laptops. Advanced software (like image editors) and multitasking are piece of cake for this rig. Gaming is also possible although not ideal on an integrated chip, so don’t expect to play with all settings on. Low weight and multiple USB 3.0 ports are obvious advantages. If it was a Full HD model the Toshiba would be as good as a mid-range notebook gets. Now it’s not bad either, especially if you can do with the lower resolution screen. Check the laptop out, many people have left positive reviews about it.