It’s always a pleasure to take a look at Toshiba products. In my book, they are similar to Acers: offering good performance with affordable price. Toshiba Satellite S55T-B5150 is one of their latest power laptops, boasting premium components like Core i7 CPU and a 256GB solid state drive. The cost seems to be rather low, so a question must be asked: are there some hidden drawbacks you should know about? We’ll find that out below…
The Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor certainly isn’t a drawback. On the contrary, it’s one of the best things in this laptop. It’s a quad-core CPU with clock frequency varying between 2.6 and 3.6GHz (the latter with turbo speed on). It’s many times faster than common processors you see in cheaper laptops. For example, the i7-4720HQ gets a high 8300 grade in CPU Passmark tests while Core i3s get around 2500. Indeed, the i7 is one of the fastest notebook processors, and virtually no application would slow it down.
Toshiba Satellite S55T-B5150 has 12GB RAM. It’s not unheard of, but still quite a rare amount: laptops usually ship with 4 or 8GB memory. It’s said on the notebook specifications that RAM is not user upgradeable. However, I’ve seen people commenting they added memory to their Toshiba Satellites despite the specifications stating otherwise. So it’s very possible you could increase the RAM to 16GB on this model as well. Whether it makes sense is entirely different thing. If you ask me, the current twelve gigabytes is enough for everybody.
Another premium thing in this Toshiba is the storage drive. See, it’s not a mechanical hard drive, but a true solid-state drive. You won’t get a terabyte storage, but a very fast, durable and modern drive instead. Programs should open very fast on it, and people commented the system itself boots in around 5 seconds. The space is 256GB, so less than on a hard drive, and you’ll be at ~200GB after pre-installed Windows 8.1 & required updates.
Display and screen
Toshiba Satellite S55T-B5150 has a touchscreen, sized at 15.6 inches. The resolution is just 1366×768, perhaps a small drawback, especially because some other laptops in this price range sport a Full HD screen. However, people who purchased this notebook said the screen is bright and has good colors. So despite the less than optimal resolution, it should work fine for casual users at least.
The integrated Intel HD 4600 is so-so for gaming. Titles easy on the system, like Minecraft or Trackmania, will work fine with higher resolutions. Games that require a beefy computer, such as Battlefield 4, will average +30FPS if you keep settings and resolution lowish. And if you want to boost FPS on Minecraft you can always use the popular Optifine mod.
The notebook features three USB ports, and it looks like two of those are USB 3.0. Good enough considering some pricier models contain only one USB 3.0. A HDMI output is offered, and through it you can enjoy this laptop on a Full HD monitor, like your HDTV or desktop display. VGA output is missing unlike in many other Toshiba Satellites, but in 2015 it shouldn’t be a problem.
Nothing about networking can be complained about. You’ll get a Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) adapter, a dual-band A/C WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 support.
Optical drive is non-existent on Toshiba Satellite S55T-B5150, a trend amongst modern laptops. To overcome this, you must either use external DVD drive (one that connects to USB 3.0) or download your applications from Internet. If you have memory cards, the built-in SD/MMC card reader can be used as well.
The laptop’s HD webcam and microphone work with Skype video and other similar programs.
Any other things to keep in mind?
Compared to other 15.6″ models, Toshiba Satellite S55T-B5150 doesn’t weigh a lot, just 4.85 pounds. It has a 4-cell battery which is nothing special. You should reach ~4 hours on light use, like web browsing.
People praised the keyboard for being intuitive. Its keys are illuminated and there’s a 10-key pad on the right.
Even though this Toshiba is a high-end model, I’m afraid it comes with pre-loaded software, also known as bloatware. It probably slows the system down a bit, so you might want to uninstall those programs right after receiving this computer.
Toshiba Satellite S55T-B5150 seems to offer good price-performance ratio. For the money, you’ll get a very very fast i7-4710HQ processor, 12GB RAM and a quick-to-boot solid-state drive. You won’t be getting dedicated graphics, but the HD 4600 integrated unit is good enough for many games to run, if only on low settings. Connections are great with two USB 3.0 ports and premium A/C WiFi. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be many bad things about the computer. By choosing this Toshiba you’ll most likely get full value for your money.