The Bottom Line
Aug 9 2012 - Toshiba's Satellite L855D-S5242 uses the update AMD APU with its Radeon HD 7640G integrated graphics which does still outperform even the new Intel HD graphics in a large number of cases. This combined with the above average hard drive and memory sizes will really appeal to those on a budget but needing to run a lot of applications simultaneously. The problem is that the battery life issues still haven't quite been resolved yet as it provides a below average running time. In addition, for more basic computing tasks, Intel's dual core processors still have a slight edge.
- Larger Hard Drive And Memory
- Improved Integrated Graphics
- Quad Core AMD Processor Still Trails Dual Core Intel Offerings In Many Situations
- Below Average Battery Life
- AMD A8-4500M Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) Display With VGA Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 7640G Integrated Graphics
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 15" x 9.5" x 1.3" @ 5.3 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, Norton Internet Security
Review - Toshiba Satellite L855D-S5242
Aug 9 2012 - Toshiba recently released the Satellite L855D as an upgrade to the past AMD Fusion based Satellite L755D. There are a few cosmetic changes to the system but for the most part looks very similar to the old model. More importantly, they have updated the processor to the new AMD A8-4500M quad core processor. This adds a bit more efficiency to CPU but the main advantage here is for those users that are looking to multitask on the system. Combine this with 6GB of memory and it does a great job of running multiple applications. Now, it still falls short of Intel's dual core processors when it comes to running single or less demanding applications which may be something to consider.
While many low cost laptops feature 500GB hard drives, Toshiba has included a larger 640GB hard drive with the Satellite L855D-S5242. This gives it extra space for those that have more applications, data and media files. The drive does spin at the 5400rpm spin rate which means that it isn't as responsive as slightly more expensive systems that might use 7200rpm spin rate hard drives, solid state drives or some sort of hybrid or SSD cache. If you do require additional space, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage devices. A dual layer DVD burner is included for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
One advantage of the AMD Fusion platform is the integrated graphics. In the case of the A8-4500M, this is a Radeon HD 7640G. In terms of 3D performance, it is certainly a step up from Intel's HD Graphics platform. It still isn't going to be as strong as a true dedicated graphics processor but it does offer sufficient performance for casual PC gaming up to the full native resolution of 1366x768 for older or less demanding games and lower resolution and detail levels for newer ones. It also has the advantage of being able to accelerate more non-3D applications than the Intel solution which just excels at transcoding video with compatible applications.
The past Satellite L755D used a more traditional keyboard but Toshiba decided to move to the isolated design for the Satellite L855D. The layout is quite nice with large right hand enter and shift keys and a full numeric keypad. The only downside is that the keyboard feels a bit soft but many buyers may get used to that over time. The trackpad retains the dimpled texture in a recessed area with dedicated right and left buttons. This is nice as it is much more accurate for right and left clicks than the integrated buttons found on many new laptops.
Toshiba equips the Satellite L855D with a standard size six cell battery pack with a 48WHr capacity rating. This is the standard size battery on pretty much every budget laptop on the market. In my digital video playback tests, the laptop was able to run for three and a quarter hours before going into standby mode. This is about a quarter hour less than the typical Intel based budget laptop with similar battery and nearly three quarters of an hour less than the new Dell Inspiron 15R with the energy efficient Ivy Bridge processor.