The Bottom Line
Apr 15 2013 - Toshiba's Satellite L955D is a thinner and lighter version of their AMD based 15.-inch laptop. Performance does drop by a small amount due to the move to lower voltage parts but on the whole it is better than low voltage Intel options because of its four CPU cores. With extra memory and storage space, it will be very appealing to many. The downside is the thinner profile mainly comes from a smaller battery which provides below average battery life and the performance is going to be below the traditional Intel dual core Core i3 laptops.
- Larger Hard Drive And Memory
- Improved Integrated Graphics
- Thinner Profile With Less Weight
- Below Average Battery Life
- Still Slower Than Traditional Intel Processors
- AMD A8-4555M Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) Display With 1.0 Megapixel Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 7600G Integrated Graphics
- Fast Ehternet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Two USb 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 15" x 10.3" x .97" @ 5 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Toshiba Satellite L955D-S5140NR
Apr 15 2013 - The Toshiba Satellite L955D is the latest of the AMD based low cost but full featured laptops. The design is very similar to the past Satellite L855D but it has undergone some significant changes to the body. First off, it is now under an inch thick and weighs a good quarter pound less than the past model making it more portable. In order to achieve this, they did have to make some internal changes as well.
Powering the Toshiba Satellite L955D-S5140NR is an updated quad core AMD A8-4555M processor. This is actually a lower voltage version similar to the A8-4500M that was found in the L855D previously. It runs at a slightly lower clock speed but combined with the 6GB of memory, it offers better multitasking support than your average budget class laptop. It still falls behind traditional Core i3 based laptops but does offer a bit of an improvement over the dual core low voltage Core i3 processors that are starting to become common. Overall, it should provide enough performance for the average user that primarily uses the system to browse the web, watch media and use a few productivity applications.
The majority of laptops in the $500 price point use a 500GB hard drive for their storage. Toshiba has elected to use a 640GB drive that provides it with over a quarter more storage than its competition. The drive still spins at a 5400rpm rate which means that performance is still not the greatest with average boot times taking just under half a minute. If you do need additional space, the laptop features two USB 3.0 ports on the right hand side. This is a bit odd placement as it means cables can get in the way of an external mouse. Even with its thin overall profile, there still is a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media
The 15.6-inch display is your common TN based panel that seems to be used in just about every low cost laptop these days. It features a 1366x768 native resolution that seems really low compared to most tablets. Color is decent but there is a large amount of contrast lost especially on the vertical viewing angles. The graphics are powered by the AMD Radeon HD 7600G graphics that are built into the A8 processor. What is interesting is that there are more graphics cores on this compared to the A8-4500M's graphics but they run at a lower clock speed. The result is the capability of playing some games up to the full native resolution but on lower detail levels. This is something that isn't quite possible with Intel's HD Graphics cores. It also offers a greater range of acceleration for non-3D applications.
The keyboard design is pretty much identical to that found in the past Satellite L855D. It is a isolated style that features a full layout including numeric keypad. The right had shift, enter and backspace keys are a nice large size. Like the past model, it still feels a bit soft but overall offers a good level of accuracy. The trackpad is also a similar design that is slightly recessed with dedicated left and right mouse buttons rather than integrated ones. It seems to handle the Windows 8 multitouch gestures without problem.
With a lower voltage processor and a goal for a thinner laptop profile, the battery for the Satellite L955D is now a smaller four cell with a capacity rating of 45WHr which is a little under 10% the rating of the older model. In digital video playback testing, the system was able to run for just over three and a quarter hours before going into standby mode. This puts it roughly the same as the last model with its more powerful processor and larger battery but certainly much lower than your standard budget class laptop. HP's Envy Sleekbook 6 is able to run for over five hours and Dell's latest Inspiron 15 is able to run for four and a quarter hours.
Toshiba lists the price for the Satellite L955D-S5140NR at $540 but it is possible to find this for just under $500. There are two types of competitors for the laptop. The first is those with similar AMD processor and graphics. The closest in these terms is the Acer Aspire V3-551G. It uses the A8-4500M but also uses dedicated Radeon HD 7670M graphics for improved 3D performance. The trade off is less RAM, storage space in a larger and heavier package for roughly the same price. The other competition comes from similarly thin and light designs. Dell's Inspiron 15 is a good alternative in this sense as it has similar dimensions and weight. It is based on the Intel Core i3 rather than AMD so it offers less in terms of graphics performance but it can also be found for anywhere from $50 to $100 less than the Toshiba.