The Bottom Line
Sep 16 2013 - While many of the companies are moving their budget systems to less powerful but more energy efficient platforms, Toshiba has elected to keep with traditional laptop features in the Satellite C55-A5246. This means the system is larger but it offers higher performance and an optical drive that many are removing. The big difference here though is a larger hard drive. The system does have its downsides though including a keyboard with a bit too much flex and it being a bit thicker and heavier than many other 15-inch budget laptops.
- Large Hard Drive
- Better Performance From Standard Power Mobile Processor
- Keyboard Has Significant Flex
- A Bit Heavier and Thicker Than Competition
- Intel Core i3-3210M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 750GB 7400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Dual Layer DVD Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) Display With VGA Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 Integrated Graphics
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- One USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 15" x 9.5" x 1.4" @ 5.4 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Toshiba Satellite C55-A5246NR
Sep 16 2013 - Toshiba's Satellite C55-A5246NR has retained much of the basic look and feel of past Satellite C models. The laptop features a black satin finish on it with a lined pattern that does a good job of hiding fingerprints and smudges while still giving that traditional laptop look. The system is a bit thick and heavy when compared to many of the newer budget class laptops but the system doesn't sacrifice performance and features for portability.
The system is powered by the relatively old Intel Core i3-3210M dual core mobile processor that is still based on the Ivy Bridge core. While it may not be as efficient as the newer Haswell based chips, performance is still quite good especially for a laptop in this price range. It should be able to handle any type of application that a user might want to do but it may not be as fast as more expensive systems that feature the Core i5 dual core or the quad core processors. The system features 4GB of DDR3 memory which provides a smooth overall experience in Windows 8 but those that want to use it for something like video work should consider upgrading it to 8GB of memory.
The one area that sets the Toshiba Satellite C55-A5246NR apart from the competition is teh storage. It still uses a traditional hard drive instead of the faster solid state drives but it comes with a 750GB capacity that gives it fifty percent more storage space than the average laptop in this class with its 500GB drive. Performance from the added drive density is a bit improved with the average boot time into the Windows 8 operating system taking around twenty seconds. If you do happen to need additional storage space, there is a USB 3.0 port for use with high speed external drives. It would have been nice if this was on the left side rather than the right as this can get in the way of people who use an external mouse. Bucking the trend, Toshiba does include a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
The display for the Toshiba Satellite C55 uses a standard 15.6-inch LCD panel with a native resolution of 1366x768 which is so common to laptops in this price range. The color and brightness are decent but viewing angles are a bit limited on the vertical axis with pretty strong color shifting if it is pushed back or forward a bit. The graphics are powered by the Intel HD Graphics 4000 that are built into the Core i3 processor. This provides is still not a very strong 3D graphics processor such that the system can't really be used for PC gaming beyond playing older games at low resolution and detail levels. What it does provide though is very nice acceleration of media encoding when used with Quick Sync enabled applications.
The battery pack for the Toshiba Satellite C55 uses the same six cell battery pack with a 48WHr capacity that has been found in past models. In digital video playback testing, the system was able to run for three and three quarter hours before going into standby mode. This pretty much falls into the average running time for a laptop of this size, features and battery size. In terms of laptops in this price range, the Dell Inspiron 15 runs up to four and a quarter hours but it does use a lower power ultrabook class processor instead of a traditional power mobile processor.
While most companies have moved to the isolated keyboard designs, Toshiba has elected to use a more traditional flat key design that does not have space between the keys. This gives the keyboard a very different feel which may be a bit awkward for those used to the isolated layouts but some may prefer it. It is a decent keyboard but had a bit too much flex in the middle portion which can affect accuracy. The trackpad also bucks the trend by begin a bit on the small side which is also impacted by having dedicated buttons. This made using the trackpad a bit more difficult but it was pretty accurate and still handled Windows 8 multitouch gestures.
Price right at $500, the Toshiba Satellite C55-A5246 is right at the upper price range for a budget laptop. With its features, the primary competition comes from the HP Pavilion 15 and Samsung Series 3 NP355V5C. Both of the systems feature an AMD A6 processor rather than the Intel which means that they have less general performance but higher graphics performance. Other things they offer are two USB 3.0 ports and a slightly thinner and lighter design but it isn't a big difference. Of course, Toshiba does offer a larger hard drive than both.