The Bottom Line
Jul 29 2013 - Toshiba has put out a very interesting option for those wanting a high resolution laptop that features a touchscreen at a relatively affordable price point with the Satellite P55t-A5202. For most people, it will work just fine provide enough performance for what they want to do. The downside is that there are a number of compromises to make it affordable including a larger overall size than the competition, less running time and a dimmer screen. Even with these downsides, many may view it as a solid option if they don't want to deal with lower resolution screens.
- High Resolution Touchscreen Display
- Affordable For Features
- Screen Is Darker With Slightly Off Color
- Smaller Battery Limits Running Time
- Relatively Large Considering Features
- Intel Core i5-4200U Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 750GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Dual Layer DVD Burner
- 15.6" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With 720p Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4400 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Card Reader
- 15.2" x 9.9" x 1.2" @ 5.3 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Toshiba Satellite P55t-A5202
Jul 29 2013 - Toshiba's Satellite P55t-A5202 is an exclusive model to Best Buy that is a relatively affordable laptop with a few surprises. The system carries a mix of aluminum on the display back and keyboard deck with traditional plastics for the lower portion of the laptop that gives it a nice overall look. The rear of the laptop lid has rounded corners while the front is more squared which can get owners turned around the first time they try to open it up. The system keeps fairly traditional dimensions with a 1.2-inch thickness but it is lighter than the previous Satellite P series laptop at just 5.3 pounds.
Powering the Satellite P55t-A5202 is the new Intel Core i5-4200U dual core processor. This is a lower end of the new processors and is more akin to the lower clock speed 3rd generation processors found in ultrabooks. Overall, it provides the performance very similar to that of a Core i5-3537U but it is faster in some tasks. Overall, it should handle most tasks without too much problem but it will lag behind more powerful processors in demanding tasks like desktop video work. The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory which provides a smooth overall experience with Windows 8.
Since this is a lower cost laptop, Toshiba relies on traditional hard drive for storage. In this case, it uses a 750GB hard drive with the traditional 5400rpm spin rate. The result is fairly slow compared to most of the newer systems that use some form of caching with solid state drives but at least it provides lots of storage space for applications, data and media files. Booting into Windows took roughly twenty-seven seconds to complete which is typical for many laptops with this type of storage. If you do need additional storage space, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external hard drives. The only downside is that they are on the front right hand side which can get in the way for those that use an external mouse with the laptop. The system does also include a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
The big surprise for the Satellite P55t-A5202 is the display. For a laptop in this price range it is uncommon to find one with a native resolution of 1920x1080 but it also is a touchscreen as well. This provides it with a very detailed image that provides a much more detailed image. The screen is a bit darker than average and could use some better color but many people will probably overlook this fact. The graphics for the system are handled by the updated Intel HD Graphics 4400 that are built into the Core i5 processor. While this is an improved offering from Intel, it still doesn't provide it with much additional 3D performance where it is really only suited for playing older 3D games are lower resolution and detail levels but don't really consider it for more modern and demanding games. It does offer an improved ability to encode media files when used with Quick Sync compatible applications.
The keyboard for the Satellite P55t uses an isolated design layout. The function key row is a bit different with them being used for special function keys like adjusting brightness, volume and media requiring the use of the Fn key to have them work as F1 through F12. It does feature a full numeric keypad. The keys use a soft touch coating which were comfortable but my fingers tended to slide into neighboring keys from time to time. The biggest issue with accuracy is from the very short throws on the keys themselves but the keyboard was quite solid with almost no detected flex. The trackpad is of a nice size and uses integrated buttons which was a bit annoying at times. The one problem was that accidental brushes of the trackpad would happen from time to time while typing that caused the cursor to jump. Multitouch gestures worked well but most will probably use the touchscreen instead.
Toshiba elected to use a smaller 43WHr capacity rated battery with the Satellite P55t-A5202 likely to help keep the weight down. This is smaller than your typical laptop in this size range. In digital video playback testing, the system was able to run for just under five hours before going into standby mode. This is good considering the size of the battery and is likely attributed to the new power features of the 4th generation Intel processor. The downside is that this is less than many of the other laptops with similar features. It also still falls behind the class leading Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Retina Display that achieves seven hours but also is much more expensive.
Priced at $780, the Toshiba Satellite P55t-A5202 is one of the more affordable 15-inch laptops with touchscreens on the market. Some of the closest competitors in this space would be the Acer Aspire R7, Dell Inspiron 15R Touch and Samsung ATIV Book 5. Now all of these are priced more than the Toshiba laptop by either around one to two hundred dollars. The Acer Aspire R7 offers a similar high resolution touchscreen display with its ability to convert to a tablet but it uses an older processor, has a smaller hard drive and an even shorter battery life. Dell's Inspiron 15R offers a similar base level of performance but comes with a larger hard drive and longer running times but has a much lower resolution display. Finally, Samsung's ATIV Book 5 is smaller and lighter with much longer running times but comes with less memory, hard drive space, no optical drive and a lower resolution display.