The Bottom Line
Dec 11 2012 - Toshiba's Satellite S855-S5378 epitomizes the average 15-inch laptop. It is a decent overall computer but doesn't have any particular features that really set it apart from the competition. In fact, this model sacrifices a 3D graphics processor for slightly higher performance processor. This is held back slightly by its slower hard drive. It is best suited for those looking to do desktop video editing work that can really pick up the performance from the quad core CPU and Quick Sync video but beyond that, there are some better options for other tasks.
- Fast Performance From Core i7 Processor
- Good Overall Build Quality
- Lacks Dedicated Graphics
- Hard Drive Holds Back System
- Intel Core i7-3630QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 750GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Reader
- 15" x 9.5" x 1.3" @ 5.5 lbs.
- Windows 8, Office Starter, Norton Internet Security
Review - Toshiba Satellite S855-S5378
Dec 11 2012 - The Toshiba Satellite S855 looks almost no different than what one would expect from either their Satellite L or P series laptops. On the exterior, it can be extremely difficult to tell them apart as they all feature the standard Toshiba logo and roughly the same shape. The interior is where they differ with the area over the keyboard and the trackpad being the ways to distinguish them. In terms of build quality it still uses mostly plastic and has a decent build quality but this isn't a premium system as its price is just $800. Weight is decent at five and a half pounds but it certainly feels large when compared to the huge influx of larger ultrabooks which sacrifice features for portability.
Powering the Toshiba Satellite S855-S5378 is an Intel Core i7-3630QM quad core processor. This combined with 8GB of DDR3 memory allow this system to power through just about any type of task. It is certainly deserving of the power and speed designation that Toshiba gives it among the various Satellite products. It even does particularly well with the demanding task of desktop video editing.
For the storage on the Satellite S855-S5378, Toshiba relies on a traditional hard drive rather than using a hybrid solution found on many ultrabooks. The 750GB hard drive provides a good amount of space but suffers somewhat in performance as it spins at the more modest 5400rpm rate. In cold boots of the Windows operating system, it took roughly thirty-five seconds to get into the operating system and roughly five seconds to wake from sleep. If you do need additional storage space, the system does have two USB 3.0 port for use with high speed external storage devices. It does feature a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
While the Toshiba Satellite S series is about power the S855-S5378 is certainly not that impressive when it comes to the graphics. The 15.6-inch display panel uses a very mediocre 1366x768 resolution which is typical of most low cost laptops but is very low resolution now for a 15-inch mid-range laptop. It does a decent job with color but the viewing angles and contrast could be better. The more disappointing aspect though is the graphics processor which relies on the Intel HD Graphics 4000 that are build into the Core i7 processor. This isn't surprising for a laptop around $800 in price but it means that the laptop isn't really suited to 3D applications. In addition, it lacks the ability to accelerate many non-3D applications. It does make up for this thought by accelerating media encoding when using Quick Sync compatible programs which is advantageous to those doing desktop video work.
The keyboard of the Toshiba Satellite S855 uses an isolated keyboard design that features a full numeric keypad. The layout itself is decent with full size shift and enter keys. The only real downside is that the keys are very flat and have a shallow range of travel considering the size of this laptop. It certainly isn't bad but not one of the better keyboards on the market either. The trackpad is in a small recessed area that is centered on the primary keyboard rather than the palmrest and uses a textured surface with dedicated left and right buttons rather than integrated ones. Multitouch support is decent and only trips up sometimes on some gestures.
Toshiba uses a standard 48WHr capacity battery pack for the Satellite S855 which is common to many laptops in this size and price range. In digital video playback testing, the system is able to run for three and a three quarter hours before going into standby mode. This is slightly better than average for this class range but certainly not long by any stretch. After all, the Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Retina achieves an outstanding seven hours in the same tests while being much smaller but with a much larger battery and equivalent price tag.
There are a number of similarly priced laptops that compete with the Toshiba Satellite S855 including the Acer Aspire V5, Dell Inspiron 15R, MSI CX61 and Samsung Series 5 NP550. The Acer is actually an ultrabook so it sacrifices performance for portability but still features a DVD burner. Dell's Inspiron 15R offers roughly the same features but with larger storage capacity at the cost of extra weight from its aluminum clad exterior. The MSI CX offers much higher performance as it features a dedicated 3D graphics engine and a high resolution display bit has less RAM and lesser build quality. Finally, Samsung has a slightly faster drive plus a low end dedicated graphics processor ut does cost more.