15.6″ Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5308 via Amazon
Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5308 is a new popular and low price 15.6 inch laptop with regular simple specs for those on a budget, to use as a stable machine with Windows 8.1 operating system for daily work at the office or school and entertainment at home: AMD E1-2100, 4GB memory and 500 GB hard drive along with a good number of ports including DVD optical drive, HDMI port and a USB 3.0 port so you can’t really expect a lot of performance for demanding tasks but it is still a lot of value for money. Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5308 is offered with the dual core AMD E1-2100 processor that is clocked at 1.0 GHz fixed speed with no turbo boost or hyper threading so you have two cores and two threads in parallel to handle basic multimedia and office tasks with ease but not the very complex stuff, 4GB DDR3L SDRAM at 1600MHz that is not user upgradeable but adequate for regular multitasking power, 500GB SATA hard drive at 5400rpm rotating speed as ample storage space with fast read and write times and 64-bit Windows 8.1 OS as stable platform for multimedia, Microsoft Office, web browsing etc. and that should be replaced by Windows 10 for free later in 2015.
15.6 inch TruBrite LED-backlit TFT high-definition widescreen display with native 1366 x 768 pixel resolution and 16:9 image aspect ratio provides bright, sharp and clear picture quality and lush visuals for when you’re streaming videos in 720p HD resolution or playing light games and this is helped by the integrated AMD Radeon HD 8210 graphics card which doesn’t support the latest advanced games or very complex multimedia tasks. It is nice to have the DVD SuperMulti drive (not many modern day computers do) which allows you to play songs and videos from CDs or DVDs and you’ll find a front-facing high definition webcam with an integrated digital microphone for live video chats on Skype or video conferences with colleagues. Stereo speakers on top of the keyboard dock and DTS Studio Sound offer decent quality sound- probably a bit more than what one might expect from such a budget PC.
Textured resin finish with solid plastic in jet black Toshiba Satellite has a stylish and premium design for its price level, weighs 4.85 pounds and has the dimensions of 10.2 14.96 x 1.02 inches- relatively slim and lightweight for portability as it will easily fit into any briefcase or backpack. Battery life should be around 4 to 5 hours from its 4 cell/32Wh lithium ion battery for daily tasks. Keyboard is standard and full size with 10-key numeric pad to work comfortably on numeric data such as accounting data, tax returns or spreadsheets. There is no Bluetooth by default but a Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support, 802.11bgn wireless, 10/100 Ethernet LAN with RJ-45 connector, an HDMI output to connect to large screen HDTVs or monitors, an RGB port, 6-in-1 Media Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, miniSD, microSD and MMC formats), 1 x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, Security lock slot, 3.5mm combo jack for headphones and microphone and Security lock slot.
Conclusion: Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5308 is a modern basic things computer with decent specs and features and quite a basic price. The AMD E1-2100 processor with a Passmark benchmark score of 608 on the day of this review and at 1 GHz speed (no hyper threading and no turbo function) is not really special if you’re on the market for a computer that will handle more complex stuff than common daily tasks like net surfing, word processing, video watching, music playing and don’t expect to play any of the latest 3D games on it but you can still play older titles at low to medium resolutions and settings. It comes with a variety of software like Adobe Reader, 1 month trial version of Microsoft Office and some you would consider as unnecessary and uninstall to get more speed and performance out of your machine. Lack of Bluetooth is not a big deal as you can get a cheap USB Bluetooth dongle and connect it to one of the USB ports provided. We like that it comes with an optical drive and regular good capacity hard drive along with all the modern and useful connectivity options to make your life easier on a daily basis and still manages to be lightweight and slim for portability if you’re out and about a lot. So as long as you’re on a tight budget and not intending to spend more on a computer, you really can’t go wrong with this Toshiba.