An Inexpensive 15.6″ Laptop for students/home-use – Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5230

I have been using a Toshiba Laptop for the last three years (not this model though) and I am very happy with its performance / reliability. It’s because I like it,  I review Toshiba laptops more in my site. Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5230 is an inexpensive 15.6″ laptop for students, home-use and even office-use. I wouldn’t recommend it for gaming/high-performance applications, but it’s a very good laptop for light usage (browsing, email, office and other normal applications).

Striking advantage of Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5230 Laptop:

  • Low cost: This is perhaps the biggest advantage of this laptop and the fact that it comes with decent specs for normal usage makes it even more attractive. When you change this model for a newer one after 3-4 years, you’ll not feel guilty that you spent a whole fortune on your laptop and still need to upgrade it so soon! Any laptop needs to be changed after a few years, and changing this one will hurt you less. Because you spent a small amount of money to buy it, Wisely.
  • Good for normal use: At this price, it’s an excellent option for students, home-use, office-use, house wifes, grandmothers and almost everyone else, who want a laptop to be connected and do their online shopping. If you are already having a desktop and you want a portable notebook that you can carry around, this laptop is a good choice.
  • 15.6″ LCD Screen: 15.6″ is actually the right size for a laptop. I have a 13.3″ screen and feel that it’s quite small. A 17″ laptop might be better, but it will be difficult to carry. 15.6″ is the magical right-size for a laptop. The screen supports a decent 1366 x 768, 720p resolution, which is just fine.
  • AMD Radeon HD 7310 Integrated Graphics: This graphics processing unit is actually superior than what comes with low-cost Intel-based laptops. So, you can expect basic media capabilities, Photoshop, flash, video, etc. to work quite well.
  • 4 GB RAM: How many laptops in this price range come with 4 GB RAM built-in? Not many. But you should be aware that 4 GB RAM comprises of 2 x 2 GB chips, which increases their performance considerably. But, you cannot buy another 4 GB RAM and hope to increase its RAM size to 8 GB! It can hold up to 8 GB RAM, but you need to buy two 4 GB chips for it.
  • USB 3.0 Ports: Well, we do a lot of data transfer using USB ports and hence a laptop with the latest USB 3.0 ports is very important. This laptop comes with two USB 3.0 ports, which is cool for high-speed data transfer.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium pre-loaded: Yes, official tried and tested Windows 7 64-bit home premium version comes pre-loaded with this laptop. However, I would suggest you to dual-boot your machine and install Ubuntu / Linux Mint. You can work on both the operating systems and these days, Linux is easy to use and is a lot of fun. Try it.
  • 6h 10min Battery Back-up: No laptop ever gives you the advertised battery back-up duration, but if six hours is advertised, you should practically be able to get close to 5 hours at least. Which is good. Much better than mine!
  • Numerical 10-Keypad: My laptop doesn’t have the 10-key numerical keypad that you find in desktop keyboards (on the extreme right-side). It’s not a big deal for me, but for people working with numbers (excel, etc.), the numerical keypad enables them to type the numbers fast.
  • AMD Dual-Core E1-1200 Processor, 1.4 GHz, 1 MB Cache Processor: Nothing great, nothing bad either.
  • Wi-Fi (802.11n)/Wired Ports/VGA Ports/Micro-SD Card Slot/Optical-DVD drive: Normal. Every laptop comes with these ports.

Now that we have seen what is good with the laptop, let us also see the limitations:

  • Low-resolution Web-Cam. Don’t ever try to take a self-portrait with these web-cams. Video chat (on a smaller window) is fine though.
  • No volume control buttons. Well, it’s there in my laptop and I use it frequently. So, you might miss it.
  • The hard-drive speed is 5400 RPM instead of the better performing 7200 RPM. Well, for this price you have to expect some compromises and 5400 RPM is normal for low-cost laptops. Well, mine has the same speed and it’s quite fine, really.
  • Bloatware. As if all the windows installed software programs are not enough, Toshiba installs a lot of additional ones as well. The issue is, the laptop might take longer to start-up because of these programs. It takes some time to identify and un-install some programs but it helps improve the performance of the laptop.

For the price, the Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5230 is a good bargain. If you live in the US, you could buy it from Amazon. However, if you want a low-cost laptop and if you are an avid gamer as well, you might want to check this 4-Core laptop instead.

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