- Review Date: 8/9/2013
- Bottom line: The Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5104 is a budget-class 15-inch laptop offering sluggish performance and a stingy feature set, but it'll give you five plus hours of unplugged computing.
- Pros: Low price. Great battery life. Nice textured finish.
- Cons: Sluggish performance. No USB 3.0. Stingy feature set. Smallish touchpad.
The Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5104 is an incredibly low-priced 15-inch laptop that performs like an incredibly low-priced laptop. Its uses a dual-core AMD E-300 APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) that runs at 1.3GHz with an integrated Radeon HD 6310 graphics chip which combine to deliver somewhat dismal performance compared to their Intel counterparts. You don't get much in the way of features with this model, either. However, it will suffice for everyday home computing tasks and gives you over five hours of juice between charges.
Design and Features
At 5.5 pounds and 1.4 inches thick the Satellite C855D-S5104 is slightly heavier and just a hair thicker than the Dell Inspiron 15 (I15RV-6190 BLK). While not nearly as svelte as today's crop of ultrabooks, it is thin and light enough for short hauls. The Satellite C855D-S5104 sports a matte-black finish with a tight diamond textured pattern that extends to the keyboard deck. A Toshiba logo is positioned on the center of the lid and again on the bottom display bezel.
The 15.6-inch screen has a maximum resolution of 1,366-by-768 so you'll have to settle for 720p HD, but that's typical for a laptop in this price range. The screen has a glossy anti-glare coating that helps punch up colors but can be reflective when the screen is displaying a dark background. As with the Dell Inspiron 15 and HP 2000-2b19wm, the display does not support touch technology.
The traditional keyboard is full sized with large keys and a dedicated numeric keypad. It offers a bit of flex while typing but is not what I'd consider mushy or soft. As with most budget-class laptops, illuminated keys are not an option. At 3.4 by 1.9 inches, the Satellite's touchpad is smaller than what you'll find on most 15-inch laptops, but it is responsive. However, its diminutive size may make it difficult to perform gesture commands if you have large or pudgy fingers. The two mouse buttons are also a bit crowded and emit an audible click when pressed.
Port selection is limited, The Satellite C855D-S5104 comes with three USB ports but all of them use older (and slower) USB 2.0 technology. You won't find an HDMI port here, but there is a VGA video output as well as an Ethernet port and headphone and microphone jacks. The Dell Inspiron 15, in comparison, offers an HDMI port and two USB 3.0 ports.
Additional features include a tray-loading DVD multi-drive, a 6-in-1 card reader, and an embedded webcam. Wireless 802.11 n networking is built in but Bluetooth connectivity is lacking. The Satellite's 500GB hard drive comes with Windows 8 and a fair amount of third party apps from Netflix, eBay, Hulu Plus, Skype, Amazon, StumbleUpon, and others. Trial software includes Microsoft Office and Norton Internet Security. Toshiba covers the Satellite C855D-S5104 with a standard one-year warranty.
The Satellite C855D-S5104's 1.3GHz AMD E-300 processor and 4GB of system memory provided lackluster performance on our benchmark tests. Its PCMark 7 score of 1,343 lagged all of the Intel Core i3-based laptops by a wide margin, although it was a bit higher than the HP 2000 (1,087), which also uses the AMD E-300 CPU. Its Cinebench R11.5 CPU score of 0.44 was the lowest of the group, right behind the HP 2000 (0.45). The Core i3-powered Toshiba C875-S7340 led the pack with a score of 2.41 while the Dell Inspiron 15 managed a score of 1.44.
Multimedia performance was also unimpressive. The Satellite C855D-S5104 tool 24 minutes 13 seconds to complete our Photoshop CS6 task while the Dell Inspiron 15 took 9:04. The Core i3-equipped Toshiba C85-S7340 did it in 5:47. Similarly, the Satellite C855D-S5104 reviewed here took 8 minutes 18 seconds to complete our Handbrake video encoding test while the Inspiron 15 took 2:23. The other Core i3-equipped laptops completed the test in less than 2 minutes.
The Satellite C855D-S5104's AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics solution is fine for playing video but it can't put up the frame rates necessary to play graphics-intensive games, as evidenced by its scores of 6 fps and 5fps on our medium quality Alien vs. Predators and Heaven gaming benchmarks. To be fair, the Dell Inspiron 15's scores were nearly identical, and the Toshiba C875-S7340, powered by Intel's HD Graphics 4000, managed only 12 fps.
The Satellite C855D-S5104 came up big in terms of battery life. It lasted 5 hours 2 minutes on our battery rundown test, beating the Dell Inspiron 15 by almost an hour and outlasting the older Toshiba C875-S7340 by more than two hours.
At $270, the Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5104 is a decent deal, but it's far from a great deal. Its AMD E-300 processor can't match the performance of similarly priced Intel-based laptops, and it comes up way short in terms of features. If you need a cheap laptop for Web browsing, emailing, and using Facebook, it will fit the bill, However, our Editors' Choice, the Dell Inspiron 15 (I15RV-6190BLK), offers better performance and more features for right around the same price.
This review is in partnership with PCMag.com.