Toshiba Satellite S55-B5266

Affordable and Lightweight 15-inch Laptop With Dedicated Graphics

Toshiba Satellite S55-B5266 15-inch Laptop
Toshiba Satellite S55. ©Toshiba

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The Bottom Line

Jul 27 2015 - Toshiba's Satellite S55-B5266 is extremely affordable thanks to its $700 price tag. The system is also lightweight and well constructed. The problem is it lacks features and performance. This was likely the result of trying to keep it extremely affordable.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Well Constructed
  • Backlit Keyboard

Cons

  • Low Resolution Display
  • Lacks DVD Burner that Previous Version Had
  • Poor Battery Life

Description

  • Intel Core i5-4510U Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 1TB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) Display With 720p Webcam
  • AMD Radeon R7 M260 2GB GDDR3 Graphics Card
  • 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, 7-in-1 Card Reader
  • 14.96" x 10.2" x .93" @ 4.85 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1

Review - Toshiba Satellite S55-B5266

Jul 27 2015 - The Toshiba Satellite S series is about affordability and portability. The latest Satellite S55-B5266 takes the previous Satellite S50 design and makes it thinner than an inch and reducing the weight by another half pound to just over four and three quarter pounds. While doing this, the continue to keep the aluminum accents on the keyboard deck and back of the display. The remainder is made up of plastic. Overall, it is a decent design that gives it a bit more high priced feel while still keeping it affordable.

Rather than using a full powered mobile processor, Toshiba elected to use the Intel Core i7-4510U dual core processor for the Satellite S55-B5266 that is more common to ultrabooks. This may give it a bit less performance when it comes to demanding applications but for many users that primarily use a computer for browsing the web, productivity applications and streaming, it is more than enough.

It is also something that many other companies are using as a means to get thinner and longer lasting laptops. The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory that provides it with a smooth overall experience with Windows.

Storage for the system is pretty much expected. It uses a hard drive rather than a solid state drive to keep the costs down. It offers a large one terabyte capacity which is great for people with a large amount of data, especially multimedia files. The downside is the drive spins at a slower 5400rpm rate which means that performance is fairly slow compared to others using either faster 7200rpm drives or solid state hybrid drives. If you need to add extra storage to the system, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external hard drives. It would have been nice if they all were USB 3.0 but it is not uncommon on the lower cost laptops.

The big compromise in the Toshiba Satellite S55 design is the display. The 15.6-inch display panel has a paltry 1366x768 native resolution that is more typical of entry level laptops than what you would expect. Most of the other Satellite S55 models also feature a touchscreen but this one does not. This is a huge drawback as most of the systems at this price point tend to feature 1600x900 or 1920x1080 displays.

Thankfully the system does use an AMD Radeon R7 M260 graphics processor rather than using an integrated one. This is not a high level graphics processor but with the lower resolution of the display, it does not have any issue playing modern games up to the panel's lower resolution resolution.

The keyboard for the most part is quite good for the Satellite S55. It uses a full size isolated layout with a few interesting items. It does include a full size numeric keypad and some large keys for shift, control, tab, enter and backspace. The space bar on the other hand is fairly small and might throw off some users.

One nice aspect is that a backlight for the keyboard is included which many laptops in this price range do not have. The trackpad is a ice large size and features integrated buttons rather than dedicated ones. Tracking for single and multitouch gestures is not a problem.

Likely to help reduce the size, weight and cost of the Satellite S55, it uses a relatively small four cell battery pack with a rated capacity of just 45WHr. Toshiba estimates that this should provide over three hours of running time. In digital video payback tests, even by its estimate, this is well below average for a laptop in this class range. In digital video playback testing, it did result in almost three and a half hours of running time. Once again, well short of average and disappointing since it was using a lower resolution display and a ultra-low voltage processor. It falls well short of the class leading Apple MacBook Pro 15 that runs over eight in the same test but at a much higher cost of course.

Priced at just $700, the Toshiba Satellite S55-B5266 is extremely affordable. The problem is that there is some good competition here from the ASUS K501LX tht can be found for roughly the same price. The ASUS system is actually slightly thinner and lighter than the Toshiba but it trades a bit of general performance for better storage. it uses a Core i5-5200U but gains a 128GB solid state drive in addition to the one terabyte drive that makes it feel faster. It even has a higher resolution display but the quality of that display does have a few issues.

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