Notebookcheck

Review Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5 Notebook

Sven Kloevekorn (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 10/16/2013

Short-winded. There are many affordable multimedia laptops that even manage up-to-date games in medium to high settings for around 600 Euros (~$813). Toshiba's Satellite C55-A-1D5 is no exception. However, it exhibits shortcomings in ergonomics, build and, above all, battery runtime.

Toshiba C55-A-1D5: Affordable laptop for gamers or an overexerted plastic gadget?
Toshiba C55-A-1D5: Affordable laptop for gamers or an overexerted plastic gadget?

For the original German review, see here.

An Intel Core i5-3230M (2x 2.6 - 3.2 GHz, Hyperthreading, TDP: 35 W) alongside a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 740M graphics solution with 2 GB of memory make Toshiba's Satellite C55-A-1D5 a multimedia laptop. Our benchmarks prove that this combination also allows playing current and graphically demanding games smoothly in medium or sometimes even higher presets.

For this test report, we used Acer's Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk and Asus' A56CB-XX053H, both with 15.6-inch screens, for comparison. The first device features Intel's Core i7 3610QM (4x 2.3 - 3.3 GHz, TDP: 45 W) entry-level quad-core, which is based on the Ivy Bridge architecture just like Intel's Core i5-3230M, while the performance of Nvidia’s GeForce GT 640M graphics solution is lower than that of the Toshiba laptop. Asus' A56CB sports a runtime-friendly but slower Intel Core i3-3217U ULV dual-core (2x 1.8 GHz, Hyperthreading, TDP: 17 W) and the same graphics chip as our review sample. The other equipment in the Acer and Asus is identical with the Toshiba and both are also available for below 700 Euros (~949). The portability factor is also noteworthy. Both the Toshiba and the Asus weigh 2.3 kg (~5.1), which is typical in this category, but the V3 is heavy at 3.2 kg (~7.1) on the scales.

Our in-depth review will reveal how Toshiba's C55-A-1D5 fares in games, multimedia and in office work based on numerous benchmarks.

Case

The budget was apparently limited: Plastic where ever you look.
The budget was apparently limited: Plastic where ever you look.
The textured underside makes a fairly sturdy impression.
The textured underside makes a fairly sturdy impression.

The review sample's casing tries to add a few visual highlights but a high-quality impression is not produced due to the cheap-looking plastic. The wrist rest, touchpad and display's back feature a glossy silver color and the area below the keyboard up to the lid and the display's bezel have a black piano paint surface. The Toshiba's underside is  matte black and provides a non-slip grip in the unlikely case of transportation.

With a bit of effort the plastic casing can be warped to a slight extent but this does not produce any noises. Particularly the base unit's front left area is a bit flexible. The lid is not thin and ensures a certain degree of rigidness. Even pressing the lid's back firmly with a thumb does not cause image distortions. The hinge keeps the lightly rocking screen securely in position but it is pulled so tight that both hands are needed for opening the laptop. The maximum opening angle is 135°. Except for the glossy black surfaces, the Toshiba is quite resistant against fingerprints, which are only noticed in certain lighting conditions.

As to build, minor inaccuracies were noticed, for example a protruding edge of the base unit's lower part that might sometimes be unpleasant for the palm.

Connectivity

There is no need for adapters because the interfaces on Toshiba's C55-A-1D5 are all full-sized. The port distribution is not designed for right-handed users who prefer using an external mouse. Toshiba places most interfaces on the right front where cords and peripherals, such as USB flash drives, might prove to be interfering. The DVD drive is in the front left area and its eject button is difficult to find. A USB 2.0 port and the power socket are behind that.

The configuration with the most important interfaces exactly complies with the standard that can be expected in this category. The buyer will usually have to dig deeper in his pockets for extras such as a DisplayPort or an eSATA.

Most ports are found on the front right side.
Most ports are found on the front right side.
The DVD drive, 1 USB 2.0 port, Kensington lock, and power socket are on the left.
The DVD drive, 1 USB 2.0 port, Kensington lock, and power socket are on the left.
The LEDs and SD card slot are on the left front.
The LEDs and SD card slot are on the left front.
There are no interfaces on the rear.
There are no interfaces on the rear.

Communication

An Atheros L1C PCI-E Ethernet controller can be used for cabled Gigabit LAN. It is just as reliable as the Realtek RTL8188E Wireless module found in many laptops. The Wi-Fi transmission rates consistently scraped the limit of the author's individual DSL line setup at a distance of about 10 meters (~33 feet) and through two brick walls. Smooth browsing would still be possible even in conditions that are more unfavorable. Bluetooth is not available.

Accessories

A low price normally equals few accessories. Toshiba's C55 is no exception. There is nothing in the box besides a quick start guide and the compulsory power supply. Toshiba installs a Recovery Center for creating backup media for system recovery. A trial version of McAfee Internet Security Suite is also installed but it starts to demand a fee-based registration after only a few days, and we therefore replaced it with Microsoft's Security Essentials for the test. Otherwise, there are a few small tools from Toshiba, such as a media player.

Maintenance

Toshiba secures the maintenance cover with one screw that can only be removed and reinserted with brute force. This inevitably leads to the feeling that something might be damaged. The cover allows accessing the hard drive, memory slots (one empty), and the motherboard battery. The fan cannot be accessed this way.

Warranty

Toshiba’s standard one-year carry-in warranty on its laptops is included. Various upgrade options can be found on www.toshiba.com/us/serviceplans.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keyboard's layout largely corresponds to that of a desktop keyboard, only that its flat black keys primarily feature a spongy pressure point that will soon let the user call for an external unit. It is unusual that the function keys in the uppermost row control functions like brightness and volume when pressed alone. The blue FN key has to be pressed additionally to use the assignments as known from other keyboards. We find the piano paint used between the keys unpractical because they are soon covered with fingerprints that can only be removed inconveniently.

Touchpad

In our opinion, the pleasantly subtly textured Synaptics PS/2 Port touchpad could be larger particularly since there would have been enough room. It is not completely touch-sensitive up to its edges and features clattering keys that want to be pressed in the center. The usual gestures using up to three fingers are detected reliably. However, the touchpad annoyed us during the test due to an occasional, non-reproducible freezing of the mouse cursor. This was not observed when using an external mouse.

The author's palms (medium-sized male hands) did not fit on the too small wrist rest while typing. Instead, they were propped on the casing's rather jagged edge, which was unpleasant in the long run.

Typing is only difficult due to the keyboard's spongy pressure point.
Typing is only difficult due to the keyboard's spongy pressure point.
We would have wished for a larger touchpad with better keys.
We would have wished for a larger touchpad with better keys.

Display

The 15.6-inch (diagonal) screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio has a resolution of 1366x768 pixels, which adds up to a modest pixel density of approximately 100 ppi. Although TN screens, like in the Toshiba, are known for their fairly poor viewing angles and moderate contrasts, the manufacturer did not pick one from the lower shelf. The model fares well in the category comparison. The maximum possible brightness of 247 cd/m², which is not reduced in battery mode, contributes to that and places the C55-A-1D5 in the upper midfield. The pleasingly low black value of 0.36 cd/m² and decent contrast of 696:1 look even better in the comparison of multimedia laptops. Subjectively, we found black quite saturated providing that the ideal vertical viewing angle was found. In return, the focus could be better; writing often looked a bit blurry. However, that was not noticed in games or movies.

Asus' A56CB-XX053H cannot quite match the review sample's brightness. We measured a maximum of 216 cd/m² and the contrast of 545:1 is rather middling. Our Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk is only marginally darker than the Asus but lags behind the competition with a contrast ratio of only 132:1.

234
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
248
cd/m²
247
cd/m²
263
cd/m²
228
cd/m²
217
cd/m²
219
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 263 cd/m²
Average: 232.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Center on Battery: 247 cd/m²
Black: 0.36 cd/m²
Contrast: 686:1

The screen in Toshiba's laptop covers 51.2% of the AdobeRGB color space and is thus in the upper midfield of the multimedia laptop category. The subjectively good color reproduction confirms this but will in no way suffice for professional image editing.

The ascertained color deviations are within limits with an average DeltaE (2000) rate of 6. The generally overemphasized blue hues however cause a light color cast that particularly comes through in medium-light gray hues. The bluish cast conveys a slightly cool image impression.

CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN SaturationSweeps
CalMAN SaturationSweeps
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5 vs. sRGB
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5 vs. sRGB
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5 vs. AdobeRGB
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5 vs. AdobeRGB

The screen's maximum brightness is high enough for working outdoors. However, the extremely reflective surface is very distracting. Bright light from the back should be avoided because working is otherwise agonizing. On the other hand, it is not a portable office laptop; the device has clearly been designed for indoor use.

When the sky is mirrored in the screen, barely anything can be recognized even in maximum brightness.
When the sky is mirrored in the screen, barely anything can be recognized even in maximum brightness.
Side views outdoors: The screen's brightness outshines the reflections when a building is in the background.
Side views outdoors: The screen's brightness outshines the reflections when a building is in the background.

The screen’s viewing angle is unusually stable considering the TN technology. The screenshot below shows that changing the horizontal viewing angle by 45° only causes a slight image deviation. The user will have to expect deteriorating contrasts when looking down on the screen. Inverting has to be accepted in rare cases where the screen is above the viewing horizon or the lid is tilted too far to the back. We have observed a worse job in the very low-budget office laptop category and higher price ranges alike.

Finally a TN screen in an affordable laptop that provides a satisfactory image quality even from the sides.
Finally a TN screen in an affordable laptop that provides a satisfactory image quality even from the sides.

Performance

The installed Intel Core i5-3230M (2x 2.6 - 3.2 GHz) and its two physical cores as well as Hyperthreading alongside Nvidia’s GeForce GT 740M mobile midrange GPU forges a solid though not exactly future-proof gaming and multimedia array. The CPU is based on the Ivy Bridge generation and is built in the 22-nanometer process (former generation Sandy Bridge: 32 nanometers). The GPU was launched on the market in early 2013 and exists in two versions, one of which (GK107) features a 128-bit wide memory bus. The other version, based on the GK208 architecture and that is installed in Toshiba's C55, has a faster clock rate but only a 64-bit bus. Both 740M versions work with a DDR3 memory.

 
System information: Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5

Processor

The clock remains stable at 3 GHz when both cores are loaded.
The clock remains stable at 3 GHz when both cores are loaded.

Well-parallelized applications and games are represented by Cinebench R10 and R11.5. Although they benefit from the fact that Intel's dual-core Core i5-3230M can process up to four threads at the same time owing to Hyperthreading, genuine quad-cores, such as Intel's Core i7-3610QM (Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk), are easily about twice as fast. However, it also has a 10 Watt higher TDP of 45 Watts. Intel's Core i3-3217U in Asus' A56CB-XX053H with a fixed clock of only 1.8 GHz and the ULV CPU typical TDP of 17 Watts lags behind the review sample's processor by up to 47%.

The high maximum clock of 3.2 GHz ensures enough single-thread power when only one core is loaded. It is achieved via Turbo Boost. 3.0 GHz is the limit when both cores are loaded. The CPU's base clock is 2.6 GHz. The more energy-efficient ULV CPUs with a TDP of 17 Watts mostly stand out because of much lower base clocks.

The CPU in the review sample fits well in an affordable multimedia laptop and would also look good in a swift office computer - but with a screen diagonal of at least 14 inches and of course without a dedicated graphics chip.

The CPU power in the Toshiba, which is not limited in battery mode, is virtually identical with that of other laptops based on the same platform. We did not observe thermal throttling in the one-hour stress test using Prime95 + FurMark.

Cinebench R10
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
11247 Points ∼32%
Asus A56CB-XX053H
6535 Points ∼18% -42%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk
20558 Points ∼58% +83%
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
5573 Points ∼65%
Asus A56CB-XX053H
2977 Points ∼35% -47%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk
5548 Points ∼65% 0%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
3.01 Points ∼17%
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
3.01 Points ∼17% 0%
Asus A56CB-XX053H
1.8 Points ∼10% -40%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk
6.1 Points ∼35% +103%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
1.33 Points ∼67%
Asus A56CB-XX053H
0.74 Points ∼37% -44%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk
1.33 Points ∼67% 0%

Legend

 
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5 Intel Core i5-3230M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
 
Asus A56CB-XX053H Intel Core i3-3217U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT
 
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, Toshiba MK5059GSXP
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4372
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6370 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
11247 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5573 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6537
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
9251
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.33 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.01 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
37.88 fps
Help

System Performance

Among others, we use the scores from the PCMark 7 and PCMark Vantage benchmarks to assess system performance. They simulate a wide range of applications and operation scenarios, and sometimes even demand the graphics unit. Whereas the Asus is inferior in raw CPU performance, its total PCMark 7 score is only about 10 percent lower than the Toshiba. The four physical cores in the Acer do not bring any advantages and the laptop is approximately on a par with the review sample. Acer's Creativity Score (PCMark 7) is even 45% lower compared with Toshiba's C55-A-1D5, which is due to the weaker Nvidia GeForce GT 640M midrange GPU. PCMark 7's Entertainment benchmark looks different and Acer's quad-core can outperform the Toshiba by 18% while Asus' A56CB (ULV) only lags behind the review sample by 7%.

PCMark Vantage illustrates a wider spread of scores between the three laptops. Acer's total score is 54% higher than that of the Toshiba while Asus' A56CB comes in last with minus 17%.

PCMark 7
Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
2544 Points ∼37%
Asus A56CB-XX053H
2253 Points ∼33% -11%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk
2427 Points ∼35% -5%
Entertainment (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
2420 Points ∼23%
Asus A56CB-XX053H
2260 Points ∼21% -7%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk
2854 Points ∼27% +18%
Creativity (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
5225 Points ∼45%
Asus A56CB-XX053H
4958 Points ∼43% -5%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk
2853 Points ∼25% -45%
PCMark Vantage - 1024x768 Result (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
6124 Points ∼26%
Asus A56CB-XX053H
5109 Points ∼22% -17%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk
9418 Points ∼40% +54%

Legend

 
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5 Intel Core i5-3230M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
 
Asus A56CB-XX053H Intel Core i3-3217U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT
 
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, Toshiba MK5059GSXP
4.8
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.2
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
5.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
4.8
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.6
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage6124 points
PCMark 72544 points
PCMark 8 Home3009 points
PCMark 8 Creative2781 points
PCMark 8 Work4526 points
Help

Storage Devices

HDTune 86 MB/s seq. read
HDTune 86 MB/s seq. read
Crystal Disk Mark 98 MB/s seq. read
Crystal Disk Mark 98 MB/s seq. read

The hard drive from Toshiba dubbed MQ01ABF050 and with a gross capacity of 500 GB has an average sequential read rate of 86 or 98 MB/s and thus places itself in the midfield for a 5400-rpm drive. The same HDD installed in other laptops is at most 7% faster. Very swift drives with this speed can achieve an up to 25% higher transfer rate. Only a few 7200-rpm HDDs and of course SSDs are faster.

The hopeless inferiority of conventional hard drives in contrast to SSD becomes obvious in the Toshiba's 4k rates, such as when small and random data blocks have to be read quickly. SSDs habitually manage rates of over 20 MB/s here.

An overview of the benchmark scores for many hard drives and SSDs can be found in our FAQ section.

Toshiba MQ01ABF050
Transfer Rate Minimum: 49.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 114.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 86.4 MB/s
Access Time: 18 ms
Burst Rate: 126.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.8 %

Graphics Card

The installed DirectX 11-capable Nvidia GeForce GT 740M with 2 GB of dedicated DDR3 memory is also a decisive factor for the gaming suitability of Toshiba's C55-A-1D5. The narrow 64-bit memory bus faces the quite high GPU and memory clock of 980 to 1033 MHz or 900 MHz in the newer GK208 version of the chip installed here. It is owing to Nvidia’s Optimus technology that the processor-integrated, energy-efficient Intel HD 4000 is enabled during very low demand, so primarily in the 2D field.

The performance score of Toshiba's laptop is 13% below that of the Asus and 7% below the Acer Aspire in 3DMark 11. It becomes obvious here that the old version of the GT 740M, based on the GK107 chip with a twice as wide 128-bit memory bus, is faster as soon as more bandwidth is required despite its lower clock. This looks the same in 3DMark Vantage. The Asus device achieves a 32% higher score than the review sample in the GPU benchmark and the Acer takes an 18% lead. Toshiba's laptop reaches full power even on the go in battery mode.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
9527 points
3DMark Vantage6038 points
3DMark 111793 points
3DMark Ice Storm33331 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4037 points
3DMark Fire Strike965 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Details of results from the DirectX 10 3DMark Vantage benchmark
Details of results from the DirectX 10  3DMark Vantage benchmark

384 Shaders ensure that all games we tested ran smoothly in at least medium settings. The power was even sometimes enough for high settings (Bioshock Infinite). The exception was the extremely demanding Company of Heroes 2 that still just ran smoothly in minimum settings. More details can be found in the chart below and in our benchmark list with many mobile graphics cards and in-depth information about the games we used.

Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
Intel Core i5-3230M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk
Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, Toshiba MK5059GSXP
Asus A56CB-XX053H
Intel Core i3-3217U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT
Anno 2070
4%
15%
1024x768 Low Preset105119
13%
111
6%
1366x768 Medium Preset AA:on 4950
2%
57
16%
1366x768 High Preset AA:on AF:2x3030
0%
35
17%
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:on AF:4x1515
0%
18
20%
Battlefield 3
10%
17%
1024x768 low AA:- AF:2x47.148
2%
42
-11%
1366x768 medium AA:- AF:4x31.833
4%
34
7%
1366x768 high AA:- AF:16x25.225
-1%
31
23%
1920x1080 ultra AA:4x MS AF:16x8.111
36%
12
48%
Tomb Raider
10%
1024x768 Low Preset89.6
89.6
70
-22%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x43.1
43.1
53.6
24%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x23.3
23.3
31.8
36%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x10.8
10.8
10.8
10.8
0%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
7% / 7%
14% / 14%
low med.high ultra
Total War: Shogun 2 (2011) 463713fps
Battlefield 3 (2011) 47.131.825.28.1fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 105493015fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 89.643.123.310.8fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 68.43730.79.2fps
Company of Heroes 2 (2013) 2821135fps

Emissions

System Noise

The relatively powerful hardware foundation produces quite a bit of waste heat during load, which has to be discharged from the casing. The fan copes with this task easily in every situation as can be seen based on the casing's moderate temperatures.

The slowest of the four fan speeds does not produce more than a just audible noise and is sufficient for office work and browsing. The noise level is in the upper midfield of multimedia laptops when full load is induced by a game. The fan can still be heard at a distance of five meters (~16 feet) but is not annoying because it does not generate a high-pitched buzzing sound or other background noises.

 

 

Noise Level

Idle 32.5 / 32.5 / 32.5 dB(A)
HDD 33.2 dB(A)
DVD 36.7 / dB(A)
Load 35.3 / 43 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Thanks to the sufficiently strong cooling, the surface temperatures remained inconspicuous even during load and were never noticed adversely. The warmest spot was found in the on/off button's area where the main vents are located and it just surpassed body temperature with 39 °C (102.2 °F) on the underside. The C55-A-1D5 belongs to the cooler laptops in the category comparison. It can also be used on the lap because the heat is discharged from the casing's side.

The CPU cores reached a maximum of 88 °C (190.4 °F) in the stress test, which is within the tolerance range. This also applies to Nvidia’s GeForce GT 740M that did not exceed 65 °C (149 °F).

Max. Load
 25.2 °C31 °C37 °C 
 24.5 °C30.6 °C38.1 °C 
 25.2 °C26.1 °C33 °C 
Maximum: 38.1 °C
Average: 30.1 °C
25 °C29.1 °C39.2 °C
25.7 °C33.9 °C35.1 °C
25.8 °C30.7 °C37 °C
Maximum: 39.2 °C
Average: 31.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  43 °C | Room Temperature 23.8 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The speakers are hidden behind a plastic grille above the keyboard. They produce a sound that does not allow a differentiated analysis. No matter whether movies, music, games or system sounds, they are all almost acoustic torture in slightly higher volumes. The reason for this is that the speakers cannot render lower frequencies besides the unreasonably emphasized mids and trebles. There is simply no audible sound below approximately 500 Hz!

Bass that can be called bass is rare in laptops. However, low ranges are only characterized by a kind of click noise. Instruments are generally difficult to identify and both dynamics and the impression of surround sound is absent. It sounds different when the Toshiba is connected to the sound system at home or good headphones are used. Then there is no reason for complaint. It is just important to switch to the current player in the DTS SoundManager.

The manufacturer probably thought that the laptop's target group will prefer using headphones from the outset but every user occasionally relies on the installed speakers. Most contenders prove that a better job is possible even in this price range.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

When the review sample is compared with other multimedia laptops featuring the same screen size, the consumption rates are located in the better third in both a deactivated state and in standby. The idle consumption is average. However, the load consumption strikes in a negative sense, particularly during full load. Toshiba's Satellite C55-A-1D5 belongs to the more power-guzzling members in the field with 71.6 and 89.5 Watts. The power supply unit is only just adequately sized with a power output of 90 Watts. Nevertheless, it should still be possible to recharge the battery even when playing games because full load rarely occurs over a long period in practical use.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 8.5 / 12 / 13.3 Watt
Load 71.6 / 89.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Toshiba fuses a fairly weak 48 Wh battery with hardware that, at least during load, belongs to the top power consumers in the category comparison. This results in abysmal battery runtimes. The review sample only lasted for a bit over one hour when loaded. Approximately two hours and 20 minutes were achieved in the little-energy-sapping Wi-Fi test. Watching a whole DVD without interruption will only be possible when the battery is fully charged and the movie runtime does not exceed around two hours.

The portability factor is rarely decisive for a laptop like this. However, users who plan to use their new laptop on the go occasionally and will not have an outlet at hand should avoid this Toshiba laptop.

This disaster could partly be due to a defect of our review sample. The battery display recurrently jumped from 72 or 73% to 100% in the recharging process and recharging was stopped. The display always dropped to 72% again immediately after pulling the plug. This could be a display error without impact on the real runtime, but it should be mentioned in any case.

Battery Runtime
WiFi Surfing
2h 22min
DVD
2h 06min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 10min

Verdict

The test leaves us with mixed feelings about Toshiba's C55-A-1D5. It is a plastic gadget whose overall impression fits exactly with the low price of only about 600 Euros (~$813). The weight, a moderately robust plastic casing, the inferior input devices and the short battery runtime underline the fact that the manufacturer did not place much value on the portability factor or ergonomics and preferred to invest the budget in the innards. However, only the performance is uncompromising.

There will definitely be a target group for the solid gaming performance fused with good cooling that is not inappropriately loud alongside stable load operation. The laptop offers a lot of power for little money to users who prefer external input devices and headphones, and will be happy about the good screen for this price range. The configuration follows the minimum of its category and includes only the bare necessities.

All in all, the impression of a gaming-suitable budget laptop remains. It is not exactly versatile but does a good job in its field and will certainly satisfy buyers who can live with the shortcomings.

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In Review: Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5, courtesy of Toshiba Germany
In Review: Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5, courtesy of Toshiba Germany

Specifications

Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M - 2048 MB, Core: 980-1.033 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, nvlddmkm 9.18.13.1141 (ForceWare 311.41)/Win8 64, Intel HD Graphics 4000
Memory
4096 MB 
, DDR3, 1600 MHz, single-channel, one memory bank occupied
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, LG Philips LP156WH4-TLN, TN LED, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel HM76 (Panther Point)
Harddisk
Toshiba MQ01ABF050, 500 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 1 headphone, 1 microphone (small jack, analog), Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC,
Networking
Atheros L1C PCI-E Ethernet Controller (10MBit), Realtek RTL8188E Wireless LAN 802.11n PCI-E NIC (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
Optical drive
TSSTcorp CDDVDW SU-208DB
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 33.4 x 380 x 242 ( = 1.31 x 14.96 x 9.53 in)
Weight
2.3 kg ( = 81.13 oz) Power Supply: 300 g ( = 10.58 oz)
Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion, TKBSSG71C000FT110, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 3.5 h
Price
610 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
Additional features
Webcam: 0,9 MP, Speakers: stereo, underside, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, power supply, quick start guide, McAffe Internet Security Suite trial, Toshiba Videoplayer, Toshiba Places, Skitch Touch, Fresh Paint, Toshiba Media Player, Doodle God, 12 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
With the Satellite C55-A-1D5, Toshiba launches an affordable multimedia laptop...
With the Satellite C55-A-1D5, Toshiba launches an affordable multimedia laptop...
...that is completely clad in silver and black plastic.
...that is completely clad in silver and black plastic.
The base unit's underside is textured...
The base unit's underside is textured...
...while the sides and the keyboard area...
...while the sides and the keyboard area...
...feature piano paint looks.
...feature piano paint looks.
The Toshiba's opening angle is approximately 135°.
The Toshiba's opening angle is approximately 135°.
The stickers disclose the most important innards.
The stickers disclose the most important innards.
Most interfaces are gathered on the front right;
Most interfaces are gathered on the front right;
Toshiba could have omitted their labeling in view of their unfavorable positioning.
Toshiba could have omitted their labeling in view of their unfavorable positioning.
The underside shows the DVD drive,...
The underside shows the DVD drive,...
...the battery,...
...the battery,...
...the model label...
...the model label...
...and the maintenance cover that allows accessing HDD, RAM...
...and the maintenance cover that allows accessing HDD, RAM...
...and motherboard battery.
...and motherboard battery.
The speakers are beneath the silver grille.
The speakers are beneath the silver grille.
The keyboard largely corresponds with the layout of a desktop keyboard.
The keyboard largely corresponds with the layout of a desktop keyboard.
The number pad also features standard-sized keys.
The number pad also features standard-sized keys.
The webcam and stereo microphone are in the usual place.
The webcam and stereo microphone are in the usual place.
The power supply only just provides the needed power output.
The power supply only just provides the needed power output.
The scores of the 3DMark 06...
The scores of the 3DMark 06...
...and 3DMark Vantage in detail.
...and 3DMark Vantage in detail.
The single scores of PCMark 8 Home:...
The single scores of PCMark 8 Home:...
...Creativity...
...Creativity...
...and Work.
...and Work.

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Pro

+Suitable for games in medium to high settings
+Sufficient power for demanding software
+Rich-in-color screen
 

Cons

-Might be too slow for future games in the midterm
-Inferior keyboard
-Short battery runtime
-Full-plastic casing

Shortcut

What we like

Enough power for current games in medium to high settings not to mention MS Office applications. The screen is bright and displays rich colors.

What we'd like to see

A better keyboard and speakers that do not torture the ears.

What surprises us

It's amazing how wide the horizontal viewing angle stability in a laptop with a TN screen from this price range can be.

The competition

Acer Aspire V3-571G-73614G50Makk

Asus A56CB-XX053H

Acer Aspire V5-573G-54208G50aii

Acer Aspire V3-571G-53238G1TMaii

Toshiba Satellite L50-A-10Q

Acer Aspire M3-581TG-52466G52Mnkk

Rating

Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
10/10/2013 v3
Sven Kloevekorn

Chassis
67%
Keyboard
58%
Pointing Device
72%
Connectivity
70%
Weight
84%
Battery
60%
Display
77%
Games Performance
85%
Application Performance
90%
Temperature
88%
Noise
85%
Add Points
74%
Average
76%
76%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5 Notebook
Author: Sven Kloevekorn, 2013-10-16 (Update: 2013-10-17)