Notebookcheck

Review Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4 Notebook

Jonas Adams (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 09/24/2013

Update in gray. The Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4 is a 15.6-inch entry-level notebook. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-3230M processor and AMD Radeon HD 7610M GPU, the notebook is one of the more powerful models in Toshiba's entry-level series.

For the original German review, see here.

With the Satellite C850 and C855 series, Toshiba offers quite a few different and rather inexpensive 15.6-inch notebooks. The new model is - aside from the internal components - fairly similar to the previously reviewed Toshiba Satellite C850-1LX.

Case

Dust accumulation on the keyboard
Dust accumulation on the keyboard

The exterior of our review model doesn't differ much from the C850-1LX. The plastic chassis is not all black, but features a gray palm rest and a gray pattern on the display lid. Unlike the predecessor, the lid is completely smooth, since the pattern is printed on and not an actual texture.

The keyboard tray and the bezel of the touchscreen are a glossy piano-black, which makes them very susceptible to fingerprints and dust. The palm rest area and the rest of the base unit resist dirt really well, however.

While the build quality is decent, the overall sturdiness is a mixed bag. The palm rest area resists localized pressure quite well, but above the optical drive and the middle of the keyboard we noticed some flexing. Pressing down in the middle of the speaker bar is accompanied by creaking sounds.

The display lid also flexes, although pressing on the back does not adversely affect the picture on the screen. The hinges are stiff, but can't completely prevent the display from bouncing.

Connectivity

The C855-2J4 offers the bare minimum number of ports. The left side houses the DVD-RW drive, followed by a USB 2.0 port and the power jack. There is enough room on the left side for an external mouse. On the right side, the port placement is less ideal: most of the ports are located towards the front, since the rear area of the notebook is occupied by the cooling fan exhaust.

Next to the fan exhaust there is the VGA out, the Ethernet and the HDMI port, which in turn are followed by a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 port, as well as the headphone and microphone jacks. In our opinion, a single USB 3.0 is certainly not really adequate.

The front of the notebook is home to a card reader for MMC and SD cards; the rear has no connectivity.

Left: power jack, USB 2.0, DVD-RW drive
Left: power jack, USB 2.0, DVD-RW drive
Right: headphone, microphone, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, LAN, VGA
Right: headphone, microphone, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, LAN, VGA
Front: card reader
Front: card reader
Rear: no connectivity
Rear: no connectivity

Communication

The Satellite C855 comes equipped with both Bluetooth 4.0 and WLAN b/g/n. Our non-scientific reception test showed very good signal strength: even two floors above the router, we still had five bars and no issues browsing the internet. The LAN adapter is a very inexpensive Realtek RTL810, which does not support Gigabit speeds, but rather tops out at 100 Mbit/s.

Maintenance

The battery is very easy to remove. A maintenance cover on the bottom of the notebook gives access to the hard drive, the RAM, and the CMOS battery. Both RAM slots are taken up; the C855 can be expanded to 16 GB maximum. The other components are only accessible if the notebook is disassembled further.

Warranty

In some countries, Toshiba's warranty covers the notebook against defects for 24 months. The international "carry-in" warranty also includes pickup-and-return service within certain countries. For 64 Euros (~$85), Toshiba will extend the warranty to a total of 3 years; for 4 years, the manufacturer charges 109 Euros (~$150).

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keyboard is one of the few differentiators between the Satellite C850 and the Satellite C855. While the former comes with a conventional keyboard, the latter is equipped with a chiclet design. The individual keys have ample distance between them, but the keyboard insert is highly glossy and attracts dust quickly.

The keys are completely flat, the travel is very short, and depressing the keys requires very little force. Combined with the spongy feedback, it's not easy to determine if a particular key stroke was recognized or not. For those reasons, we don't think that the keyboard is suitable for touch typists.

We do appreciate the inclusion of a dedicated number pad, however. The function keys work in reverse, which means that special functions can be entered without using the Fn key. Those who prefer the standard F1-F12 functionality can change this behavior in the system settings.

Touchpad

The touchpad and the buttons are lightly textured and fingers glide easily across the surface. The touchpad sits in a glossy frame, which is very susceptible to dust and fingerprints.

The edges of the touchpad are not easy to feel, which is actually an advantage for Windows 8 swipe gestures. Sometimes we ended up outside the sensitive areas, however. Inputs are recognized reliably and translated precisely - although we had issues every once in a while.

The buttons don't have a lot of travel, but their feedback is adequate.

Input devices: keyboard and touchpad
Input devices: keyboard and touchpad
The dedicated number pad.
The dedicated number pad.
F1-F12 require the use of the Fn key.
F1-F12 require the use of the Fn key.
The surface of the touchpad is textured.
The surface of the touchpad is textured.

Display

Toshiba uses a 15.6-inch display from LG (LP156WH4-TLN1). The display features a resolution of 1366x768, which is pretty standard for inexpensive notebooks.

The average display brightness of 229 cd/m² is above our expectations for this class of notebook. We recorded a high of 248 cd/m² on the left side; the middle is slightly darker at 233 cd/m². The darkest area is on the bottom and about 35 nits less than the maximum. The average brightness distribution is 86%. The display maintains the brightness setting even when the notebook is running on battery power.

228
cd/m²
219
cd/m²
227
cd/m²
248
cd/m²
233
cd/m²
244
cd/m²
231
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
215
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 248 cd/m²
Average: 228.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 233 cd/m²
Black: 0.46 cd/m²
Contrast: 507:1

The decent brightness and the black value of 0.46 cd/m² result in a good contrast ratio of 507:1. Even though the C850 had almost twice the contrast, our review model still does very well for an entry-level notebook.

The display panel of the C855 cannot display the professional color spaces: neither the more demanding AdobeRGB nor the basic sRGB are covered. This shouldn't be a major issue for most buyers, though. When we used a colorimeter to check the display, we saw clear deviations as far as the gray levels and the colors blue and cyan were concerned. Overall, the display emphasizes the blue spectrum and suffers from a bluish cast.

Toshiba C855-2J4 vs. sRGB
Toshiba C855-2J4 vs. sRGB
Toshiba C855-2J4 vs. AdobeRGB
Toshiba C855-2J4 vs. AdobeRGB
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Gray Levels
CalMAN - Gray Levels
CalMAN - Color Saturation
CalMAN - Color Saturation

Since the display is highly reflective, the notebook is not really suited for brightly-lit environments and direct sunlight. Because of the decent brightness and contrast, the screen content remains readable most of the time, although strong reflections are unavoidable.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

When the display is viewed from the side, it gets considerably dimmer, although the color accuracy is not impacted significantly. Deviations in the vertical plane cause the picture to darken and the colors to pale or invert. The screen content is now hard to recognize.

Performance

The notebooks in the series C850 and C855 come in many different versions - there are seven different variants in the C855 series alone. Additionally, Toshiba also offers a series C850D and a series C855D which are based on AMD processors.

Our review notebook comes with the Intel Core i5-3230M CPU and a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 7610M GPU, which has 1 GB of RAM. A 1 TB hard drive and a generous 8 GB of RAM round out the hardware.

CPUZ CPU
CPUZ Caches
CPUZ Motherboard
CPUZ Memory
CPUZ SPD
GPUZ
HWiNFO
Latency
System information Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4

Processor

The processor is not quite current anymore, as Toshiba uses an Ivy Bridge dual-core unit. Previous generation or not - the 2.6 GHz CPU can overclock to 3.0 GHz via Turbo Boost and offers respectable performance. In this notebook, the CPU reliably reaches the upper frequency ceiling when needed.

The results of the Cinebench R11.5 speak for themselves: 2.98 points is top-notch for this particular CPU. The Toshiba Satellite L855-15U, for example, comes with the same processor but only manages 2.85 points. The Acer Aspire V3-571G-53238G1TMaii - again equipped with the i5-3230M - only reaches 2.90 points. The performance does not drop when the notebook is running on battery power.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4188
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
9159
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
7677
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.98 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
27.77 fps
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4
Radeon HD 7610M, 3230M, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
2.98 Points ∼17%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-53238G1TMaii
GeForce GT 730M, 3230M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
2.9 Points ∼16% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad S531
Radeon HD 8670M, 3537U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
2.92 Points ∼17% -2%
HP EliteBook 2760p-LG682EA
HD Graphics 3000, 2540M, Samsung MZ7PC128HBFU
2.98 Points ∼17% 0%
Sony Vaio SV-S13A1Z9E/S
GeForce GT 640M LE, 3520M, 2x Samsung MZRPC512HAFU-000SO (RAID 0)
3 Points ∼17% +1%

System Performance

To evaluate overall system performance, we use the PCMark benchmark tests. The C855 scored 2464 points running PCMark 7 - better than the Toshiba L855-15U with 2432 points and slightly behind the Asus Aspire, which managed 2532 points, but also has the benefit of a more powerful graphics card. The ThinkPad and the Vaio show how notebooks with SSDs fare in this test. System starts and restarts happen quickly, but opening programs requires more patience at times.

PC Mark
PCMark 72464 points
PCMark 8 Home3040 points
PCMark 8 Creative2297 points
PCMark 8 Work4353 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4
2464 Points ∼37%
Acer Aspire V3-571G-53238G1TMaii
2532 Points ∼38% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad S531
3681 Points ∼56% +49%
Sony Vaio SV-S13A1Z9E/S
3745 Points ∼57% +52%
5.9
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.2
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.5
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.6
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.6
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9

Storage Devices

HD Tune
HD Tune

Toshiba uses one of their own hard drives - in this case a 1 TB model. The conventional hard drive features a rotational speed of 5400 RPM and allows for a maximum transfer rate of 62.8 MB/s according to HD Tune, which is rather disappointing.

The 1 TB drive in the Acer Aspire is quite a bit faster at about 80 MB/s. The L855 has a 750 GB hard drive and tops out at 71.1 MB/s, which is still considerably quicker. An SSD or a hybrid drive would have been a much better choice for this notebook.

Toshiba MQ01ABD100
Transfer Rate Minimum: 12.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 99.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 62.8 MB/s
Access Time: 20.7 ms
Burst Rate: 120.2 MB/s
CPU Usage: 8.5 %

GPU Performance

The C855 comes with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 deactivated and relies on a dedicated graphics card from AMD instead. AMD Enduro, which normally allows switching between the cards, is also disabled. The AMD Radeon HD 7610M is always in use and requires more energy than the integrated solution would. The Radeon GPU has 1 GB of RAM and operates at a frequency of 450 MHz. We ran 3DMark 11 to get an idea of the performance: 880 points is a much better result than the integrated solution alone would be able to achieve. Notebooks with the Intel HD Graphics 4000 as the sole graphics engine usually score around 650 points.

 

 

3D Mark
3DMark 0319377 points
3DMark 0512623 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
7255 points
3DMark Vantage3691 points
3DMark 11880 points
3DMark Ice Storm52993 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4475 points
3DMark Fire Strike592 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The notebook is suitable for gaming only to a limited extent. The graphics card in particular is a bottleneck. Less resource-intensive games like FIFA 13 can be played on high, but the demanding BioShock Infinite requires the settings to be reduced to avoid stutters.

low med.high ultra
Diablo III (2012) 64443824fps
Counter-Strike: GO (2012) 176997038fps
F1 2012 (2012) 57534316fps
Fifa 13 (2012) 2241138750fps
Dishonored (2012) 52413720fps
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2012) 75381812fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 382384fps
Assassin´s Creed III (2012) 29225fps
Far Cry 3 (2012) 331912fps
Dead Space 3 (2013) 103382717fps
Crysis 3 (2013) 683520fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 6027176fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 5325216fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 281974fps
GRID 2 (2013) 89443013fps
Company of Heroes 2 (2013) 151273fps
Dota 2 (2013) 923817fps
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (2013) 453615fps
Saints Row IV (2013) 3328127fps
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (2013) 341995fps
Total War: Rome II (2013) 4335277fps
Dead Space 3 - 1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4
Radeon HD 7610M, 3230M, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
27 fps ∼7%
Samsung 400B5C-H02DE
HD Graphics 4000, 3210M, Lite-On LMT-128M3M
14.9 fps ∼4% -45%
Dell Latitude E7440
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Seagate Laptop Ultrathin ST500LT032
16.3 fps ∼4% -40%
Asus F75VC-TY088H
GeForce GT 720M, 2370M, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
31.8 fps ∼8% +18%
Dell Inspiron 15-3521-0620
Radeon HD 8750M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
42 fps ∼11% +56%
Asus A56CB-XX053H
GeForce GT 740M, 3217U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT
58.5 fps ∼15% +117%

Emissions

System Noise

The Toshiba Satellite C855 is not particularly quiet. The notebook is even audible during idle and simple office-type tasks, although the noise level is far from annoying. The DVD drive is pretty noisy at 37 dB(A). Under load, we recorded levels above 40 dB(A), which can be considered obtrusive.

Noise Level

Idle 32.2 / 33.5 / 34.2 dB(A)
DVD 36.9 / dB(A)
Load 40.9 / 40.4 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The notebook remains very cool during idle - especially on the left side. On the right side, the temperature increases to above 30 °C near the fan exhaust. This area also gets quite a bit warmer under load - we recorded a high of 47 °C. The left side remains around 30 °C. We consider temperatures under 50 °C to be acceptable.

Max. Load
 27.6 °C34.2 °C40.7 °C 
 27.4 °C36.5 °C43.2 °C 
 26.7 °C32.2 °C34.1 °C 
Maximum: 43.2 °C
Average: 33.6 °C
46.4 °C35.2 °C27.7 °C
37.7 °C34.9 °C27.8 °C
34 °C33.4 °C27.5 °C
Maximum: 46.4 °C
Average: 33.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  57.2 °C | Room Temperature 24.7 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Stress test

Stress test
Stress test

During the test with Prime95 and Furmark, the processor and the graphics card are simultaneously stressed for over one hour, which also taxes the cooling system. The C855 performs flawlessly here, as the CPU remains at 3.0 GHz, while the GPU maintains 450 MHz at all times. The CPU temperature also only reaches a fairly modest 78 °C. We ran the 3DMark benchmark again after the stress test: the result was identical to the test we conducted after a cold start.

Speakers

Although Toshiba touts an "SRS Premium Sound HD" when talking about the speaker system, we found the sound to be less compelling: piano sequences sound distorted, bass is lacking, and the maximum volume is also average at best. The notebook might be adequate to play back system sounds - for anything else, we recommend external speakers.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Since the dedicated graphics card is always in use, the power consumption is slightly above average during idle. With the screen set to its maximum brightness and wireless turned on, the notebook consumes a healthy 15 watts.

Under load, we measured a maximum power draw of 56.4 watts. Since we recorded the maximum power consumption during our stress test, the result is not overly realistic and doesn't represent normal usage scenarios. During the 3DMark06 benchmark test we measured only 33.7 watts.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.5 Watt
Idle 10.6 / 13.8 / 15.2 Watt
Load 33.7 / 56.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

The lithium-ion battery Toshiba uses has a capacity of 48 Wh and is easy to remove and replace. Due to the above-average power consumption at low load levels, the battery life is far from outstanding.

For the Battery Eater Reader's Test, we select the lowest display brightness and put the notebook in airplane mode. A script then simulates reading of a text document. The Toshiba C855 was able to last for 4 hours and 43 minutes under these conditions.

We use the WLAN test to get a more realistic idea of the battery life. We adjust the screen brightness to 150 cd/m² and use an automated script, which visits different web pages. The C855 shut down after a very short 3 hours 21 minutes.

For users wanting to watch DVDs, we would recommend shorter movies, since playback is only possible for about 2 hours.

The Battery Eater Classic Test renders a 3D scene and stresses both the CPU and GPU. The result of 1 hour and 14 minutes is actually pretty respectable.

Charging the notebook takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 43min
WiFi Surfing
3h 21min
DVD
2h 01min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 14min

Verdict

Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4
Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4

With a price of around 580 Euros (~$780), the Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4 can be considered an upper-end entry-level model. For that price, the user can expect higher performance and the system delivers - although it appears to us that Toshiba did try to save money in the wrong places.

The quality of the chassis is in line with the price point. Although there are no major flaws, the chassis does flex too much in some areas. The port selection leaves much to be desired: one single USB 3.0 port and no Gigabit LAN are clearly behind the time.

Because of the very limited feedback, the input devices take some time to get used to. The display brightness is adequate, but reflections hamper the usability in brightly lit environments and outside.

The dual-core Intel processor operates at peak performance even when under full load - and the benchmark scores show it. The dedicated AMD graphics card increases performance slightly, but also shortens battery life. Our tests show that the notebook will last about 3.5 hours on average with wireless turned on.

If the drawbacks we mentioned above are acceptable, the Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4 is certainly a usable, although fairly average notebook.

static version load dynamic

Comment this article:

In Review: The Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4, courtesy of:
In Review: The Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4, courtesy of:

Specifications

Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM76 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, 2x 4GB DDR3 RAM
:: Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon HD 7610M - 1024 MB, Core: 450 MHz, Memory: 1600 MHz
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, LG Philips LP156WH4-TLN1, TN LED, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Toshiba MQ01ABD100, 1000 GB 5400 rpm , 850 GB free
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC269 @ 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: Headphone jack, microphone jack, Card Reader: SD/-HC/-XC, MMC,
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8101 (10/100MBit), Realtek RTL8723AE Wireless LAN 802.11n (n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 35 x 380 x 243
:: Weight
2.3 kg Power Supply: 0.34 kg
:: Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4200 mAh
:: Price
620 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.280 x 800, Speakers: SRS Premium Sound HD, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The C855-2J4 comes with an Intel Core i5 and an entry-level GPU from AMD.
The C855-2J4 comes with an Intel Core i5 and an entry-level GPU from AMD.
One of the few differences between this model...
One of the few differences between this model...
...and the previously reviewed Satellite C850...
...and the previously reviewed Satellite C850...
...is the gray palm rest...
...is the gray palm rest...
...and the smooth display lid.
...and the smooth display lid.
Unfortunately, the display is highly reflective.
Unfortunately, the display is highly reflective.
The hinges are reasonably stiff...and glossy as well.
The hinges are reasonably stiff...and glossy as well.
Cost savings taken too far: only one USB 3.0 port.
Cost savings taken too far: only one USB 3.0 port.
The power adapter supplies 75 watts...
The power adapter supplies 75 watts...
...to a battery with 48 Wh.
...to a battery with 48 Wh.
The large maintenance cover...
The large maintenance cover...
...hides a Toshiba hard drive, ...
...hides a Toshiba hard drive, ...
...two RAM modules, ...
...two RAM modules, ...
...and the CMOS battery.
...and the CMOS battery.

Similar Notebooks

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

» Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C Notebook Review Update
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Celeron N2930
» Acer Aspire V3-572PG-604M Notebook Review
GeForce 840M, Core i5 4200U
» Acer Extensa 2509-C052 Notebook Review
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Celeron N2930
» Asus X551MAV-SX391B Notebook Review Update
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Celeron N2830

Price Comparison

Amazon.com

Show results on Amazon.com

Pricerunner n.a.

Pro

+Number pad
+Pleasant touchpad surface
+Display with ample contrast
+CPU clock speed remains at maximum during the stress test
+1 TB HDD and 8 GB RAM
 

Cons

-Many glossy surfaces
-Single USB 3.0 port
-No Gigabit LAN
-Glossy display
-Fairly short battery life

Shortcut

What we like

The high contrast ratio is a definite plus...

What we'd like to see

...but we would have preferred a non-glare display panel.

What surprises us

That Toshiba still only includes a single USB 3.0 port.

The competition

Toshiba Satellite C850-1LX, Toshiba Satellite C50D-A-10E, Lenovo G505s-20255, Lenovo B580-M94A5GE, Samsung Series 3 355E5C-S02DE.

Rating

Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4
09/16/2013 v3
Jonas Adams

Chassis
73%
Keyboard
64%
Pointing Device
82%
Connectivity
62%
Weight
84%
Battery
77%
Display
74%
Games Performance
75%
Application Performance
90%
Temperature
81%
Noise
82%
Add Points
75%
Average
77%
76%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4 Notebook
Author: Jonas Adams, 2013-09-24 (Update: 2013-10- 4)