A couple of weeks ago, I purchased the Toshiba Satellite C55Dt-A5305 as a gift for my wife. It was perfect for the budget we had planned on a new laptop, but I was concerned that the old saying “You get what you pay for” would rear its ugly head. Fortunately, it hasn’t.
What You Get for $400
Let me start this off with saying that the Toshiba Satellite C55Dt-A is NOT a laptop that will blow you away. It doesn’t have cutting edge hardware, it isn’t the most powerful machine on the market. However, do not let that curb your interest in this sub-$400 laptop. It has a good number of “pros” when compared to some obvious “cons”. The C55Dt-A is powered with an AMD A6 quad core 64-bit processor running at 2.0 GHz. It has 4GB of RAM, with 3.45GB available to the user. Generally, with RAM on machines with embedded graphics chipsets, a portion of the RAM is dedicated to the graphics processor. You also get a spacious 750GB HDD. This is generally more than enough room for music, movies, and games…even with numerous apps and programs installed.
Being a budget laptop, Toshiba opted to add a feature that would sell the machine to those not wanting to spend a lot. You get a full Windows Touch Support touchscreen with 10 touch points. It is a capacitive touch screen, which means precise responses when you touch the screen. The resolution is the generally paltry 1366 x 768. Not the best resolution, by far, but rather standard amongst most laptops that sell under the $999.99 price point. What makes this a wonderful feature is that with Windows Touch Support, everything becomes touch oriented, including games that were never intended for touch. My wife enjoys playing The Sims, and even the original “The Sims: Complete Edition” responded perfectly to touch input. The Sims 3 was even more impressive, if not a little easier to play, thanks to not having to worry about mouse location.
Additional features include a media card reader, 1x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports, built in webcam, HDMI, VGA, and DVD –/+ RW drive. First off, only having one USB 3.0 port is a bit of a shame. USB 3.0 is fast, and not having that option available in more ports puts a strain on the user to determine what gets to use that port when multiple devices are needing to be attached. Second, the webcam claims “HD” capabilities, but isn’t all that impressive. It comes off “grainy”, but that is with the Windows 8.x camera app. In Google+ Hangouts, it looks a bit better in quality. There is a built-in microphone, but again, rather basic. The DVD drive does have an issue regarding access. The small button to open the tray is in an awkward position almost under the tray, making it difficult to quickly find, and press. Sadly, there is no “open” function key to alleviate this issue.
One last “technical detail” regarding this laptop: It weighs in at a hefty 5.3 pounds and measures 9.50 x 15 x 1.30 inches. You will notice this when you are lugging it around. The body is all plastic. No fancy brushed aluminum, or ridged design. This gives it a “cheap” feel, but the plastic is textured giving a feeling that it won’t slip out of your hands when transporting it.
Now, personally, I want power when it comes to my devices, but I am still on a budget. That is why I purchased a laptop that opted away from the touchscreen, but made up for it with a stronger processor, and graphics chip last year. However, there is nothing wrong with the Toshiba Satellite C55Dt-A5305. It runs Windows 8.1 right out of the box. It offers enough “oomph” to play a great number of games. Best of all, it has a full touchscreen offering the full Windows 8 experience. My wife has used my laptop, and loved it. However, when she got this Toshiba, she was more than pleased. She has yet to make a single complaint regarding the machine – not one. So with that, there is a laptop out there for the budget conscious buyer, and this is it.
Can I recommend this laptop? Yes. However, keep in mind what you are shopping for. If you want a Windows 8.1 laptop that will do what you need to do, but nothing more, this is the laptop for you. If you want something that is more powerful with better features, you will be spending a bit more.