Toshiba Satellite C660 - 11K review
Toshiba is well known for its business laptops, but it's still a little surprising that the Satellite C660 (which is aimed at home users) is fairly businesslike in appearance. The case is made of black plastic, but it's finished in a uniform texture which looks smart. With no tapered edges, the C660 looks quite boxy, even though it's the same thickness as most laptops.
There aren't any flashy LEDs or shortcut buttons on the case; two large speaker grilles sit each side above the keyboard. The touchpad has a two chunky buttons, adding to the impression of ruggedness. The speakers are quite loud and have better bass than many laptops speakers, but the sound is still compressed.
Toshiba has included a four-column numeric keypad to the right of the main keyboard: the keys are large and arranged in a normal layout. The action is a bit shallow and the flat-topped keys rattle as you type, but it's better than a lot of keyboards we've used. The wide touchpad is responsive too, and the large buttons are easy to use.
An Intel Core i3-370M processor provides ample power, scoring 85 overall in our benchmarks and 97 in the single-threaded Image-editing test. Toshiba relies on the Core i3's onboard graphics chip, which can handle HD decoding but isn't powerful enough to play the latest 3D games.
The 320GB hard disk is slightly disappointing, as we'd expect 500GB at this price. What's even more disappointing is the lack of expansion ports and support for new technologies: there are only two USB ports, no HDMI output and no eSATA or USB 3.0 ports, plus the LAN port only supports 100Mbit/s Fast Ethernet and there's no Bluetooth. At least you get 802.11n WiFi.
This paucity of ports and connections means the C660 lacks flexibility. If you prefer to use a mouse with your laptop, you'll only have one free USB port to plug in external drives, smartphones or MP3 players, and the lack of HDMI output means you'll have to resort to the VGA output to connect a larger screen.
The C660's 15.6in screen is reasonably bright and colourful. A glossy finish and fussy vertical viewing angles mean you have to adjust the tilt carefully, and there's a slight blue cast that dulls flesh tones, but otherwise it's a decent display. The 1,366x768 resolution is standard at this size, but means you can watch 720p video at full resolution, too.
With a collect and return warranty, the C660 isn't terrible value when viewed alone. Its battery also lasted well over five hours in our light-use test, beating virtually every other 15.6in laptop at this price. However, it also has a smaller hard disk and fewer USB ports than many rivals plus it lacks an HDMI port. Even if battery life is important to you, there are better buys than the C660.
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