Toshiba Satellite L855-148 review
The launch of Windows 8 may have inspired a whole new generation of notebook-tablet hybrids, but the Toshiba Satellite L855-148 proves that the traditional style of laptop still has a lot to offer.
It’s a big piece of kit, measuring 380x242x33mm and weighing a fairly chunky 2.3kg, but while it may not be the most mobile of laptops, the L855-148 is still a highly capable machine. It has an Intel Core i7-3610QM processor that runs at 2.4GHz, but Intel’s Turbo Boost technology can increase this clock speed to 3.6GHz when there’s enough thermal headroom. Paired with a huge 8GB of RAM, this laptop is incredibly fast, and it completed our multimedia benchmark tests with a very impressive score of 90. For reference, a desktop Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570K scores 100, so this makes the L855-148 easily one of the fastest laptops we’ve seen.
There’s one big drawback to this amount of power, though; the laptop chews through its battery. In our light use battery test the L855-148 only lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes on a full charge; far less than the five hours we expect to see from a laptop.
The L855-148 doesn’t just stop at application performance; it also has a powerful dedicated graphics card. The AMD Radeon HD 7670M chipset isn’t the fastest mobile chipset available, but it’s reasonably powerful considering it’s fitted to a sub-£650 laptop. This chipset produced an impressive average of 38.2fps in our Dirt Showdown benchmark at High Quality settings and 1,280x720, so the laptop can play modern games at high detail settings at smoothly playable frame rates.
We liked the laptop’s input devices, too. All the keys are evenly spaced and had plenty of bounce to them. The keys give plenty of tactile feedback, which helps you judge easily when you’ve struck a key, leading to fast typing speeds. There’s also a useful numeric keypad, which makes it far easier when working with plenty of numbers in a spreadsheet.
The touchpad is offset to one side, and we found it didn’t get in the way when we were typing. We particularly liked the touchpad’s slightly textured surface and its support for multi-touch gestures, as this made using Windows 8 a much more pleasant experience than trying to navigate its new interface with a mouse or the touchpad itself. Just a swipe of the touchpad from the right to left brings up the Charms bar like it would do on an ordinary Windows 8 touchscreen, and it makes pinching to zoom in applications as simple as can be without a dedicated touchscreen.
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