Forget space. The real final frontier is the entry-level laptop market, where vendors try to match or undercut netbook and Chromebook prices while delivering to consumers full-fledged desktop replacements. That’s exactly what you get in the 15-inch Toshiba Satellite C55-C5241, that features a fifth Generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 1TB hard drive for storage.
The Satellite C55 packs solid components and practical looks at a very reasonable price. That said, the ASUS P-Series P2540UA-AB51, our Editors Choice for (SMB) business laptops offers even better performance, with forward looking features including a seventh generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive for storage.
Design and Build
The Satellite C55-C5241’s chassis is dressed in a modern, textured resin finish in matte black, giving it a more premium look. It measures 0.93 by 14.96 by 10.20 inches (HWD) and weighs a mere 5.85 pounds, making it lighter than the ASUS X550ZA-WB11’s 5.1 pounds. While a bit utilitarian, the look of the laptop is still modern, with some tapering to the front edge.
The 15.6-inch, 1,366-by-768-resolution LCD is LED-backlit for even lighting, and it has an anti-reflective coating. The resolution might seem limited if you’re setting up a Web development business, but it’s perfectly fine for clerical work in Word and PowerPoint. You won’t find a touch screen on this system, but it ships with the latest Windows 10 pre-loaded, so that’s not too much of an issue as you’ll enjoy Cortana and Microsoft Edge straight out-of-the box.
The non-backlit keyboard is comfortable, but has keys that are flatter and more mushy than the one on the ThinkPad Edge E43. The space bar is also a bit narrow in proportion to the wide keyboard deck. That deficiency is balanced by the extra convenience of a full 10-key numeric keypad, which the Lenovo E431 and other competitors like the Acer Aspire E5-571-37SY and Lenovo Z40 lack. If you love you movies on DVD, this system includes a built-in DVD drive which is just enough as most manufacturers are doing away with optical drives as they focus on making the units svelter.
Ports and Storage
Connectivity is good, not excellent. The system comes with one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI output, an Ethernet jack, and an SD card reader. There’s also a built-in DVD burner. Wireless connectivity comes by way of 802.11bgn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, letting you connect to a wide variety of the latest wireless hotspots and smart devices.
For storage, there is a 1000GB hard drive. While hard drives aren’t as fast as solid-state drives (SSD), it can be forgiven for a budget desktop replacement laptop, it is larger than the 500GB hard drive space offered in the Lenovo G50, but is the same as the 1TB in the Toshiba Satellite C55-C5240.
However, in as much as it is a budget laptop, we can’t ignore one flaw in the 1TB 5,400 rpm instead of faster 7,200 rpm since Toshiba didn’t feel philanthropic enough to through a SSD in there. Nonetheless, 1000 GB is still enough real-estate to stash away your media contents: movies, videos, audio collections and pictures without worrying about limited storage.
The Satellite C55-C5241 boasts a 2.2 GHz fifth-generation Intel Core i5-5200U processor and 8GB of RAM, with Mobile Intel HD 5500 graphics card. If you’ve been keeping an eye on Toshiba products lately, you may notice that this configuration is nearly identical to the more-expensive business laptops such as the Toshiba Satellite S55-B5280, with only a few small features and a chassis design distinguishing the two.
But there’s one major difference from other similarly priced laptops, the Satellite C55 comes with Windows 10 preinstalled and offers stable performance. Still, with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, the Satellite C55 laptop is ready to handle the demands of your day. From smooth multitasking to stunning visuals, this laptop is ready to take you to the next level.
Graphics performance aren’t top-notch, but the laptop promises clear-than-average visuals for multimedia tasks and movies. For gaming, you won’t get much but the system produced playable frames frame rates (albeit at medium detail and lower-resolution settings).
While the laptop isn’t built to satisfy hardcore gamers, and certainly won’t deliver the sort of 4K graphics the display can support, it does have some gaming capability, so long as you dial down the settings and don’t expect flawless performance.
The system trumps the Lenovo E431 in battery life. The Satellite C55’s lasted an excellent 6 hours 13 minutes on our battery rundown test, while the Lenovo E431 lasted 3:55. The Satellite C55’s battery life is just about enough to last a full 6-hour workday, and certainly enough to last on a cross-country flight.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes a well-priced, competent laptop is more attractive than, say, a flashier all-metal ultrabook, particularly if you’re buying several for a small startup. With decent battery life, a newer processor, Windows 10 pre-installed, and business-friendly features like a numeric keypad, the Toshiba Satellite C55-C5241 is an all-round laptop wort the price you’re paying for, especially for small businesses.
While it offers decent performance, it doesn’t stack up against the recently released ASUS P-Series P2540UA-AB51, which is the perfect system you can have for a small-to-medium businesses. It boasts a superb design and solid feature set, including a powerful Intel Core i5-7200U processor, 8GB RAM and 1TB hard drive for storage, but still remains incredibly affordable. For all these reasons, it remains our Editors’ Choice for small-medium business laptops.
The Satellite C55 packs solid components and practical looks at a very reasonable price. Sometimes you just need a laptop to do the job, and that’s what you’ve got here. It’s not too expensive, and it has the power and battery life to suit many home-office users.
- Solid performance in our tests
- Good battery life
- Would do with a faster hard drive inside of the 1TB (7,200RPM) drive
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U, 6GB RAM Memory, 1TB HDD, 8X DVD, E5-576-392H
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