Toshiba Satellite L855-118 15.6 Inch Laptop Review and Specification

Toshiba's new Satellite uses one of the performance-oriented Intel Core i7 processors, the 3610QM. This is nominally a 2.3GHz quad-core chip, but it incorporates Intel's usual high-end bonus features, in the shape of Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost 2.0. Hyper-Threading splits each physical core into two virtual ones. So the processor is detected as an eight-core CPU. It doesn't provide anywhere near the performance of eight real cores, but there are noticeable benefits for highly parallel tasks, like 3D rendering. Turbo Boost 2.0 allows a single core to step up to 3.3GHz under load, and multiple cores can run at between 2.3GHz and 3.3GHz for extended periods. So the Satellite will be ideally suited to a wide range of tasks.

The L855-118 seems just about the right size for this reasonably meaty processor, too. It weighs in at an acceptable 2.3kg and sports a 15.6" widescreen display with a 16:9 aspect and 1,366 x 768 resolution. This isn't a bad display, and sports a high contrast surface. Horizontal viewing angles are decent, but vertical angles are not so impressive. The chassis is a little thick at 32.5mm, but the lid and palm rest have an attractive polished metal finish, while the base is made of plastic. The keyboard has a reassuring action, although perhaps a little light. The large touchpad is comfortable, with support for some multi-touch actions such as pinch-to-zoom, and has responsive buttons. So ergonomically the Satellite acquits itself well.

Toshiba has partnered the Core i7 with a reasonable but not outstanding 4GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 memory, although up to 16GB is possible. However, while one of the other major enhancements of the new Intel processor is much improved integrated HD 4000 graphics, they are still not quite at the level of discrete graphics if you're an avid gamer. So the L855-188 ships with AMD Radeon HD 7670M acceleration. This is still a mid-range graphics chipset, with 480 stream processors, but it sports a very healthy 2GB of dedicated memory. So it has plenty on offer if you do fancy a bit of gaming.

Toshiba Satellite L855-118 Laptop Specification :
  • Processor : 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 3610QM
  • RAM : 4GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • Graphics : AMD HD Radeon 7670M with 2GB
  • Hard disk : 750GB Hitachi Travelstar 5K750
  • Optical disc : Matshita BD-CMB UJ-160B Blu-ray DVD rewriter combo
  • Display : 15.6 inch Toshiba TruBrite HD TFT with 1,366 x 768 pixels
  • Networking : Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Interfaces : 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, SD card reader
  • Dimensions: (w) 380 x (D)242 x (H)32.55mm
  • Weight : 2.3kg
  • Warranty : 1 year collect and return

To test performance, we ran a selection of standard benchmarks. Maxon's workstation-oriented Cinebench R11.5 provides a good indication of brute processor power. Its rendering test returned a score of 6.19, which is very respectable, showing the raw power of the Intel Core i7 3610QM processor. The OpenGL score of 35.52 is also very respectable, showing that the L855-188 will be up for professional 3D work if required. The 3DMark11 score of 1200 in the Performance preset of the test is mid-range, but shows that this notebook will support gaming at a much higher quality than even the latest Intel integrated graphics could muster. Over the coming weeks, we will be adding more benchmarks to our suite of tests, so check back on future reviews to see how the Toshiba L855-188 compares in performance with its competitors.

Battery life was one of the few weak areas for the L855-188. The system lasted around an hour on our most gruelling processor-intensive battery test in balanced power mode, whereas Toshiba claims up to 4.5-hours in general usage. So it will just about be able to play you an entire Blu-ray movie on the move, and give you a useful European flight's worth of work time away from a power socket. But it won't let you work on battery all day.

Price : £729.99

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