The Toshiba Satellite S855-S5188 ( Toshiba Keyboard ) addresses one of the big flaws in a previous version I looked at by including a dedicated graphics processor. The system is still quite affordable with pricing under $800 which makes it a decent choice especially with its decent build quality. The problem is that there is enough competition at this price point that it doesn't have enough to set itself apart.
- Good General Performance From Core i7 Processor
- Nice Build Quality
- Hard Drive Holds Back System Performance
- Keyboard Needs A Bit More Texture like the HP DM Series DM3-1000 (Black) Keyboard
Essentially, the Toshiba Satellite S855-S5188 is extremely similar to the Satellite S855-S5378 that I looked over back in December. The only real difference is a dedicated graphics processor but this review also takes into account the changes in the market in the last six months as well.
An Intel Core i7-3630QM quad core mobile processor is still at the heart of the Satellite S855-S5188. This provides it with a solid level of performance which is essential for anyone that is looking to do more demanding computing work such as desktop video editing. The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory which allows it to run smoothly within Windows 8 even if you are running a fair number of applications simultaneously.
As mentioned earlier, the big difference with the Satellite S855-S5188 ( Toshiba Keyboard Cover ) is the inclusion of an AMD Radeon HD 7670M graphics processor. This is extremely welcome over the past version that relied on the Intel HD Graphics 4000 as it now has 3D capability for gaming up to the displays mediocre 1366x768 display resolution. The graphics also allow for a greater range of acceleration of non-3D applications though this is changing with the latest Intel graphics drivers. The display panel is the same lower resolution panel that is more commonly found in the budget class systems. It offers decent color but has limited contrast and viewing angles.
Storage features remain completely unchanged which is a bit disappointing. The 750GB hard drive is fairly typical of a laptop in its price range now and should provide a fair amount of space for applications, data and media files. The problem is that more companies are starting to use faster 7200rpm drives or supplementing the hard drive with solid state cache to improve application load times and boot times. Boot times aren't terrible at just over half a minute but they are still slower than some newer laptops on the market. If you want to add additional space to the system, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external hard drives. There is still a DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
The keyboard of the Toshiba Satellite S855 uses an isolated keyboard design like the IBM N Series N500 Keyboard that features a full numeric keypad. The layout itself is decent with full size shift and enter keys. The only real downside is that the keys are very flat and have a shallow range of travel considering the size of this laptop. It certainly isn't bad but not one of the better keyboards on the market either. The trackpad is in a small recessed area that is centered on the primary keyboard rather than the palmrest and uses a textured surface with dedicated left and right buttons rather than integrated ones. Multitouch support is decent and only trips up sometimes on some gestures.