Toshiba Satellite L755D-12L review

Budget 15.6in laptop with an entertainment focus
Photo of Toshiba Satellite L755D-12L
£449

The Satellite L755D-12L makes a good initial impression, looking more expensive than it actually is. Not to mention feeling more expensive. While this is a budget laptop, you wouldn’t guess that from the build quality or finish. It’s a very well put together piece of hardware with no corners cut in terms of construction.

Smart styling
The 15.6in display’s hinge opens smoothly, the touchpad buttons are large and have a satisfying click, and there’s nothing remotely plasticky or tacky about this budget-priced machine. In fact the dark red and black finish looks very stylish, with a mottled ‘matrix’ pattern of tiny squares add a bit of aesthetic kick to what must be one of the best-looking budget laptops we’ve ever set eyes on.

However, the appealing looks and Ferrari style colour scheme would mean little if the insides of this PC ran like a clapped out old Lada. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. It has a quad-core processor on board, albeit an entry-level one, the AMD A6-3400M. This runs at 1.4GHz, not a very high speed – but it does have the ability to turbo up to 2.3GHz when required. The machine doesn’t have a discrete video card, instead relying on the CPU’s integrated Radeon HD 6520G graphics.

You might think that this sounds rather wobbly in terms of gaming performance, and indeed the L755D-12L obviously isn’t going to be a benchmark-crushing machine. But when put through its gaming paces, it managed a decent enough performance, particularly considering the laptop’s price bracket. The 6GB of system memory doesn’t hurt when it comes to keeping games running palatably, either.

Benchmark numbers
In our gaming benchmarks, the Satellite achieved better results than we anticipated seeing. Stalker: Call of Pripyat saw it hit 23 frames per second (fps) in the standard benchmarks with high details at the 15.6in display’s maximum 1366×768 resolution, which is a decent result. Dragon Age II chugged a little at high details, but was still more or less playable.

Turning the graphics down to medium levels, Dragon Age ran reasonably smoothly, benching at around 32fps on medium quality. DiRT 3 ran fairly smoothly even on high settings, as long as no anti-aliasing was involved. However, don’t expect to play more demanding games on anything but lower detail settings. Of course, this is a budget portable, so you shouldn’t be expecting to play Crysis 2 with anything remotely resembling a visual whistle or bell.

Features
The notebook’s display is nice and bright, producing a decently vibrant picture quality, as we discovered when watching a couple of DVDs. Black levels are okay, even though the screen is of the glossy variety. That means it’s rather reflective in more brightly lit environments, and the vertical viewing angle is a bit flaky.

Also included in this machine is a DVD drive, along with a 320GB hard disk, which is a little on the small side these days. While that’s obviously another factor in keeping the price down, we’d like to have seen something a tad more generous. There’s no Bluetooth, but Wi-Fi is present, and Toshiba has also included a webcam – again, good to see on a budget model.

The L755D-12L has a standard range of ports, including three USB ports (but no USB 3.0), an HDMI port as well as a VGA output. Furthermore, there’s a smart card reader and ethernet port alongside headphone and microphone sockets.

The Toshiba’s operating system is Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, as you’d expect, and Toshiba also pre-installs its hard drive recovery system to help pull the laptop back after a corruption or other similar disaster.

Responsive keyboard
The keyboard is also worth mentioning, as it’s a full-size affair with a numeric keypad. The tiled keys are nice and large, making for responsive typing. The space bar is one of those mini-versions often seen on portables, but because it’s very responsive we never found it failed to register. The Satellite’s pair of stereo speakers produce a passable sound, but don’t expect much in the way of volume.

Battery life
In terms of battery life, the machine managed four and a half hours on a balanced power plan with middling brightness and light usage under Windows, which is a reasonable performance.

As an overall package, this is a good all-round laptop which is excellently built for its price tag. We’re certainly noticing that the number of cheap and capable notebooks appears to be growing, perhaps partly due to a need for increased levels of competitiveness due to tablet cannibalisation of the laptop market. This can only be a good thing for consumers.

Company: Toshiba

Website: http://uk.computers.toshiba-europe.com/

Contact: Toshiba on 0844 847 8944

Positives
  • Very nicely priced; capable all-rounder.
Negative
  • Hard disk is a bit on the small side.

Verdict

The L755D-12L is a good all-rounder which is aesthetically pleasing and very nicely built. It can handle gaming to a reasonable extent and performed solidly under Windows. Those who are more serious about gaming, however, might be best served spending a bit more – heading a little over the £500 mark – to snag something with a discrete video card that'll handle higher graphical details with more aplomb. But for those who want a truly budget jack-of-all-trades entertainment machine, this represents a great buy.