For users who don’t place a priority on having an ultrathin laptop, the Toshiba Satellite S875-S7242 ($879.99 list) is an affordably priced desktop replacement for the budget-conscious user who values performance over portability. It’s not nearly as svelte as an ultrabook, so it’ll most likely be moved from room to room rather than taken on a daily commute. Still, it’s a solid performer with a reasonable price tag, and it’s a solid choice for those who don’t want performance curtailed in favor of cosmetics.
Design and Features
With a chassis that measures 1.3 by 16.3 by 10.30 inches (HWD) and weighs 5.88 pounds, the S875-S7242 won’t be confused for an ultrabook any time soon. With the exception of the palm rest and lid, it’s entirely decked out in black plastic, and the area immediately surrounding the keyboard sports a glossy finish. The decision to opt for a smudge-prone glossy material in the section where the most hand action occurs is somewhat puzzling, but that’s the case here. Meanwhile, the brushed aluminum lid and palm rest are both decked out in what Toshiba has dubbed an “Ice Blue” finish, which makes for an interesting contrast to the otherwise all-black body.
The raised tile keyboard makes for a rather uncomfortable typing experience due to its shallow keystrokes and tendency to flex. Moreover, it lacks a backlight, which may turn off folks who prefer to work in darker quarters. These flaws are balanced out by the keyboard’s ample size, which, like the Toshiba Satellite P775D-S7144, also includes an alpha numeric keypad. That said, it’s a minor consolation that doesn’t make up for what is ultimately an awkward typing instrument. The palm rest fares better thanks to its abundant size, which offers plenty of space for your hands to rest on. The same goes for the touchpad, which is cordoned off from the palm rest by a thin strip of silver and whose smooth and responsive handling complements its multitouch control and pinch-zooming capabilities.
Like the HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx, the S875-S7242′s 17.3-inch display has a maximum resolution of 1,600 by 900, which is good enough for 720p. While a screen of this size would obviously be better suited by true 1080p resolution, the display is still easy on the eyes and features bright colors and a glossy finish. Video playback looks great, too, which means you can put the built-in DVD drive to good use. A metallic grille above the keyboard houses the S875-S7242′s speakers, which pump out sounds at admirable, though not quite earth-shaking, levels.
The S875-S7242 doesn’t have quite as many ports as one would expect from a system of its size. The front of the system houses a media card reader (SD, MMC), while the right side has a full-size HDMI port, a VGA port, two USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port, and headphone and microphone jacks. The left side, meanwhile, sports said tray-loading DVD burner and a single USB 2.0 port.
The 750GB 5,400RPM hard drive has plenty of room to spare, though it comes stuffed with a considerable amount of preloaded software. As is often the case with preloaded software, these programs range from useful (Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Microsoft Live Essentials) to bloatware (Google Toobar, WildTangent games), with a slew of proprietary software (Toshiba BookPlace, Bulletin Board, Media Controller, and so on) and trial versions (30-day trials of Norton Internet Security).
The S875-S7242′s combined Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz processor and 8GB DDR3 RAM allowed it to hold its own against more expensive systems in its class. Its PCMark 7 score of 2,940 trounced all of its peers and only fell short of the Samsung 17-inch Series 7 Chronos (NP700Z7C-S01US) (3,047 points) by the narrowest of margins. The S875-S7242′s multimedia performance, on the other hand, muscled past that of its competitors across the board. It completed our Handbrake video-encoding test in a brisk 1 minute 17 seconds, outpacing the Series 7 Chronos by one second (1:18) and the HP Envy 17 (2012) by thirteen seconds (1:30) while blowing by the rest of its class. Likewise, its Cinebench score of 6.20 points was unrivaled, with the closest competitor, the Samsung Series 7 Chronos still falling short by a considerable margin (5.37). The S875-S7242 also completed our Photoshop CS5 test in 3 minutes 22 seconds, edging past the Samsung Series 7 Chronos (3:23) and the HP Envy 17 (3:37) while sprinting past the rest of the pack with ease.
Although the S875-S7242 wasn’t designed with gaming in mind, its integrated Intel HD 4000 GPU still performed admirably in our gaming benchmark tests, crossing the 30 frames per second (fps) threshold in medium-quality settings, albeit with some sweat. That said, its performance in Crysis (31fps medium quality) came within striking distance of the Satellite P775D-S7144 (39fps) but was significantly slower than the rest of its class, with the exception of the HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx (14fps). The same goes for its performance in our Lost Planet 2 benchmark test (31 fps in middle quality, 9 fps in high quality), which fell shy of the Toshiba P775D-S7144 (37fps and 15fps, respectively) and trumped the HP dv7-6b55dx (20fps in middle quality) but came nowhere near the equally scoring Series 7 Chronos and HP Envy 17 (77fps and 28fps for each, respectively). On the other hand, the S875-S7242′s 3DMark 06 scores of 7,498 points in 1,024 by 768 resolution with anti-aliasing turned off and 3,218 points in the native 1,600-by-900 resolution and 4x anti-aliasing fared somewhat better against that of its peers, with its first score edging past both the Toshiba P775D-S7144 (6,155 points) as well as the HP dv7-6b55dx (5,092 points) in similar settings.
The S875-S7242′s removable 6-cell 4,800mAh battery lasted 5 hours 23 minutes in our MobileMark 2007 test, which was outlasted by all but the Toshiba P775D-S7144 (4 hours). In contrast, the HP dv7-6b55dx had nearly double the battery life (9:33), while the HP Envy 17 lasted nearly two hours longer (7:19).
The Toshiba Satellite S875-S7242 isn’t the slimmest or most portable laptop available on the market, but it packs solid hardware into an affordable package while pumping out admirable benchmark scores that hold their own against more expensive systems. For the user who’s looking for a budget-friendly desktop replacement that won’t stray too far from the desk (or, more appropriately, the power outlet), it’s an overall solid choice. Otherwise, users with a bit more cash to spare, though, should opt for the Editors’ Choice HP Envy 17 (2012), whose better battery life and more potent feature set, like a true 1080p display and Blu-ray player, justify the extra $150.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS:
Check out the test scores for the Toshiba Satellite S875-S7242
Compare the Toshiba Satellite S875-S7242 with several other laptops side by side.
More laptop reviews:
|Processor Name||Intel Core i7-3610QM|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Screen Size Type||Widescreen|
|Processor Speed||2.3 GHz|
|Primary Optical Drive||DVD+/-RW (Plus Minus)|
|Screen Size||17.3 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||750 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc