Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175 review

At a little under £400, Toshiba’s new Satellite C55-C could be just the ticket for anyone that can't or won’t invest much in a laptop. It has a clean, fuss-free design – especially in all-white – and a recent Intel processor lets it run for half a working day. See also: Best cheap laptops to buy in 2015

Also see: Best Black Friday Laptop Deals

As a budget design built to a price it lacks quality in key areas, and Toshiba pre-loads user-hostile software (such as web browser toolbars) to claw back revenue from its customers. Not the greatest of starts, then.

Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175 review: Build and Design

The lightweight plastic chassis is essentially that used in other budget Toshibas, such as the Satellite L50D-C and P50T-C, with this C55-C missing the token metal veneer found on some models’ lids. Available in black or white, our snow-white sample had a fetching pale green trim along all edges. Sadly this proved to be just protective packing tape.

The keyboard is serviceable if uninspiring, shallow tiled keys with a numberpad. Real buttons on the trackpad are a boon, since some low-quality buttonless types can be exhausting to operate. But the buttons require some pressure to click, making long sessions less comfortable.

 Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175 review

There’s a tray-load DVD writer to the left, able to burn to M-DISC media, plus ethernet, a power inlet and a USB 2.0 port. Poor layout means it’s nearly impossible to press Eject without lifting the laptop. The opposite side features one each USB 2.0 and 3.0, HDMI, and a slot for SDXC cards. For wireless comms there’s standard Bluetooth 4.0, plus basic single-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Inside is a modest 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard disk. Don’t expect to upgrade these easily since there are no access doors, nor removable battery. Any service work will require a workshop strip-down.

The usual casualty for budget laptops is screen quality. The C55-C is no exception with a lousy low-resolution panel that became unreadable viewed more than a few degrees off axis. In our tests, contrast ratio was only 80:1 and colour coverage just 60 percent sRGB. Together with its poor colour accuracy of Delta E 10.0, the result is a milky, washed-out image with furry text.

These are the same figures we've seen for most recent budget laptops, including the Satellite L50D mentioned earlier and the Asus X555LA, which currently sits at the top of our budget laptop chart. If you want or need a better screen, it's advisable to spend a couple of hundred pounds more and get an IPS screen. A good example is the new Dell Inspirion 15-5558.

 Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175 review

Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175 review: Performance

Toshiba has fitted a recent Core i5-5200U procesor, leading to decent bench results of 2616 points in Geekbench 3. It scored 5201 points when using both Hyper Threaded cores.

PCMark 8 results are around average for the price, 2298 in the conventional Home run and 2747 accelerated.

Mind your detail settings and you may just run Windows action games. We recorded an average of 37fps (27fps min) in Tomb Raider, wound down to 720p and Low quality. Similarly Batman: Arkham City limped at 30fps at Low and 720p.

With its fixed 44Wh battery, the Satellite ran for 5 hr 04 min, not terrible but short by today’s standards.

Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175: Specs

  • 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) 100 dpi TN gloss display
  • Windows 8.1 (sample supplied with Windows 10)
  • 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U (2.7GHz Turbo) 2C, 4T
  • Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • 4GB (1x 4GB) DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB 5400rpm SATA HDD
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11ac, 1x1 MIMO (Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • DVD±RW, tray-load, M-DISC compatible
  • 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • HDMI
  • Kensington Security Slot
  • SDXC card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • 0.9Mp webcam
  • dual mics
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • UK tiled keyboard with numberpad
  • two-button trackpad, 91 x 55 mm
  • 44Wh lithium-ion, non-removable battery
  • 45W mains charger with IEC C5 inlet
  • 380 x 257 x 23.8mm
  • 2.2kg
  • 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) 100 dpi TN gloss display
  • Windows 8.1 (sample supplied with Windows 10)
  • 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U (2.7GHz Turbo) 2C, 4T
  • Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • 4GB (1x 4GB) DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB 5400rpm SATA HDD
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11ac, 1x1 MIMO (Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • DVD±RW, tray-load, M-DISC compatible
  • 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • HDMI
  • Kensington Security Slot
  • SDXC card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • 0.9Mp webcam
  • dual mics
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • UK tiled keyboard with numberpad
  • two-button trackpad, 91 x 55 mm
  • 44Wh lithium-ion, non-removable battery
  • 45W mains charger with IEC C5 inlet
  • 380 x 257 x 23.8mm
  • 2.2kg

OUR VERDICT

The Satellite C55-C includes a recent Haswell processor but elsewhere the budget cuts show, especially the poor screen. Upgrading is not feasible so don’t expect to easily fix the limited memory or slow disk storage later.