Review

Review: Toshiba Satellite P755

There are a lot of laptops on the market, literally thousands of them. So when it comes time to select your next laptop, it’s important to do your homework.

Toshiba has sent Neowin one of their newest Satellite P755D-S5266 laptops. This unit rings up the register at 749.99 which places it in the middle of the road for price. It comes in well below the high end gaming laptops and below those thin and light models, such as the P830 previously reviewed by Neowin. But it does come in significantly higher than a netbook and some other entry level models. So what does one get when they purchase the P775d-S5266? Some of the key specs are listed below, the entire spec sheet can be found here.

  • AMD Quad-Core A6-3400M Accelerated Processor
  • AMD Radeon™ HD 6520G
  • 6GB DDR3 1333MHz memory
  • 640GB HDD (5400rpm)
  • Blu-ray Disc™ Rewriteable (RE) and DVD SuperMulti drive with Labelflash®*Optical Drives*
  • Blu-ray Disc™ ROM and DVD SuperMulti drive with Labelflash® supporting 12 formats*
  • 15.6" widescreen, HD TruBrite® LED Backlit display
  • 1366x768 (HD), Supports 720p content, 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Harman/Kardon® stereo speakers, Headphone jack (stereo), Microphone jack (mono), Waves MaxxAudio® 3
  • 1-USB (3.0) port with USB Sleep and Charge*, 3-USB (2.0)
  • HDMI output port
  • Webcam and microphone built into LCD bezel
  • Li-Ion (48Wh, 6-Cell)
  • Dimensions (W x D x H ): 15.0” x 9.8” x 1.1”/1.4”
  • Weight: Starting at 5.8 lbs., depending upon configuration

Design:

The first thing you notice about this laptop is that it is large. It, in no way, tries to hide this fact. The 15.6 in screen and full size keyboard with number pad let you know right away this is not a portable powerhouse for long plane rides.

The shell of the laptop is made of a plastic material that has a bit of wave to it. It is not a smooth surface but it is not sharp either.  The trackpad is off center, which to some with OCD may drive them nuts, but when using the device it is perfectly placed. If it was centered on the laptop it would make for an awkward user experience. 

The overall feel of the device is reflected by its price point. Sure, we would love to see a higher grade plastic or even metal, but then again it’s price reflects what materials are used on the laptops. For that, the materials are satisfactory but do not excite.

There is also a touch sensitive bar of additional buttons that give quick access to Wi-Fi, volume up/down, play/pause, backlight on/off, and eco mode. Touch sensitive buttons are a personal preference, some people enjoy them while others are frustrated. Unlike others we have seen on laptops (such as the Hp 6530b), these are responsive and easy to use. But, they still don’t provide any tactile feedback.

Keyboard:

The keyboard on this device feels much like that of the R830 which makes sense as they are both produced by Toshiba. With the R830, we said that the keyboard felt cramped because of its size. The P775 has a full size keyboard and relieves most of the issues we had with the R830.

The P755 keyboard is expansive and includes a number pad. The keys have adequate travel distance and have just enough snap that it leaves the user confident of their keystrokes. We are happy to report that this keyboard is also backlit, a big thumbs up for this feature.

The keys do retain the same materials as the R830 and some may find them a bit slippery. We would opt for a slightly more resistive material but you do get used to the surface after minimal use.

Trackpad:

The trackpad is made of similar materials as the shell of the laptop and it also has the same groves/ridges as well.  The trackpad is a bit of a sticking point as it is accurate and responsible but the trackpad buttons leave a lot to be desired.  The assurance of a proper click is not there on right or left clicking when using the buttons as the key action feels hesitant and shallow. This feeling gets aplified if you use an edge of the button as opposed to the center.

If you can overlook the trackpad buttons, the surface area is adequate but still falls well short of the MacBook experience. But then again, this laptop is priced well below the entry level Mac. The trackpad gets the job done, but even at this price, could still use a bit of refinement.

LCD:

The LCD on the P755d is LED backlit and is vibrant for a laptop screen. The off angel viewing both horizontal and vertical is acceptable and is easily viewable those who are not directly in front of the screen. On sticking point is the 1366x768 which leaves room to be desired.  A higher resolution screen would do a lot of justice on the 15.6 in screen.

Audio:

A pleasant surprise for this laptop is the included Harman/Kardon speakers which, for a laptop, do an exceptional job at audio reproduction. While the lows are still a bit weak, mids and highs were crisp and acute. There was minimal distortion at high volume, while not replacement for your home audio system, it does perform at levels well above most other laptops.

Performance:

The P755 comes with multiple CPU/GPU combinations but our particular unit has the AMD Quad-Core A6-3400M and is paired with AMD Radeon™ HD 6520G that together make for a formidable mid range laptop. It’s important to remember that despite the size, this is not a gaming laptop, nor does it play one on TV.  But the radeon graphics do trounce the integrated Intel graphics in the Windows Experience score of the R830.

Using the laptop for daily activities such as YouTube, Hulu, email, word processing, writing this review, the laptop was more than capable. In fact, using while sitting on your lap is a comfortable experience as its full size keyboard makes it easy on the wrists. One thing to note is that, like other laptops, this laptop does kick out a fair bit of heat, especially when using the Blu-ray drive. From a cold boot, the device took 27 seconds to reach a useable state.

Battery Life:

As you would expect in a laptop with a 15.6 in display, battery life is less than thin and light models on the market. While using the laptop browsing the web, checking email and other various real world tasks, we were able to suck out 3.75 hours of battery life. While not exceptional, it hits the middle of the road for what we would expect out of a laptop in this mid range class. If you put the laptop into its Eco mode, you can muster out a little over 4 hours of battery life.

Bloatware:

Much like every other PC on the market, this laptop comes with its share of bloat. Unless you find a need for the toolbars and security software, expect to spend about 30 minutes uninstalling all the software on the device.

Other Notables:

There are many other features that need mentioning. The webcam on the laptop is right in the middle of the road, neither exciting nor exceptional. All video calls worked as one would expect and did not present any barriers.

The addition of a Blu-ray player is a welcomed addition. To make it a writeable Blu-ray player makes it a fantastic addition for the price.  Playback was effortless but did drain the battery at a rather quick pace. Bring your charger along if you’re going to be using this as a portable movie studio.

Finally, media slot, USB ports 1 3.0 and 3 2.0, and HDMI out round out all the typical ports that you would expect for a laptop of this caliber.

Conclusion:

When reviewing this laptop, we kept thinking about a lumberjack. A lumber jack may not have the latest tools or fancy gizmos, but it gets everything done in a way that is respectable and that’s how we feel about this laptop. It is big, bold, and full of bits that are not the highest end, but at the same time it isn’t priced be to be either.

Ringing up at $749 seems like a fair offer for this laptop. It comes up short in a few places like the resolution and trackpad but also gives back with the addition of a Blu-ray player.  But, at the end of the day, the P775d-S5266 keeps true to its form and is a viable alternative for the full sized laptop crowd for those who are looking to spend less than a grand on their next machine.

7/10

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28 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

You didn't link the full spec sheet. As far a screen res goes mfgs are not getting the message of ppl wanting better resolutions and screw the movie formats of 16:9.

Sigh... Hopefully with Windows 8, Microsoft will finally tackle the bloatware problem. I remember seeing that Windows 8 PCs will require UEFI, but is that a tablet-only requirement?

Hardware makers continue to DROP THE BALL! NO NO NO NO NO... SSD, thin, light, Sandy Bridge. High resolution screen. I'm not buying an Apple and I'm not buying anything in this department. Those Ultrabooks better be good. My Toshiba came with 22 different peices of Toshiba crap on it. What are they thinking with this crap? I'm not editing video on my laptop, or playing games, I just want it to go fast from site to site, and boot quickly. Man; get with it.

There are a lot of models jsut like just ask, I think you are not searching at all in fact.

jimmyfal said,
Hardware makers continue to DROP THE BALL! NO NO NO NO NO... SSD, thin, light, Sandy Bridge. High resolution screen. I'm not buying an Apple and I'm not buying anything in this department. Those Ultrabooks better be good. My Toshiba came with 22 different peices of Toshiba crap on it. What are they thinking with this crap? I'm not editing video on my laptop, or playing games, I just want it to go fast from site to site, and boot quickly. Man; get with it.

jimmyfal said,
Hardware makers continue to DROP THE BALL! NO NO NO NO NO... SSD, thin, light, Sandy Bridge. High resolution screen. I'm not buying an Apple and I'm not buying anything in this department. Those Ultrabooks better be good. My Toshiba came with 22 different peices of Toshiba crap on it. What are they thinking with this crap? I'm not editing video on my laptop, or playing games, I just want it to go fast from site to site, and boot quickly. Man; get with it.

You buy a computer/laptop, first thing you do: format C drive and install a fresh copy of windows.

Better: custom build computer.

TrOjAn. said,
You buy a computer/laptop, first thing you do: format C drive and install a fresh copy of windows.
I feel like that falls under dropping the ball. It's certainly true, but it's just pathetic and much of the reason that people are driven to Mac's.
TrOjAn. said,
Better: custom build computer.
Not as applicable with laptops.

TrOjAn. said,

You buy a computer/laptop, first thing you do: format C drive and install a fresh copy of windows.

Better: custom build computer.

I am not sure how to even respond, as I am know the frustration of the crapware they get paid to put on the computers is annoying, but taking 10 minutes and uninstalling them in the control is far faster than a clean install. (And I am also compensating for a purists view of removing all registry entries and non-essential features.)

The really stupid thing about doing the clean install, is that you will lose features of the laptop unless you go back to install the MFR specific drivers, again more time.

However I do know people that have this mindset, and after wiping the computer they then have wonder why the facial login features don't work, and the ambient light sensor doesn't work as the driver was never loaded, and depending on the MFR there are some really important performance settings in the drivers/software they install that tell Windows 7 the timing, which can result in a performance difference that is massive.

I have had people using the same laptop model as mine come up and ask questions of why my laptop looks the same, but is doing xyz that their doesn't do.

If you are truly tech savvy, you should be able to remove anything installed by the OEM, and if you are not truly tech savvy, you are probably going to screw up and not install specific software and features that make the laptop work properly.

(From performance specific settings to the laptop to even nigh things like Toshibas HD protection monitor, ambient light sensors, device leds, etc.)

Ever bought an Acer laptop?
If so, then you know how many Oberon games there are installed and how many software there is installed that you don't need. Like a wifi dashboard? A battery dashboard ..? Those are all build in with Windows 7.

Besides, you can download everything from the (in this case) Acer website if you want such software.

Just wondering if neowin had made bad review, would toshiba have followed Redner Group experience and threatened to not send their product for review in future?

.Neo said,
I hate those stickers PC makers feel the need to plaster all over their products.

Not a fan either, but at least they're easily removed, unlike that ginormous Apple logo.

Max Norris said,

Not a fan either, but at least they're easily removed, unlike that ginormous Apple logo.

Those Apple logos you are referring to are not stickers. Try removing the Toshiba, HP or Dell logos from the back of their displays...

.Neo said,
I hate those stickers PC makers feel the need to plaster all over their products.

AMD stickers are designed to be removed easily.

.Neo said,
I hate those stickers PC makers feel the need to plaster all over their products.

I know why they are there, as the OEMs like to advertise what is in the unit, and the component makers like people to see what others are using.

However, I have yet to see a sticker that isn't easy to remove yet, and if you can't figure out how to remove even a 'tough' sticker, maybe you shouldn't be trusted with a computer.

TrOjAn. said,
this should be at least 7200 rpm!
One thing a lot of people fail to realize, particularly due to marketing, is that a 7200 RPM hard drive does not necessarily have the same quality of speed gains compared to ye olde 5400 RPM drives.

The reason is that drive platters have increased insanely over the past couple of years, and thus the surface area has increased on each platter. As it is, I tend to stick with higher end, 5400 RPM drives in my laptops to save on battery and heat (spinning faster generates more heat, which leads to more likely failures and more work by the internal fans to dissipate said heat).

7200 RPM for that minor, extra umph in my desktops. Of course, in an ideal world I would be sporting an SSD in both.

TrOjAn. said,

this should be at least 7200 rpm!

Really? I can show you 5400 RPM drives that will smoke 7200 rpm drives. It has more to do with the brand and how the internal algorithms work than the actually speed the platters spin.

I see people make this mistake too much. Heck even go look up a HD speed comparison chart on a hardware site. You would be surprised to see how the RPM has less to do with performance than people realize. (especially in a laptop where the some HDs throttle the RPM.)

With Windows 7 caching technologies, HD raw performance is also less important, because if Windows 7 is doing its job, based on your patterns and time, it should already have the content cached. (You open email around 8am, and play WoW around 9pm, Windows 7 notices this and has these items cached at these times for you.)


Also a side note about performance, my older Toshiba (Core Duo2), uses a 5400 rpm drive, yet my performance number is 5.8 under Windows 7. We have machines with 10000 rpm drives with an i7, and some rate only 5.5. Running a raw HD speed test, the silly 5400 rpm Toshiba laptop still beats the 10000 rpm drives in some systems. (Not custom builds either, just average high end desktops.)


Also when dealing with RPM, the battery is a consideration, and if you are only get an effective 5% more speed out of a 7200 rpm drive, but get 10% less battery life, is it really worth it?

I learn every day ;-)

But this laptop is not made to last long on the battery, it's already wasted so 5400 rpm vs 7200 rpm is no question in my opinion.

And in general, 7200 will be faster, that's what I mean :-)

satus said,
the speaker looks so cheap.

If you think this looks cheap, have a look at the Satellite Pro range... we get Toshibas for our clients, and we've gotten a couple of the Satellite Pros that are pretty decent specs (i5, 4GB RAM, nVidia Graphics, BluRay, 640GB HDD), and they are made from the cheapest, nastiest plastic I have ever felt and the build doesn't feel quite right. The texture they put on it doesn't help, either.

satus said,
Only Asus,

True, the Asus machines are quite nice, if a bit heavy on the crapware.

satus said,
HP,

lolwut? Have you seen the dv6 models? In their infinite wisdom, the HDD activity light is on the side, between the optical drive and a USB port. Hardly an intelligent place to put it. There's also another power light there for some reason. They also pick up fingerprints and scratches very easily.

A lot of their other models just look... eh. And they're HPs, they are victims of bad breeding.

satus said,
and Sony make good PC computer designs

Some of the Sony's are nice, some of them are a bit out there (especially those bright green ones).

The current Dells are pretty nice as well as far as looks go... one client bought in a Vostro 3750 that I wanted to steal it looked and felt that good, and I'm not usually a fan of the huge laptops. That said, It's going to take a lot to get me to choose anything apart from a ThinkPad again in the future: not everyone's cup of tea designwise, but I find it to be rather attractive, they're also built like a tank and oh dear god the keyboard is awesome.

To be fair, complaining about a led in the HP while having aluminum finish on the top cover and the whole frame of the palm rest is just.... not good. I admit tough that a more squarish finish would do just more elegant, but for the price I won't complain.

Douglas_C said,

If you think this looks cheap, have a look at the Satellite Pro range... we get Toshibas for our clients, and we've gotten a couple of the Satellite Pros that are pretty decent specs (i5, 4GB RAM, nVidia Graphics, BluRay, 640GB HDD), and they are made from the cheapest, nastiest plastic I have ever felt and the build doesn't feel quite right. The texture they put on it doesn't help, either.

True, the Asus machines are quite nice, if a bit heavy on the crapware.

lolwut? Have you seen the dv6 models? In their infinite wisdom, the HDD activity light is on the side, between the optical drive and a USB port. Hardly an intelligent place to put it. There's also another power light there for some reason. They also pick up fingerprints and scratches very easily.

A lot of their other models just look... eh. And they're HPs, they are victims of bad breeding.

Some of the Sony's are nice, some of them are a bit out there (especially those bright green ones).

The current Dells are pretty nice as well as far as looks go... one client bought in a Vostro 3750 that I wanted to steal it looked and felt that good, and I'm not usually a fan of the huge laptops. That said, It's going to take a lot to get me to choose anything apart from a ThinkPad again in the future: not everyone's cup of tea designwise, but I find it to be rather attractive, they're also built like a tank and oh dear god the keyboard is awesome.

satus said,
the speaker looks so cheap. Only Asus, HP, and Sony make good PC computer designs

Have you heard the sound out of Asus laptop? You would run from your statement if you had the chance to compare the two. Also in the Real World, the Toshiba speakers are nice looking.

I had a Toshiba Laptop back in 2002, which also had the harmon/kardon speakers. It was a 5105 series, with lcd touch screen touchpad (yes things like this existed before Apple invented everything.)

Anyway, it was so loud and rich that my friend in an apartment got reported to management at 2pm in the afternoon (not quiet hours) for the loud movies from the internal speakers in my laptop.

Which was both a bit annoying and cool that a 15" laptop with tiny speakers was shoving out sound louder than boomboxes of the 80/90ss.

The speakers that toshiba uses are the reason my personal computer I use for heavy use is a Toshiba, because if I want to play a movie with friends, it can more than provide the volume needed for a mini-movie experience. And even with the mid-range harmon kardon speakers provides real bass.

The harmon kardon on HPs are less impressive, but aren't bad. When my spouse bought a media center HP in 2004 17" laptop with harmon kardon, it would produce nice sound, but my older toshiba was still louder and had more bass and the toshiba was 1/2 the size of the Hp laptop and 1/2 the weight.


The AMD A6 processors (as well as A8) can be overclocked and undervolted, allowing for far better performance without compromise. K10STAT helps in that.

Currently running AMD A63410MX from 1.6 GHz @ 1.1v to 2.3 GHz @ 1.0375 (76° max tested with prime 95, cooler than with default settings)