The Toshiba Satellite P55-A5200 is a truly multimedia-oriented machine, because it doesn’t only allow you to output 1080p content on an external screen, but you can also do it on its built-in display as well. The aluminum-cladded and thin full HD 15.6-incher with a backlight keyboard belongs to the latest Satellite P55-series, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come with the latest Intel “Haswell” 4th Generation Core processors.
Instead, the P55-A5200 is still on the older “Ivy Bridge” 3rd Gen platform and in particular it includes the Core i5-3337U ultra-low voltage processor with low power consumption and good performance at the same time. A comparable “Haswell” chip would provide only slightly speedier operation, but in terms of battery life it is noticeably better than its precursor.
The benchmark results of the i5-337U undeniably show that the i5 is a potent CPU, despite being slower than the i7. Its lead over the comparable i3 from the same lineup is apparent and the i5 brings some important technologies which are not present on its lower-end brother. The most important one is TurbooBoost for dynamic overclocking to maximal 2.7GHz up from 1.8GHz, depending on need. Another one is Quick Sync, which comes handy if you do a lot of video editing and encoding. It will greatly speed up that process. If your video editing software supports Quick Sync, that is. You can store files on the 750GB hard drive or burn them on CD / DVD media using its DVD drive, while for RAM the P55-A5200 has 6GB, delivering more than enough capacity for Windows 8.
While we are at battery life, Toshiba estimates the notebook can run up to 4.37 hours on a single charge, but that’s likely under a light system load.
Going back to multimedia and entertainment features, we encounter a pair of harman/kardon-branded stereo speakers backed by DTS Studio Sound technology, HDMI for wired and Intel Wi-Di for wireless connection to an HDTV, and the VGA video output for older displays. For Internet connectivity, you can utilize Wi-Fi 802.11n, and Gigabit LAN. The Toshiba P55-A5200 also has Bluetooth, a pair of USB 3.0 and a pair of USB 2.0 ports, and multiformat media card reader.
Among physical specs, what catches attention is a thinness of 0.8 inches, giving the P55-A5200 an ultrabook-like appearance. But, the weight of 5.4 pounds is in line with much thicker 15.6-inch budget laptops. Anyway, the notebook will fit all environments with its unobtrusive but classy looking brushed aluminum body and keyboard backlight adds a special note to the design, besides helping you typing in darkened spaces.
Overall, the Toshiba Satellite P55-A5200 is a nice refreshment for the notebook market and over the previous P855-series, thanks to the full HD display resolution, luxury design, and good components, at a very reasonable price of $650. If the price is still a matter of concern for you, you can opt for the $90 cheaper and similarly equipped Acer M5-581T-6405. It doesn’t have a 1080p screen, but includes 20GB of SSD memory for faster I/O speeds.
Toshiba Satellite P55-A5200 Specifications
- Display: 15.6″, 1920-by-1080px (1080p HD) resolution
- Processor: Intel Core i5-3337U “Ivy Bridge” dual-core ultra-low voltage at 1.8GHz-2.7GHz, 3MB L3 cache
- Graphics: Intel HD 4000 IGP
- Memory: 6GB DDR3 at 1,600MHz included, up to 8GB
- Storage: 750GB HDD at 5,400 rpm
- Optical drive: Yes, DVD±RW/CD-RW
- Webcam: HD
- Audio: harman/kardon stereo speakers, DTS Studio Sound technology
- Network: 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth 4.0, Intel Wireless Display (Wi-Di) technology
- Input: Backlight full-size keyboard with chiclet keys, multi-touch touchpad
- Ports and Slots: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, multi-format card reader
- Battery: 4-cell 43Wh Lithium-Ion, “up to 4.37 hours”
- Dimensions: 0.8″ x 12.4″ x 8.6″
- Weight: 5.4 pounds
- OS: Windows 8
- Warranty: 1-year
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