Top critical review
34 of 37 people found this helpful
Sub-par build quality, immediate issues, returned & purchased others
on November 30, 2012
Purchased during Black Friday as a Lighting Deal. I knew by the specs it was a 'basic' laptop. I knew immediately I'd be adding memory to this one (which ships with only 2GB of memory - barely enough to open any Windows OS) to make it work for me.
I did a search and found 4GB DDR3 1066MHZ Sodimm-toshib would work wiht this model, and I bought (2) 4GB memory modules, to boost the total memory to 8GB. There are only 2 memory slots, and it's been my experience that when upgrading memory it's best to add two identical pairs.
Adding memory really helped a lot! Browsers (I added Google Chrome and it ships with Explorer 10) opened quickly, and I found no glitchy operations when opening several programs at one time. WiFi speed and processor speed are also factors in overall performance, but memory is the one upgrade that vastly improves a PC's performance and that's cheap and easy to do yourself.
RE: Upgrading Memory
If you don't know how to add memory to a laptop, go to the maker's site and in the Owner's Manual of most there will be a section on how to do it. I've added photos to this product page in hopes of gving you an idea of both what to do, and how easy it is to do so. Don't force parts, and don't touch the contacts that go into the slots - and you should be fine!
The build quality of this laptop is on par with its price. Made in China, most of the fit and finish on the PC feels pretty cheap. It not an overly sturdy build; I noted this while removing the back cover to expose the memory slots. The cover was held in place with one screw and a tad tough to remove. I was actually afraid I might break it while removing it, but managed to get it off without doing so.
Because of potential issues with durability, I wouldn't recommend it for students who transport their laptops frequently from place to place. For those who plan on putting them on a desktop, it should be fine.
The screen is 15.6", which is a good size. Clear, bright, it's probably the best feature of this unit in terms of its quality. It has a webcam at the top of the screen allowing for Skype or other types of video confrencing.
The keyboard is full-size and acceptable to this user. Very little play, and those who tend to have a heavy touch on the keyboard may not like it. Light touch is all it takes and very little noise from clicking keys from this full-size keyboard.
The touchpad is acceptable. It was quite responsive for me, even with the plastic cover that it shipped with, still on it. I tend to add a USB wireless mouse like the Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse to my laptop bag to use instead of the touchpad anyway.
The laptop's finish is slightly bumpy, which assists your ability to hold on to it. The downside of the finish is that it seems to pick up any oily residue like hand lotion very easily. Fingerprints, etc... showed up almost the minute I unboxed it. It's not a particularly attactive body, but it is functional.
The unit itself is of average weight for laptops with this size screen. It will take up more desk space than a Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6-Inch) for around the same price, but then again the Chromebook has an 11.6" screen and limitations, such as no DVD drive. There are trade-offs at every price point, and if screen size is important to you - getting the most space for your money - this laptop will make you happy.
There's no HDMI port, but the laptop does have a media reader, and USB ports.
Windows 8 will take some getting used to, but you can change the OS to appear more like Windows 7 as you make the transistion. It appears to function fine, and is very 'visual' with click the picture and go versus looking for a program in a list. Some users may be initially frustrated with it unless they are new to computing and don't have previous experiences to cloud their view of Windows 8.
The 6-cell battery charges quickly (less than 45 mintues for a full charge, and it holds its charge for about 2 hours with heavy use.
WiFi connection was obtained during set-up and other than your network's password, nothing is really needed. Works well.
Sound on this laptop is poor, but with headphones it's average. Watching Netflix or YouTube was good for me, after adding memory. Prior to that, the laptop would do it, but it labored and all other programs needed to be turned off.
The AMD processor is not an Intel core processor, meaning this laptop runs hotter and not as fast as say an Intel Core i3 would for a laptop costing about $100 more. This speaks to your budget and needs. For basic computing, this laptop works well, and you can extend its life by using it with something like this: Cooler Master NotePal X2 Laptop Cooling Pad with 140mm Blue LED Fan (R9-NBC-4WAK-GP). Heat and dust destroy PCs... keep that in mind.
Lots of 'Toshiba' bloatware is installed, but that's easy to remove if you find it is mucking with performance.
Be sure to make a Recovery CD before adding anything to your laptop as a safety measure, and consider removing the installed Norton anti-virus and installing my favorite Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2013- 3 Devices which operates on the 'cloud' versus on your machine. You'll note an immediate performance-speed boost just getting rid of Norton!
Overall, this is not a bad choice for basic computer at the right price - under $300. I, like other reviewers, would not pay more than that for it.
Don't expect the Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5339 laptop to be something you can dropkick to school and still have it work, but if you leave it on your desk and want to Skype with Grandma before watching a movie on Netflix, you can do it.
It's not a 'gaming' or power-user computer, and while you can do things like edit photos and make videos, this one will need the memory upgrade to do it without freezing up the system.
Again, adding memory is a cheap and easy fix to the problem. I highly recommend buying additional memory and installing it yourself. At least 6GB total to keep Windows 8 and you, happy.
Bottom line: If you're looking for a cheap laptop for email, Facebook, Skype, surfing the Internet, word processing, minor gaming, and some minor photo editing, and you won't be carrying it around with you, you may find this laptop a good buy as long as you have added adequate memory instead of remaining with the paultry 2GB which is standard.
UPDATE - 12/9/12
The touchpad started to act up and then stopped working, with less than 1 hour of actual use on this PC. I had done the Windows Update and updated apps, but little else. The System Manager showed no hardware issues as problems, but the touchpad wouldn't do anything, so I had to shut down the PC via CTL+ALT+DEL keys (pressed at the same time). Upon restart the touchpad worked briefly, then again, nothing.
I've started the Return process with Amazon and chose refund over replacement.
My NEW bottom line: Keep shopping, consider spending a smidge more, and skip buying this laptop.
12/11/12 - UPDATE
Wow! Yesterday morning I used Amazon's UPS label, packed the laptop and dropped it off at a local UPS drop-off (Oregon-Nevada depot). This morning received a notificaiton from Amazon that my return had been processed and the complete purchase amount had been credited back to my original form of payment and should appear within 2-3 business days. THAT is service! Once again, Amazon makes it right - and quickly.
While this product wasn't what I was hoping it would be, the Amazon Customer Service team is efficient, easy to use and consistently sells me on their desire to put their customers first. Great job!
Purchased the HP 2000-2b24NR 15.6" Notebook PC and couldn't be more pleased! The extra cash was money well spent and a huge leap in quality and features over this laptop which is Dollar Store quality by comparison.
A couple comments regarding the F5 button and how it disables this laptop's touchpad. That was NOT the issue with the laptop I received! I know that trick, and it was more involved than that with the PC I returned.
This Toshiba Satellite had sub-par build quality (felt very cheap) out of the box. The performance wasn't there either. Thus, out of the box a frustration.
Why would you not sent that kind of purchase back?
I LOVE two others that I've purchased since then for about the same money: Lenovo G580 15.6-Inch Laptop (Dark Brown IMR/Metal) and HP 2000-2b24NR 15.6" Notebook PC.
If you don't agree with the review, or don't trust what's in it, go ahead and buy this one. Maybe it'll be right for you, but frankly with so many great laptops at this price point, it's smart to shop around for the right fit, finish and performance that makes you happy.