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Toshiba Satellite L55Dt-A5253: This 15.6-inch budget laptop does well on benchmarks but has some physical drawbacks

Michael Brown | Aug. 30, 2013
This mainstream notebook won’t launch you into orbit, but it is a solid value.

Benchmark performance
The Satellite L55Dt-A5253 finished third in our Notebook WorldBench 8.1 benchmark suite, a scant 2 points behind Lenovo's Intel Core i5powered IdeaPad Z400 Touch, but 16 points behind the Intel Haswellpowered Acer Aspire E1-572-6870. The Toshiba's 750GB, 5400-rpm hard drive helped it grab a second-place finish in the PCMark7 Productivity component, but the faster CPU in the Acer Aspire more than compensated for that computer's smaller drive.

Given the amount of hay AMD has made over what it describes as its superior GPU/CPU integration, I had expected to see this A6-powered notebook clean up on the gaming benchmarks. It did reasonably well, but fell 5 fps short of equaling the performance of the Intel-powered Acer Aspire E1.

Connectivity and conclusion
Toshiba provides the usual three USB ports on its Satellite: Two of these are USB 3.0 and you can use the one USB 2.0 port to charge your smartphone (or other USB device) even while the computer is sleeping--a very handy feature. The media card reader in the front of the PC supports only SD media.

Aan HDMI-out supports digital display connections, and VGA handles analog. I don't want to see HDMI go away, but I'd like to see laptop manufacturers include DisplayPort 1.2 ports on their consumer offerings. A DisplayPort 1.2 connection would let you daisy-chain displays, and you could buy an adapter to handle just about anything else, including VGA.

Like the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch, the Toshiba Satellite L55Dt-A5253 provides a single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter that limits you to accessing overcrowded 2.4GHz networks; worse, the Toshiba's Realtek RTL8188SU supports a maximum physical link rate of just 150 mbps, whereas the Lenovo's Intel adapter delivers a 300-mbps maximum link rate and support for Intel's WiDi media-streaming technology.

Though the Satellite bears a DTS Sound logo, I found its audio capabilities wanting. Music sounded thin and flat, with very little of the oomph I crave from bass response. Stick with headphones, and you should be fine. Finally, this may reflect my right-handed bias, but I found it odd to access the Satellite's DVD burner on the left side of the computer. The hardwired ethernet port--100 mbps max--is located here, too.

The Satellite L55Dt-A5253 is a well-built laptop that delivers good performance, but many of its drawbacks don't show up in its benchmark numbers: It's weighs 5.6 pounds, its off-axis viewing is abysmal, and it has third-rate wireless networking capabilities. Clearly, it's not the best notebook in this collection, but it's still a decent value.

Editor's note: This notebook was reviewed as part of a roundup for back-to-school season. You can read that story, along with reviews of the five notebooks we compared it to, here

 

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