The Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204 Laptop: A Perfectly Priced (and Perfectly Awesome) Christmas Gift

11:07 AM

Since my HP Pavillion DV7-2180US has issues overheating (causing it to have a permanent perch on a cooling pad) an early Christmas gift to me was a Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204. It's reasonably priced at around $500 but don't let the price tag fool you. While the price instantly adds this laptop to the low end laptop shelf in the store it is rich with features and is even prepared for an upgrade to Windows 8, making it a perfect Christmas gift for even the pickiest geek in your family.

xjonquilx | Sabayon, Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux, Oh My!

Let's go over some of the specifications of the Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204 laptop:


  • AMD A6-3400M 1.4-2.3 GHZ quad core processor with integrated AMD Radeon HD 6520G 512 MB graphics

  • 4 GB DDR3 1333 MHZ memory

  • 640 GB HDD (5400 rpm)

  • 15.6" HD TruBrite® LED Backlit display (16:9 aspect ratio, supports 720p content, 1366x768)

  • Webcam and microphone

  • Bluetooth® V3.0 + HS

  • 3 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x headphone output, 1 x microphone input, 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet port, 1 x RGB port, 1 x HDMI port

  • 7-in-1 memory card reader

  • SuperMulti DVD Burner

  • Standard stereo speakers

  • 6-cell lithium-ion battery, up to 3 h 56 min battery life

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Edition


Installed software:

  • Microsoft® Office Starter 2010 (Reduced functionality Word® and Excel® with advertising)*

  • TOSHIBA Face Recognition

  • TOSHIBA Resolution+® Upconvert Plug-in for Media Player

  • WildTangent® Game Console

  • TOSHIBA App Place

  • Microsoft® Silverlight™

  • TOSHIBA Bulletin Board™

  • TOSHIBA Service Station

  • Norton Internet Security™ 2011 (30-day trial)

  • TOSHIBA Recovery Disk Creator

  • TOSHIBA Web Camera Application

  • TOSHIBA HDD/SSD Alert

  • TOSHIBA BookPlace™

  • TOSHIBA Media Controller

  • TOSHIBA PC Health Monitor

  • TOSHIBA Disc Creator

  • Microsoft® Windows Live Essentials including Photo Gallery

  • Messenger

  • Mail

  • Writer and Movie Maker

  • TOSHIBA Laptop Checkup

  • Hard disc (HDD) recovery

  • TOSHIBA ReelTime™

  • TOSHIBA eco Utility™

  • Google® Chrome


Now let's go over some of the features of the Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204 laptop:

  • One of the USB ports supports Sleep and Charge, which allows you to charge devices using the USB port on the laptop even if it's in hibernation.

  • The processor underclocks itself at 1.4 GHZ until it reaches full load, then it clocks itself at 2.3 GHZ. This feature saves battery life and prevents overheating.

  • The display is very high quality, and doesn't distort/change colors when you view it from the side like most laptop displays do.

  • This laptop utilizes dual GPUs, which means it has not one but two graphic processor cores.


I have been using the Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204 laptop for about a week now and it has been very smooth, fast, quiet, and most importantly cool. The graphics aren't the best out there (making this so not a "gaming laptop") but they do make for a very smooth gaming experience on games like Dungeons and Dragons Online. Even though you know Windows 7 isn't my operating system of choice I must admit I've been impressed by how fast it runs on this laptop. Something else I would like to note about it is Toshiba actually did things right with the RAM and used two 2 GB sticks instead of one 4 GB stick, so you get the performance boost of DDR. Something else I find pleasing about this laptop is it uses one of the processors that will be capable of running Hyper-V in Windows 8, even though I seriously doubt I will be upgrading to Windows 8 any time soon. It's still nice to know that you can get an upgradeable laptop for just $500.

The casing for the Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204 laptop is extremely sturdy although it is plastic. It certainly beats the shiny paper thin plastic on my HP Pavillion DV7-2180US. This casing is semi thick plastic designed to have a dark blue brushed aluminum look. The touchpad is also textured to make for smoother movement. The brushed aluminum effect minimizes fingerprints and probably scratches too (sorry folks but I'm not going to purposely scratch this laptop for the sake of finding out if scratches show up easily on it).

The amount of bloatware on the laptop is minimal compared to some other OEMs (cough, HP, cough), and consists mainly of lightweight and helpful applications like the Eco utility, which helps you save battery. Another nice addition Toshiba made on this laptop (and the first time I've seen an OEM add this to their default installed software) is Google Chrome.

The Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204 laptop rates a 5.9 in the Windows Experience Index, which is pretty high for a laptop at this price. Here are the results from a PC Wizard global benchmark:

Processor Global Performance :    91930.80 Marks
Cache and Memory Global Performance :    59459.00 Marks
Memory Global Performance :    6454.45 Marks
Video Global Performance :    510.00 Marks
Hard Disk Global Performance :    96.00 Mark

CPUIDMark System :
15845
The I've only really got two complaints about the Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204 laptop. While the speakers are listenable they certainly do not compete with my HP Pavillion DV7-2180US's Dolby system with subwoofer. However, they're better than what I normally expect on a $500 and less laptop. Additionally while the battery does last the advertised 4 hours it could do with an upgrade to an 8 or even 12 cell lithium ion battery to have a much longer battery life for travel. The sleep and charge USB port in my humble opinion doesn't do you much good if the total life of the laptop battery is only 4 hours, unless you're only going to use your laptop to charge your other electronic gadgets (which if you're taking your laptop with you in the first place chances are you plan on actually using it and not just lugging it around to charge your cell phone).

Overall though this is a very reliable and workable laptop. If you know someone who wants a laptop for Christmas you can't go wrong by buying them the Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204, unless that person happens to be a hardcore gamer.

Next I will try out Linux on the Toshiba Satellite L755D-S5204 laptop. The last time I tried a Toshiba laptop on Linux the hardware was incompatible. Will the hardware be compatible with the drivers available in Linux this time around? Stay tuned to find out!

 

xjonquilx | Sabayon, Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux, Oh My!


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10 comments

  1. I'm Glad you Found a Laptop! Here is my recent experience!

    Dell, Optimus, UEFI, and an average Linux User.


    I was excited. My wife wanted me to pick out a new laptop for our 25th wedding anniversary. I wanted a desktop replacement. I happened across what I thought was the perfect laptop. It was a Dell inspiron 17r. It had nvidia graphics, 6 gb memory, and an i5 processor, all for $750.00 (US). What a deal!

    It finally showed up. I couldn't wait to get Ubuntu 11.10 installed on it. I stuffed the cd in the drive and booted to the unity interface. Cool! The full desktop loaded, so I thought! The wireless worked out of the box. Great easy peasy! But wait, the nvidia graphics driver isn't loaded. So I installed the driver and rebooted. The I waited and waited nothing but black. Oh No! What the heck is wrong?

    I googled, and checked Dell's website. Uh oh, I didn't know this computer had nvidia optimus on it. I checked the Bios, and nope, no off switch! Well this wouldn't do! I need 3D graphics! I can't run Unity, or Gnome 3 without it.

    To my shegrin I called Dell and wanted to return the laptop. They informed me, that there would be a restock fee! I asked but what if I was going to buy another laptop from you? They said OK no restock fee if you buy a different one. I set about trying to find a substitute.

    I thought I was wiser now, after all that googling. I only have to find a laptop that has an off switch in the bios for the Nvidia Optimus. So after many hours of checking, reading and talking to a Dell rep, I was assured the XPS L702X was what I needed. After all the Dell rep, in writing (via the saved chat log) guaranteed me I could turn off the Optimus in the Bios. I was set.

    After a few days of patiently waiting, the machine arrived. I quickly inserted the Ubuntu install USB, selected USB Drive from the boot menu, and waited and waited and waited. It just hung there. This is strange! I tried again same thing! I tried a Ubuntu CD, again it just hung. I went into what I thought was the Bios and looked for an Optimus switch. Nope not there. Huh! This bios is pretty sparse, I think I'll Google the Name “Pheonix Secure Core Tiano Setup” Ugh! Not again! Is this what I think it is? But that wasn't supposed to come about until Windows 8! I ran for the phone and got Dell Technical support, I asked, “ How do I turn off Optimus on the XPS L702x? “You can't” he said. “ who told you you could” he asked? I said “ a Dell rep, I have it in writing!” He said, I don't know what to tell ya but it's not possible!” Okay, well let me ask you this, I said. Does this computer have the secure boot loader which only allows the windows which comes on it to be installed? Why yes it does! Wow! I felt my chest sink as I just realized I'd been screwed by Dell, Microsoft, and Nvidia!

    What the hell? I know it's my fault, but man this sucks! Not only did I learn quite a few lessens but I get to pay Dell $111.00 in restock fees for the privilege of them teaching me that 1.Yes, UEFI will screw Linux users, 2. Nvidia is no friend to linux, and 3. Microsoft is once again getting what it wants! 4. Buying a new laptop for Linux use is almost impossible!


    And by the way I'd like to know what Linux users are responsible for this http://www.linuxjournal.com/slideshow/readers-choice-2011?page=34 ????


    Sincerely,

    Randy Fry

    An average Linux User!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's overpriced for a 15.6 in. screen model; for $500 it should have a 17.3 in. screen, and I wouldn't buy it unless I knew before hand that it would run Linux perfectly.

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  3. I hope installing linux works well for you. I bought a Toshiba T135 last year and it is the most linux-hostile thing I've ever tried. Not to mention it runs unreasonably hot. Toshiba hasn't historically been linux friendly. I have a Motion Computing tablet that Windows says has a Toshiba model bluetooth module. Linux can't even see the device. I would never try linux with anything from Toshiba until someone else proves it works first.

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  4. I know it! I had a Toshiba about 4 years ago and it was a pain getting it to work in Linux due to all the proprietary hardware. But a lot has changed about Toshiba since then, so I'm hoping being more Linux friendly will be a part of that change.

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  5. I just tried running Ubuntu. It wouldn't even boot. I am still unsure as to why... the chipset may just be too new to be supported. I will do some research and give it some time before I try again.

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  6. Wow after some Googling it appears I'm going to be the first to approach this. Wish me luck on finding a fix! I'm going to need it.

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  7. I was right. The A6 is just too new for Linux at the time being. http://phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?60883-AMD-A6-3400M-not-working-on-Linux-kernel-3.0

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  8. It's plain and simple really, the newer a laptop is, the more probable it will have problems with Linux... Laptops, especially cheaper ones I may add, tend to consist of components of lower quality, or next to non-existent Linux support, or both.. This is the reason I bought last year (summer of 2010) a Dell Latitude E6510. Almost everything in it is Intel branded and the openSUSE 11.4 kernel (2.6.37) recognizes everything. Can't say whether everything really works though, since I haven't tested things like FireWire smart-card reader etc. My only regret is it has NVidia graphics... will be looking for Intel graphics only next time. With Linux, I have to admit, the best player is Intel.

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  9. Actually, Sabayon 7 works just fine on it. So I anticipate that Ubuntu 12.04 will be able to support it. I must say I am impressed. Support for newer hardware didn't use to come this quickly!

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  10. My laptop has all intel chipsets, and couldn't be happier running linux on it. I refuse to buy anything else.

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