Laptops with the Intel Core i3 processors and prices of about $350 are our favorite kind of budget notebooks, because they deliver good performance at a low cost. The 370-dollar Toshiba Satellite C55-A5204 is one of them.
This standard-size 15.6-inch C55-A5204 laptop comes with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and the 3rd Gen Intel Core i3-3120M dual-core processor at 2.5GHz. The CPU was released in 2012 as a part of the “Ivy Bridge” family. Although newer 4th Gen i5 and i7 “Haswell” Core chips with a lower power consumption and better integrated graphics are available on the market, the i3 “Haswell” variants haven’t been released yet. Therefore, it can be said that the i3-3120M is “the latest” i3 processor, despite being released last year. What tasks it is designed for? Primarily, the i3-3120M is optimized for ordinary everyday home and office tasks, involving web surfing, social networking, and multimedia playback including 1080p videos. The chip incorporates the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, which isn’t satisfactory for 3D game rendering, but it manages the 1,366×768-pixel display and 2D graphics pretty well.
In the comparison chart above, you can see the 3120M is almost as fast as the 4th Gen i5-4200U, but keep in mind that the former is a full-voltage 35W processor, while the latter consumes only 15W and therefore provides a longer battery life. Speaking of the battery, the Toshiba C55-A5204 ships with a 6-cell 48Whr Li-Ion unit. We have no battery life estimation for this particular laptop model, but similar C55-series configurations can run approximately up to four hours on a single charge, according to Toshiba.
Other important features of the C55-A5204 include a DVD burner, 720p webcam, stereo speakers backed by DTS Sound technology, three USB ports, HDMI and VGA external display connections, a multi-format media card reader, and Wi-Fi and wired LAN Internet connectivity.
Outwardly, Toshiba’s C55-A5204 sports a chassis made of black matte plastics with “Trax Horizon” finish in “satin black” color. The laptop’s profile measures 1.3″ at the thinnest point and 1.4 at the thickest, so it is a classic-size notebook. It weighs 5.4 pounds, which is also an ordinary weight for the category the C55 belongs to. The notebook is obviously made as a desktop PC replacement and isn’t meant to be carried around much.
Regarding competition, there isn’t a direct opponent to the C55-A5204 in the notebook arena (an i3 15.6-inch system for under $400). An interesting alternative is the C55T-A5218, which adds touchscreen functionality but has a slower Pentium processor and costs $430.
The C55-A5204 is currently sold only at Best Buy.
Toshiba Satellite C55-A5204 Specifications
- Display: 15.6-inch, 1,366×768 resolution, TruBrite (glossy)
- Processor: Intel Core i3-3120M “Ivy Bridge” dual-core at 2.5GHz, 3MB cache
- Graphics: Intel HD 4000
- Memory: 4GB DDR3 at 1,600MHz, expandable to 16GB, 2 SODIMM slots
- Storage: 500GB HDD at 5,400rpm
- Optical drive: DVD burner
- Webcam: 720p HD
- Audio: Stereo speakers, DTS Sound
- Network: Wi-Fi 802.11N, Ethernet LAN
- Input: keyboard with tile keys and dedicated number pad, multitouch trackpad
- Ports and Slots: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, multiformat card reader (Secure Digital, SDHC, SDXC, miniSD, microSD, Multi Media Card)
- Battery: 6-cell 48Whr Li-Ion
- Dimensions: 15 x 9.5 x 1.3/1.4 inches
- Weight: 5.4 pounds
- OS: Windows 8
- Warranty: 1-year
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