Toshiba Satellite C75 review

Toshiba Satellite C75

The glossy plastic lid looks like it's made from metal, and the metallic look is carried over to the wrist-rest, where the silver colour contrasts well with the glossy black keyboard surround and screen bezel. See all mid-range laptop reviews.

The good looks don't last, though, as the Toshiba's build quality is inconsistent. The base is solid, but the wrist-rest has a little more bounce than we'd like, and the back of the screens feel weaker than anything else in this test. Take a look at The 8 best laptops of 2013.

The Satellite C75 is a mixed bag ergonomically, too. The C75's width means there's room for a numberpad, and the layout is fine, with large Space and Return keys – but it lacks quality. The Scrabble-style keys have a solid base, but there's barely any travel, and they feel wobbly. The Asus has a superior keyboard with a more comfortable and reliabletyping action.

The trackpad is one of the smallest here, too, which is particularly disappointing given this machine's size, but the two buttons are good – light and responsive.

The exterior didn't always impress, but there's one area where the Toshiba trounces the Asus. The Core i5-4200M is one of Intel's latest Haswell processors, and the Satellite C75 is one of only two laptops in this group to have full-fat Core-series mobile chips rather than low-power parts – the Asus makes do with Ivy Bridge hardware. The i5-4200M has a stock speed of 2.5GHz, a Turbo limit of 3.1GHz, and 3MB of L3 cache alongside Hyper-Threading.

It's no surprise that this machine delivered the group's best benchmark result. Its PCMark 7 score of 3228 points easily beat the 2914 scored by the Asus, and the Toshiba topped the table in every one of PCMark's individual categories, too.

The Haswell processor also includes Intel's new HD Graphics 4600 graphics core. It's the best integrated core here, and its 33fps average in Stalker's Medium-detail test is the only playable result from laptops that include Intel's integrated chipsets.

The Toshiba scored well in our other games tests, too. In DiRT 3's Medium-quality test run at 1280 x 720 it averaged 52fps, which is around twenty frames ahead of the next Intel-powered machines, and in BioShock at Low-quality settings the Toshiba averaged 30fps – again, top of the Intel-powered heap.

The Satellite is clearly capable of playing games, then, but the Asus X75VC was a little faster thanks to its discrete Nvidia graphics core – so if you want to play the latest titles, that's the machine to buy.

The Toshiba includes 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard disk, and the Hitachi-made drive performance well in benchmarks – its 101MB/sec read and 94MB/sec write speeds were among the best here. And, surprisingly for a large laptop, battery life was not the worst: it lasted for 4 hours 21 minutes in our tests, which was the second-best result here and longer than the Asus X75VC, which lasted for a little over three hours.

The non-touch LED panel makes a good first impression thanks to its 267cd/m2 brightness, which is the highest in this group test. Its sRGB gamut coverage of 82% is not great but among the best in the group, too, and its average Delta E of 5.8 isn't bad either. There's a sting in the screen's tail, though, and that's the 1cd/m2 black level and very low 267:1 contrast ratio. The latter figure is the same as the larger Asus machine, and it means that colours lack the depth that we'd like – this screen may be bright, but it's not as vivid as it could be.

Toshiba Satellite C75: Specs

  • 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-4200M (3.1GHz Turbo Boost)
  • Windows 8.1 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 1TB hard disk
  • 17.3in LED TFT display with 1,600 x 900 resolution
  • Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • DVD writer
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI/VGA
  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • Headphone and microphone sockets
  • SD card reader (SD/MMC)
  • 48Wh removable battery
  • 413 x 268 x 31.3-33.7mm
  • 2.7kg
  • 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-4200M (3.1GHz Turbo Boost)
  • Windows 8.1 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 1TB hard disk
  • 17.3in LED TFT display with 1,600 x 900 resolution
  • Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • DVD writer
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI/VGA
  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • Headphone and microphone sockets
  • SD card reader (SD/MMC)
  • 48Wh removable battery
  • 413 x 268 x 31.3-33.7mm
  • 2.7kg

OUR VERDICT

The Satellite C75 isn't as sturdy as the Asus X75VC, and its keyboard isn't particularly good, but it makes up for these deficiencies in other areas. The Haswell processor helps the C75 deliver the best application benchmarks of any machine here, and its integrated graphics core enables casual gaming – even if the Asus has a slightly better integrated core. Battery life is better than the Asus, too, and both screens are comparable. If you need a desktop replacement without breaking the bank, the Toshiba has edged ahead of its rival.

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