If you're looking for a large-screen budget laptop for use at home, but can't stretch to £500 then the Toshiba Satellite C55D-A-13U may do the job for a highly competitive £399. (See: What's the best budget laptop?)
There's actually more than a dozen different models in the C55D range, with Toshiba hopping randomly between AMD and Intel processors both old and new. This particular model we tested hit its £399 price with an AMD A6-5200 running at 2.0 GHz, saving some budget for a plentiful 8 GB of memory and 1 TB hard drive.
That amount of memory and storage mean that the Satellite C55D should handle a range of applications, as well as providing plenty of storage for your music, photos and videos.
The AMD processor may be quad-cored but isn't particularly fast. Overall laptop responsiveness isn't helped by the sluggish hard drive either. This Toshiba could only manage a score of 1725 points when running the PCMark 7 benchtest. That's a low, slow score, even by the standards of budget laptops.
The Windows 8 ‘fast-start' option did allow it to resume into the main Start screen in just under 15 seconds, but there's another 5-10 seconds of cursor spinning before the laptop actually gets going, and we noticed pauses when launching applications. (See also: What's the best laptop?)
To be fair, the C55D could handle basic web browsing perfectly well once it got going – but you'd need a different laptop or to be very patient if you wanted to try photo- or video-editing.
Build quality is good, and a weight of 2.3 kg is fine for a 15-inch laptop. The chunky 65 Wh battery pack managed a very respectable 5.5 hours of streaming video, so it could keep you entertained on a long flight, or plugged into speakers at a barbeque. External speakers or headphones are advised though, as the tinny internal speakers buzz like a bumble-bee and are actually quite annoyings.
The 15.6-inch screen is something of a mixed bag. The 1366 x 768 resolution is acceptable at this price, and the screen – although annoyingly glossy and reflective in bright daylight – is bright enough to provide quite wide horizontal viewing angles. However, the vertical viewing angle is limited, and we needed to tilt it at just the right angle to get a viewable picture.