Back on December 22, 2011, I wrote an article addressing my reasons for sticking with Windows and why I had purchased a laptop computer system.
The system I purchased at Staples — for a bargain basement price of only $529.99 — is a Toshiba Satellite model L775-S7340. This is a replacement for my older Toshiba laptop system and boasts a screen measuring in at a whopping 17.3″, while weighing in, according to the specifications provided by Toshiba, at 6.2 lbs. Given these specifications, you are already aware that this is not something you want to lug through an airport, but once you settle down to the fact that this is something you use at home or in a small office environment, you can then savor the awesome hardware that this laptop provides. The hardware specifications for this model include:
- Quad core AMD processor
- 6 GB RAM
- 640 GB hard disk
- Blu-ray player
- HDMI, 3 USB, and RGB
- Wireless & RJ-45 LAN jack
- HD+ TruBrite LED backlit display
- Built-in Web cam and mic
Since purchasing this laptop, I have been able to compare it to the four-year-old Toshiba laptop that I already owned. Upon seeing them side-by-side, as I transferred my files over to the new system, I immediately noticed the increased resolution and clarity of the monitoring screen. I guess part of this is due to the fact that you don’t notice how, over time (and without a new screen next to it for comparison), an old screen softens in intensity. However, the new screen, with its LED backlight and a higher resolution, definitely displays a much brighter picture. In fact, the picture was initially so bright that I actually had to tone it down to prevent it from being overwhelming. After noting and readjusting the screen settings to my liking, I then spent the next several hours moving files, installing programs, and removing extraneous software that bogs down all new computers. This, in turn, allowed me to defrag and scan my disks to free up additional hard disk space and to adjust all of my settings to my personal preferences.
Once all of the setup was out of the way, I was really anxious to evaluate just how good this system would operate when used to stream video or play DVDs/Blu-ray discs on our HDTV. In preparation for this, I had previously purchased a 15′ HDMI cable from Amazon. The cost of the cable was a mere $3.64, and, with me being an Amazon Prime account holder, the shipping was free. (At that cost I knew I couldn’t go wrong, but when I received it the next day, I was still surprised at the quality of the HDMI cable.) With the computer ready and the cable in hand, I held my breath as I connected the pieces to test out my newest toy. The result: I was delighted to find that streaming from Netflix, Hulu, and a number of online TV channels was flawless, while the DVD and Blu-ray playback was comparable to our Samsung Blu-ray player’s performance. With that in mind, this laptop may prove itself invaluable when I finally cut the cord with my satellite company.
If you desire an aesthetically pleasing device for your small office, this unit, with its full-sized keyboard and handy ten-key pad, provides the tools you need at your fingertips and should meet your needs to a tee. The specialized look is enhanced with some classy aspects such as a brushed blue aluminum-looking paint job as well as chrome plastic trim around the speakers. The trackball mouse is a nice touch, too. Toshiba was, however, quite careful in its description so that no one could (or should) expect an aluminum-bodied laptop system at this price point.
So, while this new look is a selling feature for the unit, I think that the paint job is just okay. However, its major advantage for me over my old Toshiba is that I don’t have to deal with the fingerprints and smudges that drove me nuts on the shiny surface of the old unit.
Putting looks aside, it is performance that ultimately matters, and using the AMD quad core provides what it promises. This is AMD’s model A-6 3400m, which supposedly runs at a meager 1.4 GHz as its base clock speed. This clock speed may seem slow compared to the specs of other machines, but I didn’t notice any slowness of operation when I first fired up the system — I was actually impressed with how snappy this unit was in loading Windows and Office (two huge memory and processor intensive pieces of software). I was quick to see that, when the need arises for faster processing speeds, the AMD quad kicks up the speed to 2.3 GHz by using its built-in turbo feature. To further amplify its performance, the unit comes equipped with a Radeon HD 6520G video chip that is integrated into the CPU to handle the HD video which, in my tests, displayed flawlessly.
Additional features include one program that I have been using called sleep-and-charge. This feature allows you to charge your smartphone or other device when the computer is asleep or turned off. Another feature that I think is worth mentioning is the built-in facial recognition software. This makes logging into your computer a breeze because you no longer have to remember different or incomprehensible passwords in order to log on since the system will simply remember your face and unlock on recognition. This particular feature can be of great value to anyone who chooses to lock down their system, protecting it from young family members or coworkers.
For performance, this system came preloaded with the Windows Home Premium 64-bit operating system that is designed with 6 GB of memory. Fortunately, the 64-bit OS recognizes all 6 GB to add to the performance. Additionally, the 640 GB hard disk provides plenty of storage space while providing support for the Blu-ray player, DVD playback, and recording.
The cons to the new system are minor, and include such minor concessions as dealing with a keyboard that has flat keys, whereas my old Toshiba was designed with slightly curved keys. While this is a change that I immediately noticed, it does not affect your typing ability — it simply has a different feel. The second con is that two of the USB connectors are on the right-hand side of the unit. This creates a minor issue for me because I use a Cooler Master laptop cooler under my laptop to help cool the unit. Due to its required placement, I chose to connect the cooler adapter into the lone USB port on the left side of the laptop, which meant that I had to connect my wireless mouse adapter to one of the USB slots on the right. This resulted in the USB adapter, for the mouse, sticking out and slightly interfering with the mouse’s operation. However, I resolved this minor issue by moving the unit slightly to the left, thus eliminating the problem.
Why did I choose a Toshiba laptop to purchase instead of another brand? The answer is simple. After having owned three previous Toshiba laptops, without issue, I know them to be reliable. The only time I did have a problem — a hard disk failed in the first 30 days of use — Toshiba support mailed me a pre-addressed and paid for box in which to return the unit. It then repaired and returned the unit to me within five days. That is what I call fantastic service and support.
If I were to rate this laptop on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest possible rating, I would give this laptop a 4.5 star rating. Staples is currently selling the unit for $579.99, and though it is $50 more than what I had paid, I still believe it is a steal.
The Staples sale price on the Toshiba L775-S7340 is $579.99 between January 1st to the 7th, 2012.