There is nothing flashy about the Toshiba Satellite C665-S5049, which isn't surprising since it has an entry-level price of $349. Toshiba outfits this 15.6-inch laptop in a plain, matte-black, textured plastic chassis that could be from any manufacturer. It has a single-core Intel Celeron processor that suffices for basic use, but it trails behind dual-core laptops that cost $150 to $200 more. Also, it lacks a Webcam, which is a bummer for anyone with a Skype habit who's shopping for a low-end laptop.
If you can abide the single-core processor and the lack of a Webcam, the Satellite C665 is a decent choice for a cheap laptop. We prefer it to the $349 Compaq CQ62-215DX, despite the Compaq's better looks. The Satellite C665 is exceedingly comfortable in use, with a roomy keyboard, responsive touch pad that supports multitouch gestures, and comfortable mouse buttons. Its battery life is also better than expected.
Still, we give the same advice as we did in the Compaq CQ62 review: don't overlook budget dual-core laptops in Best Buy, such as the $529 Asus K50IJ-BBZ5, the $529 Dell Inspiron iM501R-1212PBL, and the $499 HP G62-225DX. They cost only a bit more, offer greater performance and will likely have a longer lifespan.
|Processor||2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900|
|Memory||2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz|
|Hard drive||250GB at 5,400rpm|
|Graphics||Intel GMA 4500MHD|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Home Premium|
|Dimensions (WDH)||15x11x1.5 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||15.6 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||5.2 / 5.8 pounds|
Every surface on the Satellite C665's chassis is matte black. The lid and keyboard deck feature a textured plastic, with a fine pattern that vaguely resembles houndstooth or tire tread. Perhaps it's meant to be the latter; Toshiba calls it Trax texture. Its keyboard is comfortable and has wide, flat keys. The keys feel a bit lightweight and clacky, but they offer good travel. A dedicated number pad sits to the right of the keyboard, but its presence doesn't result any keys being shortened. There is nary a media shortcut key to be found; you'll need to use the Function key to adjust the volume, screen brightness, and so on.
Like the rest of the laptop, the touch pad is matte black, though it doesn't feature the textured pattern of the rest of the keyboard tray. It feels surprisingly responsive and it supports multitouch gestures such as two-finger scrolling and pinch zooming. Swiping two fingers on the touch pad is our preferred method for scrolling down long Web pages, but we disabled the Pinch Zoom feature because we found that we were regularly engaging it accidentally, suddenly zooming in or out of Web pages and Word documents. The two mouse buttons are wide and are neither too stiff nor too soft.
The Satellite C665 offers a number of spots where dirt and dust are likely to collect. There is a wide gap around the outside of the keyboard, and there are smaller gaps between each of the keys. Likewise, there is a gap around and between the mouse buttons. They are calling out for crumbs; this is not a laptop you should snack near.
The laptop does tend to get warm. Even when running only Firefox and Word, the vent along the left side emits a steady supply of hot air. The underside of the laptop doesn't get overly warm, except for along the left edge.
The 15.6-inch display features a standard 1,366x768-pixel native resolution. It's not the brightest display we've encountered, but we have no complaints other than the stuck pixel in the upper left corner of our review unit. The stereo speakers suffice for Web videos but little else; they're too weak and tinny for music playback or to hear movie dialog clearly. Keep a set of headphones or external speakers nearby.
|Toshiba Satellite C665-S5049||Average for category [mainstream]|
|Video||VGA||VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone/ microphone jacks||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||2 USB 2.0, media card reader||4 USB 2.0, SD card reader, eSATA|
|Networking||Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi||Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband|
|Optical drive||DVD burner||DVD burner|
Any entry-level laptop will have a modest selection of ports and connections, and the Toshiba Satellite C665-S5049 is no different. There are only two USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port, an Ethernet port, and headphone and mic jacks. There is a media card reader on the front panel, an item that's missing on the competing Compaq CQ62-215DX. However, the Toshiba's lack of a Webcam is most disappointing, given the popularity of Skype and video conferencing. Lastly, some entry-level laptops cut a corner by leaving offer Wireless-N Wi-Fi, but that is not the case here.
The Satellite C665-S5-5049 is based on the single-core Intel Celeron 900 processor. It's clocked at 2.2GHz, which is the same speed as the single-core AMD Sempron V120 chip on the Compaq CQ62-215DX. In labs testing, both systems trailed the budget laptops with dual-core CPUs, the cheapest of which cost $150 to $200 more. The slowest dual-core system, the Dell Inspiron iM510R-1212PBL, was 44 percent faster on the multitasking benchmark than the Satellite C665 thanks in large part to its second processing core.
Putting the benchmark results aside, both single-core laptops felt responsive enough for entry level use, as long as your expectations remain modest. The Toshiba loaded apps relatively quickly, and we didn't experience any serious lags during basic tasks. Even video files loaded without great delay. Buying this laptop to spend your day using an intensive app like Photoshop would be a mistake (or simply a long day), but for Web surfing, e-mailing, and running Office apps, the Satellite C665 provides enough performance. Think of it as an oversized Netbook, fine for getting online and basic home use but not much more than that.
|Toshiba Satellite C665-S5049||Average watts per hour|
|Raw kWh number||33.33|
|Annual power consumption cost||$3.78|
The Satellite C665 has a standard six-cell battery that lasted 3 hours, 25 minutes on CNET Labs' demanding video playback battery drain test--an impressive result in this price range. In contrast, the Compaq CQ62's battery only lasted 2 hours, 31 minutes.