We've seen laptops from the Toshiba Satellite A665 line before (more than once, in fact), and we've also previously seen laptops that incorporate Nvidia's 3D Vision technology. You can probably guess where this is going, as the new Satellite A665-3DV takes that familiar multimedia system and adds support for 3D Vision.
The A665-3DV is a powerful performer, and solves a big problem with 3D gaming by building in all the required 3D-compatible hardware (the most important being the 120Hz display), requiring only your (included) rechargeable 3D glasses and a small USB IR emitter--the whole thing is much less cumbersome than using Nvidia's 3D Vision on a desktop PC. The Blu-ray drive also works with 3D Blu-ray discs, although the smallish screen doesn't make for a great group viewing experience.
Still, unless you're a real 3D fan, $1,599 is a bit of a stretch for a 15.6-inch laptop (interestingly, the two most recent Satellite A665 models we saw had slightly larger 16-inch displays), even one with an Intel Core i7-740QM CPU and Nvidia GeForce 350M GPU. If we were really into 3D PC gaming, we'd want something with a larger display, and better than the A665's 1,366x768 resolution.
|Price as reviewed||$1,599|
|Processor||1.73GHz Intel Core i7-740QM|
|Memory||4GB, 1,066MHz DDR3|
|Hard drive||640GB 7,200rpm|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTS 350M|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
|Dimensions (WD)||15.0 x 10.0 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||15.6 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||6.7/8.1 pounds|
The look and feel of the A665-3DV is nearly identical to other Satellite A665 models we've reviewed. The textured gray plastic that covers most of the body looks and feels like it belongs on a less expensive machine. There's nothing wrong with it, but it certainly doesn't make this a living room or den showpiece. At the same time, the construction feels for the most part very solid and sturdy, and there's no annoying flex under the keyboard--a common problem in laptops of all price ranges. Even better, the lid and wrist rest have a fine-textured pattern that repels fingerprints.
The keyboard is the typical island-style seen on almost every new laptop, with flat-topped, widely spaced keys. The 15.6-inch laptop body gives just enough room for a full number pad to the right of the keyboard, and there's a row of touch-sensitive media control buttons above the Function keys. We've frequently dinged Toshiba's media control buttons for emitting a loud beep, even when hitting mute (which was always counterintuitive, to say the least). Though the volume up/down buttons still beep by default, at least Toshiba removed the beep from the speaker button while muting. (To disable all the beeps, go to the Toshiba utilities folder, click HWSetup, then the Button Setting tab, and disable "Function Button Sound Notification.")
The touch pad is decently large, but offset to the left side because of the number pad, and its surface has a very nice friction-free coating with the large mouse buttons. Toshiba has also added a small button above the touch pad to disable it should you want to connect a mouse.
The system includes a couple of proprietary software utilities. ReelTime displays a row of large thumbnails across the bottom of the display (it's supposed to look like a movie reel) that shows your recently viewed documents and Web pages. The slick-looking Bulletin Board app lets you arrange photos and notes in a single work space. Both are well-made, but require you to take the time to learn them.
The 16-inch display has a 1,366x768-pixel resolution, which is the same resolution as most 11- to 15-inch laptops. The screen has a glossy finish that improves the look of photos and video but does create some glare and reflection. The speakers are same Harman Kardon ones found on other Toshiba Satellite models, although there's no overt branding on the speaker grilles. For a pair of integrated laptop speakers, they deliver excellent sound with surprising depth.
|Toshiba Satellite A665-3DV||Average for category [mainstream]|
|Video||VGA plus HDMI||VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||4 USB 2.0 (1 USB/eSATA), SD card reader,||4 USB 2.0, SD card reader, eSATA|
|Networking||Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband|
|Optical drive||Blu-ray player/DVD burner||DVD burner|
The laptop has a useful collection of data and video connections. You get four USB 2.0 ports (one of which doubles as an eSATA port), HDMI and VGA ports, a media card reader, and an ExpressCard/34 slot. The combo USB/eSATA port has Toshiba's Sleep-and-Charge feature that lets you charge cell phones, MP3 players, and other USB gadgets.
The Satellite A665-3DV packs in an impressive set of components, including a 1.73GHz Intel Core i7-740QM CPU and a high-end Nvidia GeForce 350M GPU (although Nvidia's newer 400-series GPUs are starting to pop up in other systems). The powerful hardware helps cover the overhead required for the 3D processing, and we were able to play games at high settings without killing the frame rate when switching to 3D mode. If you're not familiar with 3D Vision and how it works, this
In our Unreal Tournament III test, the A665-3DV ran at 102.9 frames per second at 1,366x768. That means it should be able to run any current game at high detail levels, especially as the screen resolution tops out at only 1,366x768, which hard-core PC gamers would consider on the low side.