Toshiba Satellite M50 review: Toshiba Satellite M50

You can nab a Satellite M55 at retail stores such as Best Buy and CompUSA, as well as through several online resellers. Our test model, the Satellite M55-S325, goes for $1,399 (as of August 2005)--a fair price, considering its overall solid configuration. The system features a 1.73GHz Pentium M processor; a giant 100GB, 5,400rpm drive; a killer double-layer DVD burner; and an Intel 802.11b/g wireless card. It also ships with a couple of ho-hum parts: 512MB of somewhat slow 333MHz memory and an economical Intel 915PM chipset that borrows up to 128MB of video RAM from main memory. The rival Sony VAIO VGN-S470P costs $500 more for a smaller screen and hard drive, though it provides a more powerful Nvidia GeForce Go 6200 graphics chip. In contrast, the Averatec 4200 is priced $200 less than the Satellite M55 but includes a slower 1.6GHz Pentium M processor, a smaller hard drive and display, and a single-layer DVD burner. Check out our Satellite M50 series review for more details on this series' alternate configuration. (Note: The Toshiba Satellite M50 and M55 are basically the same system; you can customize the M50, while M55 models come preconfigured.)

In CNET Labs' mobile benchmarks, the Satellite M55 proved itself a solid contender. It performed 43 percent faster than the abhorrently slow Averatec 4200 and trailed the top-scoring VAIO VGN-S470P by just 7 percent. In our Labs' battery-drain trials, the Satellite M55 emerged the winner over the VAIO VGN-S470P, holding out for 3 hours, 22 minutes, compared with the Sony's 3 hours, 1 minute. The Averatec 4200 somewhat redeemed itself by beating both the Toshiba and the Sony with its 3 hours, 33 minutes of battery life.

Toshiba provides an industry-standard one-year warranty with the Satellite M55. During that time, you must mail or carry in the laptop to an authorized service center for repairs. You can buy an extended warranty with up to three years ($229) of coverage; you can also buy enhanced coverage, such as accidental damage protection and onsite service. Toll-free tech support is available around the clock for the length of your warranty. The Toshiba support Web site lacks one of our favorite features--real-time chat with a tech-support rep--but it does link out to the helpful Windows Users Group Network laptop forum.

Mobile application performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  

Battery life
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery-life minutes  

Find out more about how we test Windows notebooks.

System configurations:
Averatec 4200
Windows XP Home; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M 730; 512MB PC3200 DDR2 SDRAM 400MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express 64MB; WD Scorpio WD800UE 75GB 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite M55
Windows XP Home; 1.73GHz Intel Pentium M 740; 512MB PC2700 DDR2 SDRAM 333MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express 128MB; Toshiba MK1032GAX 100GB 5,400rpm

Windows XP Pro; 1.73GHz Intel Pentium M 740; 512MB PC3200 DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 6200 128MB; Fujitsu MHT2080BH 80GB 4,200rpm

What you'll pay

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    Quick Specifications See All

    • Release date Jun 15, 2005
    • Installed Size 512 MB
    • CPU Intel Pentium M 750 / 1.86 GHz
    • Resolution 1280 x 768 ( WXGA )
    • Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    • Weight 5.1 lbs
    • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM - fixed
    • Graphics Processor Intel GMA 900