CNET First Look
Toshiba Satellite P745-S4240The budget-priced Toshiba Satellite P745-S4240 will save you some money thanks to its AMD A6 processor, with a dip in speed in exchange for some better-than-average graphics.
-I'm Scott Stein, Senior Editor for CNET.com. If there's one thing that gets my go, it's middle-of-the-road laptops. The Toshiba Satellite P745-S4240 is one of several configurations in the P series in the 14-inch variety of Satellite laptops. I've seen one Toshiba Satellite you probably see in the mall. As far as design goes, they look very similar. Maybe that's being a little harsh, but this is replacing the M and the A series look for a sort of a high-end glossy laptop, but this is a budget side of that line. It uses an AMD A6 processor. Now, this is a new line of processors that's meant to go toe to toe with Intel's Core i3 and i5 processors that you see in pretty much every laptop. How does it perform? Well, it's slower. On the other hand, you are getting a little bit of a cost benefit, dropping about $150 off the price of this equivalent laptop with a core i5. This also has slightly better graphics. Now, what does that really mean? Slightly better graphics. Well, they're better than Intel Integrated Graphics, but if you're gamers, stay away 'cause this is not gonna get you where you need to go to play hardcore PC games. It plays your basic mainstream games at a basic mainstream frame rate, and that's the problem. It's kind of neither here nor there. And the battery life takes a hit. It's got about 3 hours of battery life. That's just not enough now for a 14-inch laptop. We've seen ones like at 6 hours of battery life. You will get some nice bells and whistles in this P series, Harman Kardon stereo speakers, it sounds pretty great. Because this is the most affordable in a higher end line, this laptop also has USB 3.0 and Bluetooth. And a lot of Satellite laptops have this feature, but it has a Sleep and Play mode, so even when the laptop is powered down or in sleep, you can plug in your iPhone to the line in jack here and use the speakers if you're traveling. It's kind of nice having to boot the laptop up, and it's got Sleep and Charge, plus it's got a 640-gigabyte hard drive, 6 gigs of RAM. That's more than normal, but if you're trading it off for some weaker battery life and some slightly slower system performance, is that worth it? Well, for $629, that's way to get. That's what I mean by middle-of-the-road laptop. I'm Scott Stein, and this a look at the Toshiba Satellite P745-S4240.