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Toshiba Satellite P745-S4240
Underneath the seemingly predictable veneer of the 14-inch Toshiba Satellite P745D-S4240 are two new stories, albeit ones that might not interest the average person much. The Satellite P series is a new laptop line for Toshiba, although you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between it and the M, A, and L series of Satellite laptops (the P replaces the M and A). Under the hood is a quad-core AMD A6 processor, part of a new line of budget-targeted AMD Vision A-series APUs that include better-than-Intel-integrated graphics to accompany mainstream processing power.
Indeed, for $629, the Toshiba Satellite P745D-S4240 represents a very fair value for a midrange laptop with Harman Kardon speakers, 640GB of hard-drive space, and 6GB of RAM. There are caveats, however: the battery life on the thick P745 is decidedly below average. And the AMD A6 processor as tested was significantly slower than an Intel Core i5-2410M, although Core i5 laptops tend to cost at least $100 more--some budget Core i5 laptops like the Lenovo Essential G570 manage to be even less expensive. The Satellite P745D-S4240 is admittedly well-stocked with features such as Bluetooth and USB 3.0, but other than that it's just more of the same in a similar package. Affordable, yes, but not utterly memorable. Budget shoppers would be better off considering a laptop like the Dell Inspiron 14z, an even thinner laptop with USB 3.0 that has far better battery life and a comparable price.