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Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 - Core i5 2410M 2.3GHz - 15.6-inch TFT - with Nvidia 3D Vision Kit review: Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 - Core i5 2410M 2.3GHz - 15.6-inch TFT - with Nvidia 3D Vision Kit

Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 - Core i5 2410M 2.3GHz - 15.6-inch TFT - with Nvidia 3D Vision Kit

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Scott Stein
Scott_Stein.jpg

Scott Stein

Editor at Large

I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets.

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8 min read

Why is 3D in laptops still a novelty? Chalk it up to the extra cost of 3D technology, the awkwardness of wearing special glasses, and the lack of killer apps for the average user. Still, it's a current trend, and the technology has been in laptops far longer than it's been in devices like televisions and cell phones. While glasses-free 3D does exist, the best approach for computing is still active-shutter 3D. The $1,199 Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 uses Nvidia 3D Vision to power its 3D effects using an included pair of active-shutter 3D glasses.

Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 - Core i5 2410M 2.3 GHz - 15.6" TFT - with NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit
7.3

Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 - Core i5 2410M 2.3GHz - 15.6-inch TFT - with Nvidia 3D Vision Kit

The Good

The <b>Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20</b> is packed with features: Blu-ray, midrange Nvidia graphics, and Nvidia 3D Vision with included glasses, along with Harman Kardon speakers and USB 3.0.

The Bad

Battery life is under 3 hours at best, and hard-core 3D enthusiasts would likely prefer a larger, higher-resolution screen.

The Bottom Line

The 3D-enabled Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 is one of the more affordable 3D-enabled laptops, but it lacks the horsepower we've seen in more-robust 3D gaming laptops.

The Satellite P series is a line of mainstream, midrange to high-end 15.6-inch laptops. Toshiba offers a whopping 23 different configurations with various processors and specs (not all with 3D), starting at $699 and ranging up to $1,199 for the 3DV20.

The P755-3DV20 is definitely one of the least expensive 3D laptops we've seen recently. On the other hand, be ready to curb your expectations somewhat: since this Satellite P only has a 15-inch display with a maximum resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, it's a far cry from the usual larger-screened 1080p 3D laptop. A Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics are good enough for most mainstream games, but fall short of the top tier of processors and graphics seen in laptops like the Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78. Both 3D games and Blu-rays will still look good on the Satellite P755-3DV20, but they won't look as good. Better graphics especially make a difference with 3D games because the extra processing puts a strain on frame rate.

With 3D, we'd say the larger the screen, the better, so if you're already planning to spend the cash for a 3D laptop, we'd strongly suggest looking a little further up the ladder. However, if you're considering a 15-inch laptop with a good feature set and don't mind adding 3D to the mix, this could be for you.

Price as reviewed $1,199
Processor 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M
Memory 4GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 750GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Intel HM65
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GT 540M
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 15x9.8 inches
Height 1.1-1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 5.9 pounds / 6.9 pounds
Category Midsize

The Toshiba Satellite P series replaces the Satellite A and M series. In design, it's a little like both those lines--in fact, most midrange Satellites look awfully similar. It's nearly the same design as the 14-inch Satellite P745D-S4240 we recently reviewed, except writ a bit larger to accommodate the 15.6-inch screen. Covered all over in glossy, silver-colored plastic (aka Fusion Finish in Platinum) with patterned horizontal lines, the surfaces look reasonably attractive while repelling fingerprints, but the whole affair is a bit thick in the chassis and heavy on the plastic.

A slightly recessed keyboard includes a full number pad. The squared-off raised keys are, as on most recent Toshiba laptops, comfortable enough for extended work, although the keys feel a little too soft for our tastes. Above the keyboard is a touch panel with LED-backlit controls to access battery mode, 3D on/off, Wi-Fi on/off, play/pause, and volume. The volume buttons emit loud beeps that get annoying fast, and the 3D and Wi-Fi buttons were finicky and didn't always seem to work.

The multitouch touch pad below the keyboard is made of a slightly more matte, smoother plastic than the surrounding palm rest material, and was large enough that we could move our fingers around comfortably. The curved silver plastic buttons beneath it click a bit stiffly and feel shallow, but at least allow for discrete right and left clicks. The touch pad is skewed a bit off-center, as many are on larger laptops with number pads, since the spacebar and letters are also shifted over a bit to the left. There's enough palm room on the left side, but still, we prefer centered laptops.

On either side of the top touch-control bar are Harman Kardon stereo speakers. We've tended to love Toshiba's midrange-to-high-end speakers, and these sound as good as any we've tested. There isn't a subwoofer, but games, movies, and music sound very good and crisp. Included Toshiba Sleep and Music technology allows iPhones or other devices to connect and play music off the speakers via a 3.5mm-headphone-to-line-in cable while the laptop is asleep or even turned off. The idea's great, but the speakers sound unamplified and less powerful in this mode than we expected.

The 1,366x768-pixel-resolution glossy 15.6-inch display has rich colors and good brightness, but the image washes out when viewed at off-axis angles. It's a very good screen for movies, but the smaller 15.6-inch viewing area becomes limiting with expansive 3D Blu-ray movies (which have a higher native resolution), especially since 3D removes a bit of the effective real estate on the sides.

The Nvidia 3D Vision technology built into this laptop provides 3D images to be viewed with the included and necessary Nvidia 3D Vision glasses, which have active LCD shutters inside. The glasses have a small power button and charge via an included USB cable. They fit easily over regular glasses and sync their signal with a built-in emitter on the top lid of the Satellite, to the right of the Webcam.

The 3D effect works with 3D Blu-rays if you use the included Blu-ray player, and with a wide variety of games, unlike the glasses-free Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D290, which currently only plays Blu-rays.

Games automatically convert to 3D once you've enabled 3D in a buried Nvidia control panel. After that, it's smooth sailing. It's great that so many older games work effortlessly with 3D, and the 3D looks colorful and sharp, although the screen brightness suffers considerably. We couldn't get 3D movies on YouTube to play because the current drivers weren't available yet for our Satellite model. That being said, Nvidia 3D Vision with glasses currently remains the best way to get 3D on a laptop, and we'd strongly recommend it over other options, including glasses-free, for now.

The included Webcam has a maximum resolution of 1,280x1024 pixels. Videos shot at resolutions above VGA looked choppy, and the Toshiba Webcam settings are on the generic side. We've seen better camera software.

Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 Average for category [mainstream]
Video VGA, HDMI VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 1 USB 3.0, 3 USB 2.0, SD card reader 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 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

For $1,199, most people would expect an impressive set of laptop features, and the Satellite P755-3DV20 mostly delivers, with USB 3.0, Intel Wireless Display (not that you'll easily find it or likely use it), Bluetooth, and a BD-ROM drive for Blu-ray Disc playback.

An included 6GB of RAM and a 750GB, 5,400rpm hard drive exceed the mainstream laptop standard, although for more than $1,000, we'd expect it.

The 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M CPU in the Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 is one of the most common mainstream processors we've seen in the last six months. Its performance is excellent for both single applications and multitasking, and it generally matches performance from other laptops with the same Core i5 processor, including the Dell Inspiron 14z (our Satellite P755-3DV20 did better at multitasking, while the Inspiron did slightly better at single-tasking).

The Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics are fine for mainstream gaming--in fact, it's the same GPU we saw in the glasses-free Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D290. The GT 540M is a better fit with this laptop, considering the lower screen resolution and size, but performance falls short of higher-end enthusiast-level graphics cards such as the GTX 560M we tested in another recent Nvidia 3D Vision laptop, the more expensive Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78.

Street Fighter IV ran at 70.3 frames per second at native 1,366x768-pixel resolution with 2D off, but only 35 fps with 3D on. Metro 2033, a more graphically demanding game, ran at 24.3 fps at the same resolution with 3D off, and as for playing with 3D on, forget it. Better graphics would have helped this laptop handle 3D gaming more adeptly.

Juice box
Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 Average watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.92
Sleep (10%) 1.15
Idle (25%) 7.6
Load (05%) 49.42
Raw kWh number 44.13
Annual power consumption cost $5.01

Annual power consumption cost
Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20
$5.01 

The Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 is a laptop you'll never use far away from an outlet. Its six-cell battery didn't fare all that well in our tests: it lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes when playing back videos, and enabling 3D cut down that time further. This isn't much different from the results we got from the 3D Qosmio F755-3D290 (2 hours, 14 minutes) and the Qosmio X775-3DV78 (1 hour, 54 minutes), but both of those are larger, more powerful laptops.

Toshiba offers a standard one-year warranty on parts, labor, and battery with the Satellite P755-3DV20. An extended three-year warranty is available for $399, and a four-year one for a rather expensive $599 on Toshiba's Web site. The warranty extension must be bought within 30 days of purchasing the laptop. Toshiba's Web site is reasonably well-organized for finding drivers and documentation on particular models, and a toll-free customer service phone number is also available.

The Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 definitely has a good set of features for a 15-inch laptop: Nvidia graphics, Nvidia 3D Vision, Blu-ray, and a fast processor offer a lot for the money, but you have to ask yourself whether you're buying a 3D laptop for immersive home entertainment and gaming, or looking for a mainstream, everyday laptop with 3D as a bonus feature. If it's the former, consider a 1080p 17-inch 3D laptop with better graphics. If it's the latter, then the Toshiba P755-3DV20 might be perfect for you, if you don't mind paying the 3D premium.

System configurations:

Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 750GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D290
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 750GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Dell XPS 17 3D
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 3GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M; 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Sony Vaio VPCF215FX/BI
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 640GB Toshiba 7,200rpm

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20
523 

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20
94 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20
121 

Metro 2033 (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,366x768 pixels, High, DX11, AAA, 4X AF  
Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20
24.33 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20
140 

Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 - Core i5 2410M 2.3 GHz - 15.6" TFT - with NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit
7.3

Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20 - Core i5 2410M 2.3GHz - 15.6-inch TFT - with Nvidia 3D Vision Kit

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 9Performance 8Battery 5Support 7