The Toshiba Satellite A665-S6050 is a well-rounded, affordable laptop for home use. Although it's not the cheapest laptop with an Intel Core i3 processor, it's still reasonably priced at $699. Its 16-inch display is too large for daily travel and its 12-cell battery adds about an extra pound to its heft, so home is where the Satellite A665-S6050's heart is.
The laptop's display offers neither the size nor resolution that a 17.3-inch desktop replacement system would have, but DVDs and 720p HD video look great on it. A pair of Harman Kardon speakers greatly adds to the laptop's entertainment value as they deliver better audio than that of most laptop speakers. With its onboard Intel Wireless Display, you can broadcast video and audio wirelessly from the laptop to a larger monitor with the aid of a $99 Netgear adapter.
In addition to its entertainment features, the Satellite A665-S6050 with its Core i3-M350 processor and 4GB of fast DDR3 memory proved itself to be an able performer in our benchmark tests. It also has a solid build quality, aside from its flimsy mouse buttons. For about $230 more, you can upgrade to the Satellite A665-S6070 version of this laptop and get a very powerful Intel Core i7 CPU, but the same screen resolution and DVD burner.
|Processor||2.27GHz Intel Core i3 M350|
|Memory||4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz|
|Hard drive||500GB at 7,200rpm|
|Graphics||Intel GMA HD|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium|
|Dimensions (WDH)||15.0x10.0x1.5 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||16.0 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||6.2 / 6.9 pounds|
Toshiba drapes the Satellite A665-S6050 in a charcoal gray chassis. The lid and wrist rest have a fine textured pattern that adds a little visual appeal while also repelling fingerprints. A narrow, glossy black bezel frames the display. The keyboard has glossy black tile or Chiclet style keys, where each key is isolated. To the right of the roomy keyboard is a spacious number pad. The keys offer good travel and feel sturdy. The chassis feels sturdy as well and has little to no flex to it. Its two display hinges are narrow but very stiff, and hold the display firmly in place.
With the big 12-cell battery in tow, the Satellite A665-S6050 weighs a hefty 6.2 pounds. That's a half a pound to a full pound heavier than the weight of most mainstream 15.6-inch models. The big battery protrudes out about an inch from the bottom of the laptop, which makes the laptop a bit uncomfortable to use when it's actually atop your lap. However, it makes a convenient carrying handle for toting the laptop when closed from room to room. It also creates a comfortable slope when the laptop is on a desk or a table.
Below the keyboard is a touch pad with a matte finish that supports multitouch gestures such as two-finger scrolling. Toshiba added a small button above the touch pad to disable it should you want to connect a mouse. You know you've disabled the touch pad when the blindingly bright strip of light that runs across the top of it goes out. You can disable that light, as well as the LEDs that illuminate the Satellite logo on the lower-left corner and the strip of media control shortcut keys above the keyboard, by hitting a button near the middle of the row of shortcut keys. Also, if you enable Toshiba's Eco Mode, which makes some subtle power profile tweaks to extend battery life, it also kills the lights.
You'll likely want to disable the annoying beep that the touch-sensitive shortcut keys emit when touched. Even the mute button makes a beep! To disable it, go to the Toshiba utilities folder, choose HWSetup, click on the Button Setting tab, and disable "Function Button Sound Notification."
Below the touch pad are two generously proportioned mouse buttons. In contrast to the luxurious keyboard, the mouse buttons feel light and flimsy. They're clacky and they physically rattle when the laptop is nudged or typed on.
For a laptop of its size and at its price, the Satellite A665-S6050 produces stellar sound. Two Harman Kardon speakers sit above the keyboard behind rectangular grills and offer loud, full sound. For a pair of integrated laptop speakers, they deliver sound with surprising depth. They offer enough oomph for movies; we had to turn them down when seated right in front of the laptop. Listening to music is also an enjoyable experience, which is a statement we rarely make when describing laptop audio. For filling a room larger than a small dorm room or bedroom, however, you'll still want to keep a set of external speakers handy.
Toshiba includes a couple software utilities worth noting. 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. For a vendor utility, it's actually pretty slick and useful. What's less useful but equally slick looking is the Bulletin Board app that lets you arrange photos and notes in a single work space. This app mimics a similar Microsoft Surface app, which is much more fun, but not much more useful, to play around with when you have touch-screen capability.
The 16-inch display has a 1,366x768-pixel resolution, which is the same resolution as most 11-to-15-inch laptop displays. The screen has a glossy finish that improves the look of photos and video but does create some glare and reflection. A low-grade 0.3-megapixel Webcam sits above the display, and is acceptable for basic Web video use.
|Toshiba Satellite A665-S6050||Average for category [midsize]|
|Video||VGA, HDMI||VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone/ microphone jacks||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||4 USB 2.0, media card reader, eSATA||4 USB 2.0, SD card reader, eSATA|
|Networking||Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi||Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband|
|Optical drive||DVD burner||DVD burner|