CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901 review: Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901

Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
5 min read

Editors' note: This review is part of our Winter 2009 Retail Roundup, covering specific configurations of popular laptops that can be found in retail stores.


Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901

The Good

Attractive, if generic, design; separate multimedia controls; inexpensive 17-inch display.

The Bad

Below-average performance; relatively short battery life; fingerprint prone; comparatively small connection assortment.

The Bottom Line

If you need inexpensive computing power in a 17-inch desktop-replacement size, the Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901 is one of your only options.

The Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901 gives you a decent-looking 17-inch desktop replacement for less than $600, with all the necessary ports and connections for average day-to-day use. If the bigger screen isn't a must-have, for the same price, you can get the HP G60-235DX, a 15-inch retail model with better performance, battery life, and a larger hard drive. For maximum screen at minimal price, however, the Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901 is one of the only games in town.

Price as reviewed $599.99
Processor 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-72
Memory 3GB, 667MHz DDR2
Hard drive 250GB 5,400rpm
Chipset AMD RS780M
Graphics 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3100 (integrated)
Operating system Windows Vista Premium SP1 64-bit
Dimensions 15.7 inches wide by 11.5 inches deep
Height 1.7 inches high
Screen size (diagonal) 17 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 7.2/8.2 pounds
Category Mainstream

Very similar in style to the 15-inch Satellite L305D-5934 model, there's no mistaking this laptop as anything other than a Toshiba, because of the inch-high silver branding on the lid. The rest of the case is fairly generic looking, with a shiny pearlescent dark blue that retains fingerprints with every touch. The same goes for the glossy, black keyboard and wrist rest. The notebook has a comfortable, matte-black keyboard with bright, white markings (which makes them visible in low light) and a separate number pad, thanks to its large desktop footprint.

Over the keyboard is a row of multimedia controls (as on the smaller L305D) including programmable mute and CD/DVD buttons. (Out of the box they're set for mute and launching Windows Media Player.) Below the keyboard is a standard, two-button trackpad. However, the only thing delineating it as a trackpad is that the surface texture turns from smooth to slightly rough. We're always a big fan of a physical volume dial, which this system has on the case's front lip.

The 17-inch wide-screen LCD display offers a 1,440x900 native resolution, which is low for a desktop replacement screen, but we've seen it before in the least expensive 17-inch models. Clearly designed to sit in one place rather than travel, the screen quality is top-notch: text and icons are highly readable and movies look good.

Above the screen is a serviceable 1.3-megapixel Web cam, and necessary software is included. In fact, Toshiba includes a lot of bloatware--most of it trialware--which you can uninstall to open up hard-drive space or reduce desktop clutter.

  Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901 Average for category (mainstream)
Video VGA-out VGA-out, S-video
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 2.0, multi-format media-card reader 4 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion ExpressCard/54 ExpressCard/54
Networking modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

Some other systems in this class include HDMI, in addition to a VGA-out, for connecting to an external monitor, but at least we're pleased to see a full ExpressCard/54 slot--a rarity in an entry-level system.

Internal components are, on the whole, in line with what other vendors are offering at the L355D-S7901's sub-$600 price: an AMD dual-core processor, 3GB of DDR2 memory, and a respectable 250GB hard drive. Nothing stellar, but this still gets you decent performance for your buck, as long as the laptop's large size doesn't fool you into thinking it's a powerhouse.

This Toshiba's performance was slightly below average (although not by a blowout margin) in our collection of entry-level, retail, fixed-configuration laptops (with systems costing under $600). The 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 dual-core RM-72 is good enough for basic multitasking, but we were a little disappointed in the speed at which it handled the CNET Labs' benchmark tests. The integrated ATI graphics processor doesn't support much beyond casual gaming and movie playback on its 17-inch display, but that's really all that's needed in an entry-level laptop.

The notebook ran for 1 hour and 43 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, using the included eight-cell battery. This isn't bad for a desktop replacement, especially as these systems aren't intended to spend much time away from a wall outlet. With a massive battery, low-power CPU, and integrated graphics, however, we might have hoped for a better score.

The Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901 is backed by an industry-standard, one-year warranty. Support is accessible 24-7 via a toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and a Web site with driver downloads.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901

Video Playback battery drain test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Compaq Presario CQ60-215DX
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core QL-62; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8200M G; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Dell Inspiron 15-156B
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.16GHz Intel Dual Core T3400; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 32MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 160GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Gateway MD2614u
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-72; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite L305D-5934
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-70; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3100; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-72; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3100; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

HP G60-235DX
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.16GHz Intel Dual Core T4200; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 64MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Western Digital 5,400rpm


Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 7Performance 6Battery 6Support 6