CNET First Look
Toshiba Satellite C655D-S5130While the Toshiba Satellite C655-S5130 cracks the $400 barrier for an affordable 15-inch laptop, this particular AMD Fusion-powered laptop underperforms and underdelivers.
-Hi, I'm Scott Stein, and in your budget laptop travels as they may take you, you might come across a laptop in a circular or in a store much like this one--the Toshiba C655D-S5130. Now, that's a mouthful. What it amounts to is it is a $398 (that's cheap), 15.6-inch laptop that sounds a good great deal, and really that's nothing different than you've probably seen for a couple of years now in that sort of door-buster $349-, $400- special that you'd see in a lot of your retail stores or on the web. Now, what's interesting about this one is that it happens to have a new processor inside. There are a number of C650 laptops that Toshiba makes, so, you've probably seen this type of chassis before. It's big, it's black, it's bulky, doesn't have a lot of ports, you know, it looks like a budget laptop. You've seen them maybe with Intel Celeron processors or with a, you know, a Pentium Dual-Core or all sorts of other funky processors. Well, there's a new one in town called the AMD Fusion series of processors and we've seen them in 11 6-- 11-inch laptops recently like the HP Pavilion dm1, and they've been great. They actually have built-in graphics that are pretty decent and they come in at a pretty affordable price. They have good battery life and they play HD video really well; sounds promising, except this processor is not exactly the same. It is an E240 processor made by AMD. Now, that is different from the E350, if you wanna get technical, that's in those laptops. What that amounts to is it's a let down. It does stream video but some of the programs we checked like Hulu were a little bit choppy. Other ones like Netflix and ABC.com and CBS looked great. Now, for games, this is not a gaming laptop. We got some pretty bad numbers that we got that technically can play some games, but even Bejeweled 3 had a lot of graphics hiccups. If it's having problems with that, then really it isn't really for gaming. Now, while I use the term AMD Fusion, you won't actually see that anywhere on the box. You're gonna see a sticker that says "Vision" on it. Now, you have to check for the specs on the laptop to see that it's an E240 processor. Otherwise, you're just gonna see that AMD Vision on a lot of AMD's processors. And, you know, it doesn't have any bells and whistles. It doesn't have Bluetooth, it doesn't have HDMI; just 2 USB ports and, you know, a pretty generic-looking keyboard and a very small track pad. Honestly, last year, we saw one of the same exact C650 laptops in our summer retail roundup that had an Intel Celeron 900 processor for $349 and that outperformed this to some degree. Now, we don't wanna ding this too much but we wanna let you know that there is not really anything new on the block. The battery life on this one happens to be an hour better. But other than that, you've seen it before. Maybe if you up the processor in this to the E350, which is available, or to a Core i3, get a little better performance. But you kinda get what you pay for when you're paying $398 for a laptop like this. I'm Scott Stein and this is the Toshiba Satellite C655D-S5130 with an AMD E240 CPU.