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CNET First Look
Toshiba Satellite M645-S4118XThe Toshiba Satellite M645-S4118X has a killer combination of Blu-ray, high-end graphics, and a fast processor at a price slightly north of $1,000, but poor battery life is the Achilles' heel on what would otherwise be an ideal 14-inch laptop.
-Isn't it frustrating when there's a laptop that comes this close to perfection but gets undone because of one key shortcoming? I'm Scott Stein, Senior Editor at CNET.com, and this is the Toshiba Satellite M645-S4118--an otherwise excellent laptop that does have one serious drawback that we'll get to in a moment. At a price slightly north of $1000, this Toshiba Satellite laptop has just about everything that you'd be looking for in a 14-incher nowadays. It's got a Core i5 processor, a new second generation one from 2011. It's got great graphics, NVIDA GeForce GT525. It's also got 6 gigs of RAM, a 640-gigabyte hard drive. It's got a Blu-ray drive. It's got a backlit keyboard. It's got great Harman Kardon speakers. What could go wrong? Well, unfortunately, it's the battery. It got under 3 hours of battery life in our test and that's a serious drawback because, let's face it. What's the point of laptop? You're gonna be taking it around with you and in this day and age, especially with the new second generation processors that we've been testing from Intel, we've been seeing increases in battery life. And while this laptop is a step up in battery life from last year's M Series laptop that we reviewed, under 3 hours just doesn't cut it. I mean, it doesn't for me. I'm sure it doesn't for you. And when you look at iPads, and smartphones, and battery lives that are now getting close to 10 hours, our expectations are different in 2011 than they were last year. But other than that, hey, this thing is great for gaming. It's got really nice graphics. This 14-inch screen is not spectacular, but it makes up for it with some really great Harman Kardon speakers that make for really nice video playback. So, if you're playing that Blu-ray movie, it's gonna sound really good and you can always connect via HDMI, and the backlit keyboard is appreciated. This thing is not exactly thin however. It's-- it's a little bit of a chunker in laptops. But you know what? It's got a great set of specs. It's just that battery life. Check it out if you want, maybe consider extending that battery life getting an expanded one or living very close to an outlet most of the time. I'm Scott Stein and this is the Toshiba Satellite M645-S4118.