Toshiba Satellite A660-14C review

9 Nov 2010

Middling performance, but supplying a Blu-ray drive and such a striking screen at this price is an impressive feat

Price when reviewed: 
620(£620 inc VAT)
5

The Toshiba Satellite A660 is one of a rare breed: it squeezes a Blu-ray drive into a very tight budget of little more than £500. That’s impressive enough, but it also features a 16in display up top.

The design is a bit edgier than many Satellites, with a mix of smooth outer edges and rough surfaces. It has a few lights too, giving an overall look that’s unmistakably enthusiast.

Toshiba Satellite A660-14C

That 16in TFT may be a minor upgrade, especially as the resolution is still 1,366 x 768, but it packs a punch and has good viewing angles. Our one gripe is its very reflective coating, but as long as you’re using it under soft home lighting it won’t be too distracting. The speakers are loud and offer a fair amount of bass, and there’s a 1.3-megapixel webcam and microphone.

The chassis feel particularly strong, with a solid hinge and barely any give to the lid. The rigid keyboard backing makes for a firm typing style on the Scrabble-tile keys, and the touchpad has a dry finish to it that makes it surprisingly pleasant to use. There’s a good selection of ports too: three USB 2 and one eSATA/USB 2 combo, plus an ExpressCard/34 slot and another for memory cards.

Toshiba Satellite A660-14C

The A660’s internals are less impressive. The 2.13GHz Core i3-330M, 4GB of DDR3 and 500GB hard disk pushed it to 1.26 in our benchmarks, and the Nvidia GeForce 310M averaged 36fps in Crysis at Low settings. The A660 is plenty quick enough to play Blu-rays, but it’s by no means as powerful as its image suggests. It also won’t last long on the road either, managing just 3hrs 27mins in our light-use battery test.

It’s evident that the cost of the Blu-ray drive has an impact on the rest of the core components, so for performance there are better options. But if it’s features you want, the Satellite A660-14C is certainly a strong budget entertainment choice.

Details

Price ex VAT £528
Price inc VAT £620
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 5
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 381 x 254 x 36mm (WDH)
Weight 2.610kg
Travelling weight 3.1kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-330M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 16.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce 310M
Graphics card RAM 512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 455GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Toshiba MK5065GSX
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader/DVD writer combo
Optical drive Matshita BUJ240ES
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 1
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 0
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Multitouch touchpad
Audio chipset Nvidia HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 27min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 15min
Overall application benchmark score 1.26
3D performance (crysis) low settings 36fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Burn own recovery discs
Software supplied WinDVD BD