Toshiba Satellite C75 review

29 Aug 2013

Toshiba serves up a giant-sized desktop replacement with a Core i3 processor – it’s a lot of laptop for the money

Price when reviewed: 
499(£499 inc VAT)
4

With budget laptops increasingly slimming down to near-Ultrabook dimensions, Toshiba's gigantic Satellite C75 looks almost comically oversized. If you're looking to replace a desktop PC, however, this big-bodied laptop deserves serious consideration. With a respectable Core i3 CPU, a spacious keyboard and a huge 17in display, the Satellite C75 could well have what it takes to become a permanent resident on your desk.

Measuring a whisker over 37mm at its thickest point, the Satellite C75 looks like it could swallow an Ultrabook whole. It's not as weighty as you might guess from its dimensions, but you're unlikely to relish carting its 2.7kg bulk out of the house too often. It could serve as a mobile workstation, however, if exceptional battery life isn't needed: away from the mains, with the display dimmed to 75cd/m2 and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off, the system ran for 5hrs 25mins in our light-use battery test.

Toshiba Satellite C75

Aesthetically, Toshiba has gone for a fairly conservative look. The 17.3in screen is protected by a rather plain-looking lid, inside which the Satellite C75 comes finished in either plain white or a two-tone clash of grey and black plastic. A dash of pin-pricked silver around the speakers is the only concession to glamour.

It all feels rather plasticky, but that's not to say it's flimsy. The hollow-feeling chassis affords lots of room around key components in case of accidental drops, and while the lid has some give to it, it does a good job of protecting the display inside – it wasn't until we pushed hard that the lid began to press on the TFT panel inside and cause visible ripples on the display.

The full-sized keyboard and numeric keypad are welcome, too, and the light action of the keys and the spacious layout make for trouble-free typing. The touchpad feels a little cramped, however, especially considering the size of the C75 itself, and the slight lip around its edges gets in the way of Windows 8's edge-swipes. We expect most people will hook up a USB mouse.

Toshiba Satellite C75

Internally, Toshiba has equipped the Satellite C75 with a 2.5GHz Core i3-3120M processor and an unusually generous pairing of 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a 1TB hard disk. That's an impressive roster of components for the price; the Toshiba would have fared well in last month's budget-laptop Labs, had it arrived in time.

Indeed, its overall result of 0.67 in our Real World Benchmarks would have placed it among the front-runners for application performance; the Core i3 may not be a premium processor, but the Toshiba feels anything but like a low-end laptop.

Gaming performance isn't as strong, however. With only Intel's HD Graphics 4000 to call upon, it achieved an average frame rate of 33fps in our easiest Crysis test. That's just about playable, the average plummets to 24fps when you up the quality settings to Medium.

Nevertheless, the big screen is a big attraction. Where smaller-screened budget laptops often sport 1,366 x 768 pixel displays, the Toshiba offers a 1,600 x 900 resolution that feels palpably more spacious (although less generous than the Full HD displays we're used to on more premium models). Image quality is fine, if not great.

Toshiba Satellite C75

Brightness reaches an excellent 305cd/m2 – bright enough for outdoor use, if you can lug it into the garden – but a contrast ratio of 169:1 results in washed-out images. Darker greys blend into black, and highlights are crushed, too. It's fine for everyday use, as long as you're not planning to do any colour-critical photo-editing work.

When it comes to connectivity, all the essentials are here. There's only a single USB 3 port, which is a bit stingy, but there are a further two USB 2 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, D-SUB and an SD card reader dotted around the Toshiba's edges. Wireless networking is capped at single-band 802.11n speeds, but unlike many cheaper laptops, the latest Bluetooth 4 connectivity is supported. There's also a basic 0.9MP webcam embedded in the display's bezel, and although contrast and detail are lacking, it's good enough for basic Skype chatting.

As a do-it-all desktop replacement, the Satellite C75 is a solid all-rounder. It has weak points, but if you're looking for a desk-bound laptop with a good turn of speed for around £500, the Toshiba Satellite C75 is a viable candidate at a sensible price.

Details

Price ex VAT £416
Price inc VAT £499
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 413 x 268 x 37mm (WDH)
Weight 2.700kg
Travelling weight 3.0kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-3120M
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 17.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1600 x 900
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 4000
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Optical disc technology DVD writer
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 2
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
SD card reader yes
Compact Flash reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 5hr 25min
Battery life, heavy use 2hr 0min
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.67
Responsiveness score 0.82
Media score 0.68
Multitasking score 0.52

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
OS family Windows 8