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  • jrocks84 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I was hoping you would consider including testing of the wifi speed in future laptop reviews. Reply
  • jjrudey - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I have the Intel version with i7 2670QM. Pretty sure it's that. But anyway. They're really great for someone who doesn't want to spend over $1000. Reply
  • Bull Dog - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I appreciate your rant about DRM on Batman AA. As a paying consumer, It really sucks when the pirated product is better than the legit one. Reply
  • teiglin - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Always makes me think of one of my favorite comics: http://xkcd.com/488/
    Of course, Randall doesn't include the path the vendors hope you'll take: instead of attempting to recovery your DRM-locked files, they hope you'll simply buy the stuff again. I mean, why expect to be able to use your legitimately-purchased products indefinitely? Obviously you should be paying for the same thing every few years.

    When I was a kid, I read 20- or 25-year-old copies of Dune and even older copies of The Hobbit and the trilogy. If Amazon's DRM weren't so easy to strip, I'd never buy anything electronically from them, because as much as I love my Kindle, I can't really see passing the exact device down to my son the way my parents introduced me to their old books.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    toshiba satellite garbage, yet another example why you shouldn't be buying these entry level OEM HW platforms. Selling material is all they care about, not optimizing or finetuning anything at all. in the long run this is negative impression towards Toshiba users and as already mentioned in the review, typical on AMD system as if they don't care.... Reply
  • cknobman - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Exactly. Most of what toshiba pushes nowadays (especially the satellite series) is garbage exceeding the level of crapiness that even Dell stoops too on its budget consumer grade products. Reply
  • Scannall - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I've had an entry level Toshiba for several years now, with the AMD P320 + 4250. And it has been a solid and reliable computer. With the switch to Trinity soon, maybe after those are out these will be at fire sale prices on their Toshiba Direct site on eBay. Might be time for an upgrade. Reply
  • lazymangaka - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I would've loved to see what a decent overclock would've done for performance. K10STAT for the win, my friends. Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I really dont see the point of blu ray on such a low end product with a lousy screen. I am sure the only way to use the blu ray capabillity would be to put it out to a big screen TV. I guess you can do that, but if I had a good entertainment system like that, I would have either an HTPC or a dedicated blu ray player.

    Also, I would have been interested in seeing results with the memory upgraded to faster dual channel mode, and/or overclocking as some else already mentioned.

    Overall, to me who is not really interested in blu ray, too expensive for what you get.
    Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Also, I agree with the article that Llano is close, but still not quite there overall. Worse CPU performance than intel, and still very borderline for gaming with modern titles.

    If trinity lives up to the claims made for it, it might offer gaming that is good enough for decent resolutions and quality settings.
    Reply
  • jamawass - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Why is the Toshiba being compared with laptops that cost more than twice as much? A llano is comparable to an i3 based laptop which is inexplicably absent from the charts. Secondly I for one will be looking for a blu-ray drive in my next laptop purchase so there's a market for it or the OEM's wouldn't be manufacturing them.
    The reviewer should either only have laptops in the $699 price range or comparably performance equipped laptops with blu ray drive. I'm sure if you did a price/performance graph this laptop would be much more favorable. The current review does not tell me whether this is value for money at this price point.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    It's called context, plus most of the ~$700 laptops we get aren't well equipped for that price (and are often running AMD CPUs). We specifically called out the Lenovo and Acer laptops that have i5-2450M with GT 630M/540M, however, which if you look in the charts you can see right about where they would fall. The CPU is slower than the i7 CPUs in some of the other laptops (e.g. XPS 15z), but graphics performance will be the same ballpark as the GT 540M (e.g. faster than the GT 525M). So if the review was "unhelpful", it's only because you were unable to read the text and glean additional information from the context.

    FYI, we can only compare performance with laptops that we've actually tested. For obvious reasons, most companies don't want to send their entry level models and opt for faster variants. Case in point: we have never managed to receive an i3 equipped laptop for testing. However, when you look at the clock speeds of i3 vs. i5 (the 2350M runs at a steady 2.3GHz while the 2450M runs at 2.5 to 3.1 GHz), you can start to fill in the blanks. Lightly threaded tasks will be up to 35% faster on the i5, but heavily threaded tasks will fall a lot closer to the base frequency--around 15% faster on i5 would be my estimate.

    Heck, while we're at it, the Acer 3830TG actually has throttling issues on the CPU because it can't handle the heat of the CPU + GPU under full load. In many of the tests, the 3830TG will actually be slower than the i3-2350M that you can find in inexpensive laptops, and yet from a gaming perspective it would still beat Llano by a fair margin. (The GT 540M GPU is roughly 20% faster than the A8-3520M.)

    Hopefully all this information helps put the value in context for you and makes the value proposition a little more clear. As the conclusion notes, you're basically trading faster CPU and GPU performance for the Blu-ray drive. If you're willing to do that, fine, but consider that you CAN upgrade the optical drive to Blu-ray for around $80 aftermarket, while you're forever stuck with the GPU (and often CPU) on most laptops.
    Reply
  • bji - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    If a description of how similarly priced notebooks would compare to this one takes that much verbage to report, then your assertion that anyone should be able to "read the text and glean additional information from context" is way off the mark.

    If you don't have similarly priced notebooks to compare against, then perhaps you can at least find some way to report on the price/performance ratio rather than just reporting performance numbers.
    Reply
  • bji - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    By the way, not trying to sound overly critical. The reviews on this site are good, which is why we read them; I'm just trying to suggest how they could be better. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    The first paragraph is more than sufficient to explain the situation. The remaining paragraphs are to provide specific examples and additional details and are not particularly necessary. Nearly all of the information necessary to draw such conclusions is also in the graphs, assuming you know what the various model numbers mean.

    Ultimately, though, the conclusion already summarizes the above, and the rest of the review provides all the necessary information. I believe the problem is the OP either didn't actually read much of the accompanying text, didn't understand what the model numbers represent, or just disagreed on principle with showing a range of laptops. He also comes off rather confrontational: "I for one will be looking for a Blu-ray drive in my next laptop purchase so there's a market for it or the OEM's wouldn't be manufacturing them." Um, yes, and we specifically say that this laptop targets that niche, right?

    As for reporting price/performance ratio, that's a huge discussion separate from the above. Let me address that topic, again with a rather lengthy post. Price/performance is a completely flawed metric for laptops, as it leaves out a lot of other elements.

    Take something like the Dell XPS 15z vs. the linked Acer Aspire AS5755G-6841. Price/performance says the Acer is the better laptop, as it will be faster in many graphics tasks, close enough in CPU tasks, and it costs half of what the reviewed XPS 15z costs. But in the 15z review, we already point out that the i7 CPUs are very overpriced for what you get, and we recommend a configuration that would cost closer to $1000. With similar/worse performance to the Acer, which is the better value? From a build quality and screen quality perspective, the Dell wins hands down, but from performance scores you'd probably err more on the side of the Acer laptop. That's why our reviews discuss all of these other areas first, before we get to the benchmarks.

    Honestly, I could tell most people 95% of what they need to know about a laptop by looking at it and typing on it without running a single benchmark. The benchmarks are simply there for those who are not as informed on what the parts represent in terms of performance. For people that are just looking for an inexpensive laptop, find a sale at Best Buy or Office Depot or whatever and you're done. It will be an "okay" laptop, very similar to this Toshiba in all likelihood, only without Blu-ray. For those that want a quality laptop, however, you need to look at the display, use the keyboard, and basically poke and prod the tires and check under the hood to see if anything is amiss.

    That's what our laptop reviews try to do, and if you're only looking at the charts without reading the text, you're missing the real point of a review. Buying a laptop based off performance charts would be like buying a car based on horse power, top speed, or acceleration -- without regard for handling, styling, or features and accessories.
    Reply
  • PolarisOrbit - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    I would like to see this in a review series, "Jarred's Laptop Summaries" or something. Just cover as many different laptops as possible! Maybe let people mail you their laptop with a return envelope to cover as much ground as possible! Reply
  • PolarisOrbit - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    Oops I forgot the quote: "Honestly, I could tell most people 95% of what they need to know about a laptop by looking at it and typing on it without running a single benchmark." Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    We try to do this sort of "executive summary of the laptop market" about twice a year with our mobile buyers' guide. Speaking of which, once Trinity and Ivy Bridge get here it will be an excellent time to do so! Or maybe I should do it now before the back to school craziness hits? Reply
  • jamawass - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Pardon me for expecting to find whether this blu-ray equipped notebook is value for money in an article titled "nearing the end for Llano". As you stated, the market niche that requests blu ray is being addressed so it would only be logical to include intel based systems with blu ray drives that are close in price to the Toshiba. I reiterate that there's no point including a $1500 laptop in the chart just because you have the data from a previous analysis. It only results in polluting all the data, why do I have to find the Acer's bar on every chart to get a close to apple to apple comparison? A journalist's job is to present the facts in the clearest manner.
    I've been following this site since Anand's groundbreaking AMD K III article back when his Mum had to accompany him to the tech expos but the quality of articles has deteriorated of late.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    "Pardon me for expecting to find whether this blu-ray equipped notebook is value for money...." Apparently you can't read the conclusion? Let me try to help you:

    "It's pretty clear that Toshiba made a series of tradeoffs to get the Blu-ray drive into a notebook at as low a price point as possible, and a visit to NewEgg will see that they were mostly successful in that respect. The only notebook NewEgg offers that isn't a refurbished model and is less expensive than the P755D is a strikingly similar Gateway unit, but you sacrifice hard drive capacity, USB 3.0 connectivity, Bluetooth, and carrying weight in the process. If you're in the market for a notebook with Blu-ray, that's something you'll have to weigh on your own."

    So, if you're after the least expensive laptop with Blu-ray that you can find, this is probably it right now (outside of sales). Does it help to say things like, "Dell's XPS 15 with Blu-ray can be had for $900 with a faster CPU and GPU, but the $200 price difference is more about the overall design than just those elements"? In a similar vein, HP has the dv6t that can be purchased with a quad-core i7 processor and Blu-ray, plus HD 7470M graphics, for $850. Which is the best value? It really depends on what you're after.

    Personally, I'd say get a good quality laptop with a good display first, and worry about features like Blu-ray only after you've selected a laptop that won't fall apart after a couple years. After all, the whole point of a laptop is to have a device you can carry around, and that means it's more likely to suffer some bumps and bruises. You can by a cheap plastic desktop tower and not have to worry much about build quality, but if you buy a cheap laptop, it's far more likely to have issues within a year or two. And whatever laptop you buy, if it has a DVD you can spend $80 and make it a laptop with Blu-ray.
    Reply
  • mtoma - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    Hello!
    You keep saying that you put first a good display, an you show us many specific part numbers of some displays, and their respective manufacturer: AU Optronics, LG, Philips, and so on.
    Where you get those specific informations about the displays? How can I get the same info about my laptop/display?
    And, how/where I can calibrate some monitors (laptop/deskto, doesn't matter)?
    Thank you!
    Reply
  • jamawass - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    Ok, great progress with that reply. Also since the blu-ray rom is the selling point in this otherwise mediocre laptop could you have mentioned what blu ray software it ships with? I presume audio would be 2.0 and not 5.1/7.1 with bitstreaming over hdmi and what would be the options to upgrade to these capabilities? Is the picture quality over hdmi same as the reference platform? What's the battery life with blu ray playback? Thanks Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    See, now you're getting somewhere: specific questions that we could answer. I'll have to defer to Dustin here, but my guess is the software is an OEM tool, perhaps with tweaks. Toshiba in the past has had reasonable Blu-ray software when I tested an A660 series, but very likely you'd need to shell out for and/or download additional software to get full bitstreaming capabilities. I'm guessing that's what you're talking about with the 2.0 vs. 5.1/7.1 comment.

    For Blu-ray playback battery life, it will be quite a bit worse than our H.264 playback result as the spinning of a disc plus decryption tasks is far more demanding than straight H.264 decoding; Dustin didn't test this aspect AFAIK, but I'd be surprised if the P775D lasted more than two hours for Blu-ray viewing.

    Unfortunately, I'm not much of an A/V enthusiast so I don't have a home theater system for testing bitstreaming and such, and neither does Dustin AFAIK. On the hardware front, the Toshiba should perform just as well as Llano in general for HTPC scenarios (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4479/amd-a83850-an-h... We can't test every single scenario with every laptop or we'd never get any reviews finished, so we generally focus on the laptop-centric elements (build quality, display, battery life, and performance) and let others like Ganesh discuss how platforms stack up in the HTPC space.

    If you'd really like an answer to the above (e.g. you're not just trolling and posting flame bait), email Dustin and see if he'll run/test the other elements. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure you're firmly in the trolling category so I've likely wasted far too much time with my responses already.
    Reply
  • jamawass - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the response. I don't think questioning a review is trolling or flame baiting but since you're a journalist you probably know better. I won't bother Dustin with additional requests but would suggest that blu ray playback run time be included in future reviews in similarly equipped laptops. Probably A/V aspects of these laptops could be done in a seperate review? Reply
  • zorxd - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    "The Toshiba Satellite P755D is, first and foremost, a notebook for the budget consumer market. It's not necessarily meant to be a particularly exciting piece of hardware; it's meant to fill a niche,"

    Most people buy laptops in this price range or lower. The niche is the Anandtech editor who is paying $1000+ for a laptop.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    The niche is: I want a budget laptop, but I'm willing to pay more for a laptop with Blu-ray. And if you only buy $700 laptops, prepare to be disappointed repeatedly by cheap build quality and crappy displays. Reply
  • zorxd - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    90% of laptops out there must have cheap build quality and crappy displays then. $700 is probably more than the average paid for a laptop these days. It's like if you were saying that if I pay under $40k for a car, that I should prepare to be disappointed by build quality and comfort. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I'd say it's more like 95% (or more!) of consumer laptops that have cheap build quality and crappy displays. Walk into Best Buy, and almost every Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Sony, etc. laptop is made of plastic and has a lousy low-contrast LCD. Business laptops on the other hand are built better (though many still have crappy displays), but you usually buy direct from Dell/HP/Lenovo for a business laptop.

    The car comparison incidentally doesn't work very well, as the difference between $20K and $40K cars is a couple orders of magnitude more than the difference between a $700 and $1000 laptop. Laptops are more in the range of disposable income, where cars are a long-term investment/purchase. Why not compare it to buying houses while we're at it? Anyway, if you want to talk cars, it would be better to say: If you buy a used car for $1500, you will likely end up with some serious compromises and reliability concerns. "You get what you pay for."
    Reply
  • mikato - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I fully appreciate that it's natural for a good tech site like this to review high end laptops mostly. However I don't plan to buy a high end laptop anytime soon. I do game a lot but I definitely won't get a laptop for gaming! I am much more likely to recommend a laptop for my dad, my sister, or buy one for my wife and in that case I'd like to know more about $700 or even less laptops that are out there (I've done all that and never owned a laptop myself actually). I don't think I'm alone wanting more info on sub $1000 laptops. I see you said you don't get any i3s and such, but it would be great if Anandtech could find a way to do reviews or roundups like this, or just some general tips on things to look for. I enjoy reading up on AMD's current APU tech and Intel's on-die graphics as well. Reply
  • rootheday - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    On page 5, the review says:
    "Llano presently remains your best option for gaming on the battery"

    Do you actually run the gaming performance tests on the battery? or while plugged in?

    My experience is that AMD down clocks their mobile GPUs while on DC by ~30% - something that Intel doesn't do. I wonder if your conclusion about Llano gaming experience vs Intel HD would be different for the "gaming on battery scenario"...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    There's a setting in AMD's control panel called PowerPlay. Set that for Maximum Performance and you shouldn't have any downclocking (except maybe on high-end parts like the 5870, 6870, etc. and above?) Using those settings, the AMD "test Llano" laptop lasted 161 minutes doing "gaming" while on battery power. I don't think Dustin tested the Toshiba, but it would be less most likely (given the other battery life numbers are all lower)--probably around two hours, give or take. By contrast, the Sony VAIO SE with a 49Wh battery and 6630M (and better gaming performance overall) lasted 90 minutes in the same test. I'm not sure how pertinent "gaming on battery" tests are, though -- most people I know don't usually play many complex/demanding games on laptops while unplugged. Reply
  • kamm2 - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    As mentioned in the article, the case on these laptops is not very desireable. A coworker bought a P755 for his daughter and I helped set it up. My wife needed a new laptop and the price and specs were good so I was very close to buying one. I just couldn't do it though due to the cheap feel of the case and trackpad buttons. Reply
  • stimudent - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    I have an A8-3550MX for about a month now. It can comfortably run four computational chemistry projects while playing a Blu-ray. It has been a pleasure to use too for everything else in between.
    The only problem may come when the computational projects tap into the GPUs causing a slight hesitation in the Blu-ray playback.
    Reply
  • Etern205 - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - link

    I currently still have my Toshiba, but I got their business line up the Tecra. It's was the very first Intel dual core @ 1.8GHz, 512MB DDR2, 80GB SATA HDD, and Intel IGP. I later on upgrade my HDD to 160GB and installed Vista Home Premium 32bit upgrade it to 2GB and Vista runs great. No lags or slow responses where other notebooks may require more ram just to work properly.
    I like Toshiba, but their configurations sucks big time. Let's say you want a system with a decent GPU, then must get their 17" models. I want a 13" or so with a decent GPU, but I see none of in their line up. Even their GPU in their 17" model aren't that great compare to others.
    Reply

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