Toshiba: Best and Worst Laptop Brands 2015

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Dropping down one notch from its traditional seventh-place finish, Toshiba hasn't wowed us in the past year. Toshiba laptops got the worst reviews of all the brands we evaluated, and we weren't big fans of the company's designs, keyboards or displays, either. However, Toshiba does offer a wide range of laptops at a variety of prices, and it sells our favorite Chromebook, the Toshiba Chromebook 2.

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Reviews (11/20)

Reviews-wise, no company had a more roller-coaster year than Toshiba. While three of its notebooks (the Chromebook, Chromebook 2 and Radius P55W) all earned 4 stars and Editors' Choice awards, the company had its share of flops. Its three detachables (the Z10t, Satellite Click 2, and Click 2 Pro) each earned ratings of 2.5 stars or less. With more refined designs, the company could do better.

Tech Support (13/20)

Toshiba offers a limited, 90-day window for receiving tech support, unless you're willing to pay for it. That said, we found the website intuitive and easy to navigate. The brand's Twitter and Facebook support was prompt. However, the constant insistence that we sign up for premium support to get answers to the simplest of questions held back the company from a better score.

MORE: Toshiba Tech Support: 2014 Rating

Design (10/15)

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Toshiba was just a skulk of silver foxes this year. Each notebook the company released has a glistening silver chassis (e.g., Satellite P50t, Chromebook 2, Chromebook). The overall presentation is clean and modern, but a little pop of color could have gone a long way in helping Toshiba stand out in a MacBook-obsessed crowd.

MORE: Best Toshiba Laptops

Out of all the Lenovo Yoga imitators currently on the market, the Radius P55W and the Radius 11 come the closest to hitting the mark, one-upping the competition with five modes instead of four. However, the top-heavy Satellite Click 2 Pro is a comedy of design errors. When connected with its dock, its weight balloons to 4.4 pounds. What's worse, disconnecting the 13-inch tablet from the keyboard dock was problematic.

Keyboard & Touchpad (9/15)

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Toshiba's laptop keyboards were a mixed bag. Most of the systems we tested suffered from stiff, shallow keys and a mediocre typing experience. For example, the Satellite Click 2's keyboard was just 1.3 mm deep (1.5 mm is OK, and 2 mm and higher is considered excellent), and using it felt like typing on a rock. A few of the larger laptops, such as the 15-inch Satellite Radius P55W and Satellite P50T, however, did provide decent feedback and travel.

Most of the company's touchpads were accurate enough, but on a couple of them, including the Chromebook 2 and the Satellite Click 2, the cursor would get stuck.

Display (6/10)

Toshiba offers some laptop displays that look absolutely stunning, like the 15-inch, 4K Satellite P50T-BST2N01. The Chromebook 2 also impresses with its optional full-HD IPS panel. Other than those models, most Toshiba laptops had just decent resolution, minimal brightness (221 nits on average) and modest color gamut (79 percent on average). Some Toshiba screens fall down on all three counts, like the affordable Satellite Radius 11, which sports a so-so 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, a dim 188 nits of brightness and a substandard 68 percent color gamut.

Innovation (3/5)

While Toshiba isn't necessarily changing the game, the company is committed to staying ahead of the pack in some categories. The new Portege Z20t Ultrabook contains some of Toshiba's most exciting innovations, promising a whopping 17 hours of battery life and a detachable keyboard dock that allows for multiple use modes. There's even an "emergency stylus" tucked into the machine, in case you were to lose the full-size pen.

MORE: 10 Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Toshiba's Chromebook 2 is a standout in the category, as it's the only Chromebook to offer branded Skullcandy speakers plus a full-HD display.

Audio (3/5)

Toshiba laptops are a mixed bag when it comes to audio. While we appreciated the balanced sound from the $899 Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W, which incorporates DTS Sound software for more audio control, the $379 Radius 11 sounded weak and tinny. The company continues to partner with Harman/Kardon and Skullcandy, to elevate even budget-friendly Chromebooks with good sound quality. The brand notched 83 decibels on the Laptop Mag Audio Test, which is below the average of 85 dB.

Value & Selection (4/5)

Toshiba makes more than 115 different laptops, but it does a good job of separating them into six distinct categories, which makes it fairly easy to find the right model for you. While its gaming notebooks are a little outdated, as they feature GTX 780M GPU from two years ago, the rest of its lineup has a wide variety of budget systems (Satellite), Ultrabooks (Kira), Chromebooks and business systems (Tecra).

MORE: Best Laptops

Toshiba offers competitive pricing. For example, a 15-inch, 1366 x 768p Satellite S50 with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD totaled $650 — the same price as a similarly equipped Dell Inspiron 15 5000. Toshiba is near the top of the pack in value, and a refresh to its gaming line and greater availability of models with the latest 5th-gen Intel CPUs would help it catch up to Dell and HP.

Software (3/5)

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Toshiba removed many of its own-branded apps from its consumer (Satellite) laptops. All that's left are the Toshiba Service Station (for managing updates), media player, Eco Utility, HW Setup Utility and Recovery Media Creator apps. We appreciate the streamlining effort, since many of Toshiba's previous apps, such as Book Place (for e-books) and Start (for news), were redundant.

You'll still find Nuance's Dragon Assistant for hands-free voice control on some models. The company made no changes to its business software this year, continuing to offer its PC Health Monitor, Service Station, Password Utility and PC Diagnostic Tool. (The latter two target IT professionals.)

Best & Worst Laptop Brands 2015

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29 comments
  • Bill Page Says:

    I have 2015 Toshiba Satellite laptop for 9 months. The tech services made changes to my computer which ruined the software. Now Toshiba wants me to pay for software fixes. I recommend not purchasing a Toshiba computer. The software techs only know how to ask for money and the hardware tech services only know how to ruin the computer. I will never purchase another Toshiba.

  • Linda Scully Says:

    I know Toshiba was one of the top brands, and that still may ber the case, however their hardware support is terrible. I had a small issue with the on/off button, and to fix it, I had to send my computer to them for 14 days! I didn't pay almost $1000 to be without it for 2 weeks! Next time--Dell.

  • Gaurav Says:

    I bought 2 Toshiba Laptops for my personal use, I have used almost every brands of laptop in my hostel (of my friends) like HP, Lenovo, Dell, Aser and Sony before this but never seen such a worst battery backup then Toshiba, within 18 months battery of both the laptops become dead now. I'll never recommend anyone to buy toshiba brands.

  • Ab De Kawser Says:

    silent mind

  • Serena Says:

    I've owned my Toshiba Satellite A200 for 8 years, and am going to buy another one when Windows 10 is released. I'm not computer literate and have no problems with this one. I wouldn't buy anything but a Toshiba, and get the technicans at the shop I bought it from, to recommend one for me. The choice they made last time was great!

  • pedro gonzales Says:

    i have a c75d laptop and it is a pos. i would not recommend this junker to anyone. even office does not work properly on this crapper. never again.

  • Christ Says:

    I've never had a problem with Toshiba. I'm on my second one (My first was a Vista that lasted me 4 years till I upgraded)

    My current one I've had for 3 years and it hasn't had any problems.

    I recommended one to my sister about 5 years ago and I went to see her a little while ago, and she still has it! It's still running strong, even with Windows Vista.

    I also recommended one to my brother a couple years ago and his is still doing good too.

    So that's 4 different Toshiba laptops that have lasted without any real problems. I've tried other laptops and there is always something I don't like about them. My current one (P955-S5320) has the absolute most perfect touchpad.

    I don't know why other laptops can't get the touchpad right. I bought a Lenovo laptop because I wanted to upgrade to something with a newer processor and newer hardware. But I still find myself using my old Toshiba 99% of the time. In fact the Lenovo has been sitting on my couch for the last 2 months.

  • This Guy Says:

    Take it from a broke-ass college kid, Toshiba's cheap price is more than offset by cheap construction.

    I've had a Toshiba notebook for four years now, and I'm honest-to-god surprised it's still running. I bought the laptop back in my freshman year of college for $300, not expecting much past a computer that could browse the internet and run word and excel. Somehow, I was still incredibly disappointed.

    The AMD C-50 processor is one of the worst GPUs out there, and I've had the displeasure of waiting minutes for word, excel, and pretty much any other low-impact application to open up. Seriously. I can launch powerpoint, go to the kitchen, make a cup of tea, come back to this laptop, and still watch this thing struggle. Absolutely terrible.

    And it's not just the hardware, either: The laptop came preloaded with all sorts of junk Toshiba software that put a huge strain on what little processing power and memory the laptop had. I ended up doing a fresh install of windows 7 just to get rid of all the stuff Toshiba crammed into this thing.

    As if hardware and software problems weren't enough, about two years ago, even after all the care I'd taken to keep this thing in a softcase so nothing would get damaged, the keyboard and inside surface started peeling up from the body, and I ended up duct taping over the corner and the disc drive just to keep the damn thing together.

    After a four year run with regular usage, this thing is starting to collapse under its own weight. More and more I get to see the BSOD, not because of overclocking or viruses or misuse, but because the laptop can no longer function with only 3 GB of RAM when svchost memory usage spikes while the laptop checks for updates.

    Everything about this laptop screams cheap and useless. I'll be glad to scrap it the day I can afford something, or really anything better. Take it from me: Never, never, never buy a Toshiba.

  • Shera Harvey Says:

    We really like Toshibas so we bought three different laptops at three different price ranges starting in 2012. Every single one has had the monitor go out. Most recently we bought one for our adult daughter, the monitor went blank within a week. Luckily it was soon enough we returned it to the store. This was very difficult and took a couple of days. Store want you to get your computers fixed through the company they almost never replace them. Luckily my husband is a good talker.
    I think that this should be a recall and Toshiba should offer to repair or replace the monitors.

  • CINDY PEEL Says:

    THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE WORST LAPTOP EVER, CANT SEE THE PRINT NO MATTER WHAT THE SETTINGS ARE, THE PRINT IS LIGHT GREY AGAINST A WHITE BACKGROUND, NEVER EVER BUY A TOSHIBA LAPTOP, WILL STICK WITH MY HP BRAND ANY DAY OVER A TOSHIBA, WONT LOAD SOME SITES OR IT TAKES UP TO 15 MINUTES TO LOAD ONE SIGHT , I CAN NOT GIVE THEM ANY STARS ON THIS PIECE OF JUNK........

  • phyllis c. littlejohn Says:

    I have aToshibaSatellite/Satellitge Pro, C50-B Series and wondered why I can't create a new contact? Do you handle such problems?

    I hope you do and await your response.

  • Norma Padgett Says:

    I hate my toshiba laptop. Its of poor quality in my opinion. Not a year after buying it I had to have it worked on because the port where it charges broke off inside. Now less than two years later the hinges are broke where I cannot close it. The tech I took it to say that in his opinion that Toshiba laptops are not made of quality material any longer. The second time he wouldn't even work on it. so now I've got to purchase a new one if I want to take it with me anywhere. so you can bet it will not be a Toshiba!!!!

  • Albert Says:

    Hi,

    Bought my Toshiba Satellite L50 on the 21st of January 2015. I will following describe major quality defects:

    1. Battery: have had to unscrew and screw the battery to flush the power in order to be able to turn it on. Have done that twice.

    2. Chassis: the chassis is way too flexible, not solid. If I try to grab it by the corner where the DVD is located while it's running, the laptop's chassis starts to bend and the DVD starts making weird noises.

    3. DVD not mechanically sealed properly, leaving gaps in between, giving way to dust entering the DVD itself and therefore having to cleaning more than would be normal.

    4. Screen: if you look sideways to the black surface surrounding the screes, it doesn't look like a uniform surface.

    Compared to the HP Presario I had previously, the Toshiba is miles away in terms of quality.

    Won't buy again this brand. And will never buy at Dick Smith either, they fooled me into it just because they want to get rid of it, clearly).

    NOT RECOMMENDED.

  • dr hari Says:

    Beware of buying Toshiba laptops.l bought one .Portege R 930 18 months back had 7 repairs meanwhile.Very unprofessional response from kerala head Mr Ajithkumar and and National Head Digitals Division Mr Govindan Nair.Now starting legal proccedings against them.Seriously dont waste ur money and productivity.Dr.Hari.
    PLEASE SHARE THIS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

  • dr hari Says:

    head Mr Ajithkumar and and National Head Digitals Division Mr Govindan Nair.Now starting legal proccedings against them.Seriously dont waste ur money and productivity.Dr.Hari.
    PLEASE SHARE THIS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

  • A penguin Says:

    i used to have a toshiba laptop. SO SLOW (but its a netbook so all netbooks i have are slow, i considered breaking mine and putting ubuntu on my acer. So far so good on the acer, and i am stashing my toshiba on the basement for kids to see and use. just like my old pc)

  • george fulk Says:

    I bought a Toshiba lap top from Toshiba direct and the battery would not recharge. Once the battery was drained, the computer was dead and I had to send it back. I had spent 8 hrs downloading stuff on to it. It took me 6 phone calls to find out it had to be returned. My advice: don't buy from Toshiba direct.

  • SonicKnuckles1998 Says:

    In 2011, I got a Toshiba Satellite C655 for Christmas. I liked it so much since Windows 7 was so cool! Unfortunately, I would always get adware on it, it would BlueScreen, and one time it would stop responding after 30 seconds! It broke in October of 2013, so I got a Toshiba Satellite C55t-A. I didn't like it as much as the C655 since it had Windows 8 instead of Windows 7. A few months later, I obtained a flash drive which restores Toshiba Satellite C655s to factory settings, so I plugged it in and fixed it. After having 2 computers for 4 months, it broke AGAIN! This time, it was completely broken unless if I spend an arm and a leg trying to fix it again. Meanwhile, my C55t-A was doing terrible. It wouldn't charge up to 100% and it stopped using sound one time. I totally wish I could get an ASUS with Windows 7.

  • Shirley Strait Says:

    I own a Dell and it's a piece of doggy doo. I bought it on Black Friday and one month later it was broken. I have called the company 20 times and they keep sending me to India. I have also complained to The Better Business Bueara and to no avail. If they were the last manufacturer on earth I would never buy a Dell again. They have replaces a key on the keyboard because it just fell off and the computer wasn't even a year old. They also had to replace the hard drive and it's going on the fritz again. Dell won't help or extend my warranty and it has been down more that it has worked. I am so mad I could spit nails and will never buy a Dell again. I've had my Toshiba for 15 years and it's still running like a champ. So I've had a good experience with Toshiba but my Dell can go take a hike.

  • Susan Says:

    I bought the Toshiba L55t-A5290...had less than 6 months and screen cracked. Support said I don't have warranty for that...HELLO ...I have had laptops for years and never had a problem with the screen cracking. I don't know if it was because it is a touchscreen or a flaw design (cracked by hinge) but unless they repair this screen I will never buy Toshiba again....it is not liked I dropped it ...if you buy get a warranty...

  • Luka F Says:

    First thing you have to know is that TOSHIBA Lap Tops are made in China....that is CHINA. I made mistake for ordering and not asking first. Secondly the Toshiba Direct will provide you with no support or very poor support. If your order is late (week or more)_ all they say is "I am sorry". Bottom line is DONT buy China products and don't buy TOSHIBA...I am rejecting mine as we speak.

  • Igbinovia norbert Says:

    I am really interested in having a lap top that can help me pursue my dream of being an IT analyst and aslo an electronic circuit designer,but i have financial challenge in acquiring one of such quality.could you please help me with one for free. I promise to promote your product here in nigeria.

  • CELINE N OKORO Says:

    my laptop goes off once its not on charge. I bought it from Staples in New York three weeks ago please advise

  • CELINE N OKORO Says:

    my laptop goes off once its not on charge. I bought it from Staples in New York three weeks agao please advise

  • Jimmy Says:

    My first Toshiba laptop was the M45-S331 from 2006. The laptop was complete rubbish. It froze every 5 minute or so, even just opening applications. The harddrive went dead after a little usage. Had to swap out harddrive quite a few times. The internal components required some serious repair. I don't think I would ever purchase another laptop made by Toshiba. Yes, it is cheap, but in the long run, the cost and energy to spend on the repairs is not worth it.

  • Red-Bull Says:

    I've had a Toshiba laptop for a lot of years. They are not one of the best that I would recommend but they work pretty well.

  • ES Says:

    As a prior Toshiba Certified Tech, over the years, reimbursement
    for warranty work dropped to non-sustaining level. Parts ordered
    for Business units were delayed, often weeks at a time. Businesses
    ( including Oracle ) using Toshiba were disappointed, and switched
    to Dell. Consumers units were originally repaired within major
    cities, then switched to "send it to Central Repair Depot " at first,
    for free, then later at end user cost. And often lengthy delays.
    No wonder it's slipped way down in ratings. No one at Corporate
    would listen.

  • Sh0ck-Wave Says:

    Toshiba has definately lost the plot in the consumer market. Last year their 'L8xx' series were awesome value'd units with great specs that also 'featured' a terrible keyboard .. anoying, yes, but systems like the L840 02P were cracker all-rounders for the sub $1k market (especially is you dropped in an aftermarket SSD) so you could forgive the poor keyboards. But the current crop of 'P' series are woeful in build, design, and worst of all the keyboards and trackpads have gotten even worse .. so the overall system is simply something you don't 'want' to have.
    That said, the business arm is quite the opposite as Tecra R8xx/R9xx are still the sound investment that Toshiba's have always been. Kind of a shame your review didn't mention the Tecra systems actually.

    From recent meetings I've had with Toshiba reps and managers it sounds like their admitting the consumer arm is dead and are putting all their effort into the business and premium angle. Kira and systems like the Z10t seem to be taking all their innovation resources, but this just means the consumer arm is going to stay with the same crappy problems as the innovation 'bleed' will be slow to trickle down.
    Overall Toshiba consumer laptops need to get back to basics .. good designs, good keyboards and good track-pads.
    I just don't see them getting back up there in the consumer window for at least another year or two.

  • jim bartie Says:

    my toshiba p755 provides little to no assistance for fixing their systems (unless you want to pay for something even before you know anything about it)................i have 3 other systems and the toshiba is down much more than the other three combined...............i am trying the safari system in order to be able to use my laptop......jim