Attractive textured design; Good performance for the price; Large hard drive; Very loud speakers
Keyboard a bit shallow; Below-average hard drive speeds
The Toshiba Satellite P845-S4200 combines a handsome chassis, loud speakers and solid performance at a great price.
Toshiba's Satellite P845-S4200 thin-and-light laptop is the latest in a series of notebooks sold exclusively through Best Buy that combines an attractive chassis with good performance and a low price. At just $599, this 14-inch system has an alluring aluminum design, third-gen Core i5 processor, and a fairly large hard drive, too. Is this enough to make you rush out and get one?
Weighing 4.2 pounds, the Satellite P845-S4200 is heavier than the 3.7-pound HP Envy 4-1030US, but weighs the same as the Dell Inspiron 14z. The P845 measures 13.7 x 9.2 x 0.95 - 1.1 inches. That makes it slightly smaller than the Inspiron 14z (13.7 x 9.5 x 0.83 inches) but larger than the Envy 4 (13.4 x 9.3 x 0.78 inches). The P845 and Inspiron 14z pack DVD burners, while the Envy 4 does not.
Keyboard and Touchpad
While backlit keys would've been a nice touch, they're not a deal-breaker for a system at this price. We like that Toshiba has reversed the Function row keys, which kept us from having to hold the "Fn" key whenever we wanted to adjust brightness and volume.
After playing a full-screen Hulu video for 15 minutes, the P845's touchpad registered a cool 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The system's underside ran somewhat warm at 88 degrees, but at 82 degrees, the space between the G&H keys was pleasant. We consider anything over 95 degrees to be uncomfortable.
The display on the P845 is also dim. We rated it at 148 lux, which is far below the category average (209 lux) as well as the Inspiron 14z's screen (254 lux). However, the P845 is slightly more luminous than the Envy 4, which scored 142 lux.
However, the speakers on our unit produced a rattling sound on a few occasions, especially at higher volumes. To see if this issue was limited to our system, we visited a local Best Buy and played some YouTube clips and streamed Spotify music. The retail model's speakers barely rattled at all, so we're assuming that there was something wrong with our review sample.
SRS Premium Sound 3D has three presets: Music, Movie and 3D. The Music setting made vocals sound more powerful but de-emphasized instrumentals. The Movie preset provided the most balanced option, fusing vocals and instruments together into the most complete listening experience. The 3D setting made music sound spaced out and decompressed. With the software turned off, music sounded surprisingly clear, though significantly less powerful.
The P845 took 45 seconds to boot Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. While it beat the 52-second category average, the Envy 4 booted the same OS in 31 seconds, and the Inspiron 14z did so in 28 seconds. However, both HP's and Dell's units pair a mechanical hard drive with an SSD cache, while the P845 sports a solo 5,400-rpm mechanical hard drive.
In our File Transfer Test, where we task the machine with copying a 4.97GB folder filled with music, movies and photos, the P845 finished in 3 minutes and 41 seconds. That works out to a 23 MBps average, which is well behind the 39 MBps category average. The Envy 4 and Inspiron 14z didn't approach the average either, but with respective rates of 31 MBps and 30 MBps, both write data significantly faster than the P845.
In our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Test, where the unit matches 20,000 names with their corresponding addresses, the P845 closed the deal in 6 minutes and 6 seconds. That slightly behind the 5:58 category average and longer than the Envy 4's and Inspiron 14z's respective times of 5:51 and 5:47.
In real-world usage, the P845 held up reasonably well. With 10 tabs open in the latest version of Firefox, a full scan going on ZoneAlarm Security while listening to Internet radio in iTunes, we didn't notice any slowdowns. However, when we added five more browser tabs, including a windowed Hulu video, we began to notice some stuttering. Switching between tabs didn't slow the P845 under these conditions, but the Hulu video looked slightly choppy and we noticed some stuttering when scrolling up and down webpages.
The P845 can play "World of Warcraft" at respectable frame rates. With the game set to "Good" at 1366 x 768, the notebook churned out 30 fps. Equipped with the same GPU, the Envy 4 scored 38 fps and the Inspiron 14z and its dedicated GPU returned 64 fps. Keep in mind, though, that we tested the HP and Dell before the "Mists of Pandaria" update, which demands more system resources.
Toshiba only offers one configuration of the Satellite P845, which is sold through Best Buy.
Software and Warranty
Toshiba backs the P845 with a year warranty for parts and labor and one year for the battery. The company offers only 90 days of free support. See how Toshiba fared in our Best & Worst Brands report and Tech Support Showdown.
VerdictHP Envy 4-1030US is currently $749 and a similarly configured Dell Inspiron 14z is $749), while delivering very loud speakers and plenty of space for all of your files. We've used better keyboards, but overall the P845 is quite a bargain.
|CPU||1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U|
|Operating System||MS Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||750GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive|
|Optical Drive||DVD+/-RW/+R DL|
|Optical Drive Speed||8X|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Microphone|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||security lock slot|
|Ports (excluding USB)||RJ-45|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|
|Warranty/Support||1 year for parts, labor and battery|
|Size||13.7 x 9.2 x 0.95 - 1.14 inches|