So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Toshiba Satellite C660 (PSC1LA-00J001) entry-level notebook
Toshiba Satellite C660 (PSC1LA-00J001): A 15.6in notebook with decent performance, but below-average features
- Relatively light weight
- Build quality
- Only two USB 2.0 ports
- No HDMI
The Toshiba Satellite C660 lacks lots of features and, as such, isn't a great choice for anyone who wants a capable entry-level laptop. The only things going for it are its good performance and relatively light weight. However, there are better models available for the same price from the likes of Dell and Medion.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
The 15.6in, 2.35kg Toshiba Satellite C660 (PSC1LA-00J001) is the type of laptop that's aimed at those of you who are on a budget and want something with good speed. It's a Second Generation Intel Core i3-based laptop, so it can process typical office tasks as well as tougher multimedia tasks with ease. However, it's the not sturdiest unit we've ever tested, and it doesn't offer much in the features department.
The Satellite C660 is quite a bare notebook. It has a decent CPU, runs Windows 7 Home Premium (you can choose from the 32-bit or 64-bit versions when you first boot the notebook), it has a built-in DVD burner and a full-sized keyboard. That's as exciting as it gets. It has a relatively dull 1366x768-resolution screen, it ships with only 2GB of RAM, which is installed in the single memory slot; it has a 5400rpm, 500GB hard drive, and it relies on integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics. You definitely don't get as much for your money as you would from similarly-priced laptops, such as the Medion Akoya E6224, or the Dell Inspiron 15R N5110, for example.
You don't get any modern features such as HDMI or USB 3.0, nor older technology such as Bluetooth. The only video output on the laptop is a VGA port. Furthermore, there are only two USB 2.0 ports, which support Toshiba's Sleep-and-Charge technology.
The only other connections on the base are microphone and headphone ports, an SD card slot and a 10/100 Ethernet port. You also get 802.11n Wi-Fi (it's based on the RTL8188CE chip and it was a little sluggish in our tests) and a webcam. All of the ports are located on the left side of the laptop while the SD card slot is at the front and he DVD burner is on the right side. There are a couple of speakers above the keyboard, but if you want great sound you'll have to plug in some external, amplified speakers.
This lack of features makes the C660 quite light, and at around 2.35kg, it's among the lightest entry-level 15.6in laptops on the Australian market. Its build quality isn't great, which is expected of an inexpensive laptop. The body and the lid are a little creaky, but they don't feel as though they will break easily.
The keyboard is a rattler and it bounces a little as you type. However, it has full-sized keys and a proper number pad. The keys have a dull finish, which means they are unlike the smooth and glossy keys that can be found on higher-end Satellite notebooks. The touchpad is very small (only 84x42mm) and it has large and loud left- and right-click buttons that just make the laptop look cheap.
As for performance, the Satellite C660's Second Generation Intel Core i3-2310M CPU supplies plenty. It has a frequency of 2.1GHz, two cores and Hyper-Threading. In or Blender 3D rendering test, it recorded a time of 57sec, while in our iTunes MP3 encoding test it recorded 1min 07sec. Both results are almost exactly what we expected when compared to other Core i3-2310M notebooks we've seen, such as Dell's Inspiron 15R N5110 and Medion's Akoya E6224. They are faster than what the Satellite C650 recorded, too, which is the model the C660 replaces.
Where the Satellite C660 excelled is in our video transcoding test, in which we use AutoGordianKnot to turn a DVD file into a 1.5GB Xvid file. In this test the C660 returned a time of 1hr 8min, which is 7min faster than the Dell and 5min faster than the Medion. It's 11min faster than the Satellite C650 it replaces. The graphics performance of the C660 is reliant upon the integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics in the CPU and it's quite decent. You could play games such as World of Warcraft or StarCraft2 at low-to-medium detail settings if you wanted to, and you could also run many older car racing games, for example.
Overall though, the Satellite C660 just doesn't give you enough bang for your buck. It doesn't come close to offering the same value for money as other similarly-priced options from Dell and Medion, but even when compared to other more basic notebooks from Samsung, for example, the Satellite fares worse. This has to do with the fact that it only has two USB ports and lacks HDMI. Any 15.6in laptop in this category should have at least three USB 2.0 ports and it should offer HDMI as standard. The only things going for the Satellite C660 are its performance and relatively light weight.
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