on March 18, 2013
I've had the computer for a little less than a week, but am very pleased with it. (See below for how to fix the scroll bar problem if you encounter it.)
The display looks great, and it has all the peripherals you could need (including usb 3.0).
It has a separate numerical keypad, which I find great because it's much easier when doing anything involving typing lots of numbers, and even though some complain that having that addition requires the computer to be too big or the other keys too small, that is not the case. At 15.6" it is still a compact enough size and does not weigh much.
The tile keyboard is great (not back lit if that is a concern for you, but the screen provides enough light to see the keys). The sounds is fine, not expecting anything mind blowing from a laptop.
The quad processor is more than capable of handling what you can throw at it, as well is the 8gb of ram installed. It is a computer built to handle heavy gaming, and if you're not into that, then don't worry at all about it having enough power for you. Oh, and the 1tb hard drive makes sure you won't run out of storage space.
The battery life seems fine so far, somewhere around 4 hours.
I'm a big fan of the brushed aluminum. The computer stays cool to the touch and is well suited to stand up to some abuse.
The biggest problem people will have is getting used to Windows 8 if they haven't used it before. Honestly, I was skeptical, but after a day of tinkering around with the start/tile screen to get it to my liking and figuring out the shortcuts (for instance, hovering your mouse in the lower left corner from the desktop screen gives you settings,search,power, and share options; also right clicking on the live tile screen gives you the option to look at all apps, because if you install a program, that is how you will be able to access it and pin it to your taskbar) I am fine with it. Windows 8 is pretty customizable, and that is a plus.
***The only issue I ran into was that the scroll bar did not work on the mouse pad at first. This turned out to be an easy fix though, and if you are having that problem, hopefully you read this before losing your mind.
*All internet advice says to update or uninstall/reinstall the driver. Won't work. It's not a driver issue. The problem is that the scrolling simply was not enabled.
*Simply show the hidden icons on the desktop task bar, and double click on the Synaptics pointing device icon.
*Go to the Device Settings tab --> click Settings... --> check the Scrolling box (not done yet though, so keep reading) --> the next step is to click Scrolling so that it is higlighted, then click on the settings button (looks like 2 gears) --> check 'Enable Vertical Scrolling' and 'Enable Horizontal Scrolling'.
make sure that you hit okay and apply on every screen, and that's it. Told you it was simple.
That was my only complaint about the computer, and once I fixed it I have absolutely none. It is a great computer from a great brand and you will be very pleased if you get it.
on April 16, 2013
I am a computer science student so I am pretty well versed when it comes to computers. I know my hardware, can write operating systems, and am constantly programming. I began searching for laptops because I needed a more powerful one. I play a few games so I also wanted something able to power through some graphics. This laptop has pretty amazing specs, especially for the price. Windows 8 is pretty intuitive once you get used to it, so don't let that defer you from getting this laptop. The operating system that it comes with is 64bit. The quad core amd and radeon graphics card can crunch through just about anything. Plenty of RAM, plus it is up-gradable to 16gigs if you desire. The hard disk is the only thing that can slow some operations down, but at this time solid state is a little too pricey. I would have loved to have a back-lit keyboard, however for the price and specs I wasn't going to let that be the reason I did not buy this laptop. I researched laptops for weeks and this turned up to be the best; and at a very reasonable price. I would most assuredly recommend this laptop.
on May 10, 2013
It's all about the A10 Vision powering this thing. Right now, this is AMD's most powerful mobile APU. But with the A10, you need to know what you are getting: a chipset with a lot of graphic power for the price, but one that cannot come close to competing with Intel in computing power.
So, if you want a cheap gaming laptop (meaning integrated and not discrete graphics), an A10-powered laptop is your best choice. You can toss darn near any game that leans more on the GPU and not the CPU at this thing, and it will do just fine. The Intel HD3000 and HD4000 graphics cannot compare. But if you need something that puts a heavy burden on the CPU, you need to look at Intel. I specifically wanted a cheap gaming laptop, and combined with the decent sound and 8GB of memory on this model, I got exactly what I wanted.
So why only three stars? Simple: fit and finish, the devil's in the details. Although the Chiclet keyboard on this laptop is supposed to be better than the even cheaper A6/A8 Toshiba models (which I've owned), it isn't, and it doesn't help that the left shift key on the laptop I got is flaky. I hate the spacing of the two USB 3.0 ports; they're right up where right-handed mouse users are going to be working, so if you've got a big USB stick coming out of thing it's going to get in the way. The A10 runs hotter than the earlier A6's I've owned. I'll even gripe about the button that pops out the DVD tray; it's practically flush with the unit and unresponsive to all but the most enthusiastic presses.
But otherwise: look, I wouldn't have picked this thing up for the retail of $600+ (I'd have soldiered along with my earlier A6 Toshiba, which for $400 was a great bargain), but Amazon knocked it down to a little under $500, so I'm happy with it. If you go with this laptop, know its strengths (best integrated graphics in the market) and weaknesses (pure CPU power).
One final thing: Windows 8 is terrible. Fortunately, Toshiba still has the full complement of Windows 7 drivers on its site, so with an evening's work you can scrub Win8 off the thing and get Windows 7 on there.
on April 23, 2013
I see a lot of other reviews here that do a good job of pointing out the pros and cons of this laptop, so I'll try not to duplicate them.
I received the laptop yesterday, and I'm totally thrilled with the features and performance!!
I'm pleasantly surprised by how cool the laptop runs and the feel of the keyboard. It does a fantastic job of venting the heat out the side of the laptop - you can sit this comfortably on your lap for hours. The keyboard is soft and responsive - very comfortable to type on - and even includes a dedicated numeric keypad (which I tend to use frequently). Normally when I use a laptop, I'll plug in a USB keyboard when I need to do some number-crunching. I don't need one on the Toshiba.
At this price, I expected some things to be skimped on. Toshiba really didn't cut any corners, this is a quality laptop. Even the tiniest details, such as having USB ports on both sides of the laptop.
I'm not thrilled with Windows 8, but that's not Toshiba's fault. First thing I did after going through the initial setup was to install Classic Shell, a free application that gives you the look and feel of Windows 7. That takes care of most of the complaints I have with Windows 8, but it's easy to accidentally bring up the Windows 8 shell. Eventually, Microsoft plans on releasing Windows 8.1, which is supposed to give you the option of a Windows 7 shell. I'm hoping that's a free upgrade from Windows 8.
I don't like the touchpad mouse much, but I haven't met a touchpad I like. It's no worse than any other laptop, I just don't like them. I'll likely get a trackball to plug in for when I'm sitting at a desk.
The webcam and sound are excellent for videoconferencing, and fairly good for music playback and watching movies. It would be hard to find much better sound on a laptop, but I prefer more bass for music and movies, so I plug in headphones for media playback. Conveniently, the headphone and microphone jacks are located at the very front of the right side of the laptop.
Given the performance, the design quality and the price, you really can't go wrong with this laptop.
on April 19, 2013
Ordered this Toshiba laptop from Amazon on Tuesday and received it the next afternoon in full and perfect condition (as usual, thanks Amazon!). Only into my 3rd day, but must say I like this laptop (expected) and Windows 8 (surprised about that).
Start/set-up was automatic, fast and easy. After getting up and running Norton did inform me of a new video driver and provided the link to the AMD site to download. It installed without issue. Windows didn't pick up my wireless printer, which I had to manually install through port selection. I decided to try the 1 month trial of Office365 and activated that as well. This laptop is fast and the display is bright, sharp, and with good color. I tried viewing some Netflix movies and the picture has no bleeding or flicker, and the sound from the speakers is much better than expected. I'm not a gamer, but this processor/graphics system is fast, and the provided 8 GB of RAM insures it doesn't bog down. Excellent performance for this price point. Note: I paid $499 but see the price does rise and fall...
I took a few minutes to register with Toshiba and received their free e-copy of Windows 8 for Dummies, which is useful. This is my first time touching Windows 8 so I must admit it took a little while to understand what was going on, and why. After several hours (about six altogether) I felt acclimated and had things pretty well set up.
I hated Windows 8 for about four of those six hours, now I like it a lot. First, I learned the start screen niceties - adding/removing Apps, pinning websites, arranging tiles, screen (and edge of screen) geography, opening/closing files. Also how to access the control panel and standard desktop workspace. Two other things that helped with using Windows8 a lot were - downloading the "Cheat Keys and Tips" App that gives you a lot of information on shortcuts and commands, and going to the Synaptics touchpad set-up in Control Panel, and learning how it's features allow you to use the touchpad as a surrogate to a touchscreen.
The laptop itself feels solid and well put together, and it runs cool and quiet - I do have two items of concern: 1) the mouse-pad buttons are near identical to my last Toshiba laptop and I'm not convinced they're mechanically durable - the left button on my last system became loose underneath on the left side and would misalign the entire button. 2) the "piano black" bezel around the screen is flimsy and cheap looking and appears to be snapped in place with plastic pop rivets.
Overall, I'm more than satisfied with this purchase. I feel this laptop offers great bang for the buck in a package that's overall very nicely put together and easy to use. I'm an older guy, and was able to learn Windows 8 fairly easily and with minimal cursing. Now I quite like it and feel it's quite similar to using my Android and Apple smartphones.
on April 20, 2013
This rig will do a great job in most use cases. It's got a good amount of RAM, a decent processor with good graphics performance, and lots of storage space. Windows 8 has it's foibles (mainly the lack of a start button, but there are plenty of good replacements out there), but it brings a lot of good stuff to the table too over Windows 7, and I am pleased with it.
Video performance is fine when playing Youtube @ 720p, but there is minor, intermittent stuttering at 1080p over HDMI. Of course, that's irrelevant to most people; even I only did it as a test of the A10.
For people seeking a general PC, a PC to do lighter gaming, or an HTPC, this is an excellent choice. The A10 isn't bringing serious muscle to the table, however, and if you're wanting to play games that require muscle, find something with a discreet video card.
In the Windows Experience index, the lowest scoring component of this machine is it's hard drive, which is no surprise since it's a slow spinner. I didn't have any issues with general performance, but if you're looking to upgrade this machine, that's the component you'd want to target, either with an SSD or a faster (and probably smaller) HDD.
I purchased this machine for my daughter as a general PC that she could do light gaming and some HTPC on, but primarily for her school work.
on June 1, 2013
Update 2: Toshiba Did replace the Laptop, but I wasn't about to pay them to save the files on there. Luckily I was able to get to a command prompt window and copy all my files over to a jump drive to get to another machine. It has been over two years since It died and I haven't had any problems since. I just updated to Windows 10 and it handles it like a champ. Overall I am happy with this purchase, but probably wouldn't buy the same one again.
Update: this laptop died on me yesterday. It has been 3 months since I bought it. 3 months! It started freezing up about a week ago. Now it is stuck in an automatic repair loop and cant come out. I think the ram is bad. Could have to do with the memory dump issue that I mentioned in my first review. So I called toshiba today and they acknowledged that it was a hardware issue. But wanted me to pay over $150 to try and save my files because they said that was a software issue. Only problem is that their faulty hardware caused the "software issue" I feel like they should have the decency to at least give me that. I realize I should have backed up my stuff, but I was still saving for an external hard drive after buying this garbage. If I could do it again I would avoid toshiba and their lousy customer loyalty.
My first review is below when the computer was actually working for me if you care to read:
I have had this laptop for a little over a month now and it works great!
It does everything I want it to do. Windows 8 really isn't as bad as everyone is making it sound. Granted I don't really use the start screen much, but it is simple to use when I need to. Don't let that deter you at all. Plus windows is coming out with a free update soon to make it more like windows 7, because 8 was designed more with a touch screen /tablet in mind. But it still works fine without that.
I run ArcMap all the time, which is a very consuming GIS program, but I haven't had any problems with it at all and startup has been faster than I am used to for that program.
A few things I dislike are that the touchpad is oddly sensitive at times and does things I don't want it to, but it isn't that big of a deal. Also it has been having this memory dump problem when I close it while it is still running, which makes opening it up take a little longer, but these are really small things overall, especially when considering the price of this machine.
It has been very durable so far. I fell asleep watching netflix twice and it fell of my bed in my sleep each time as I moved around. It is still doing great and I am using it to write the review right now. So it seems pretty durable.
I also like the touch and feel of the keyboard. Really glad I bought this.
on May 11, 2013
This is an excellent laptop for the price, bought it because for the price range it was one of the few that had both 8GB RAM and a 1TB drive. I have had it about a month now and am loving it still. It's snappy startup time and large drive space has it as my present media center. I've run games like StarCraft 2 and Sim City with no video quality issues, despite it being a non-dedicated video card. The full keyboard including keypad is also nice, however if you are used to using several laptops (work and home) in a day like I am, this slightly different spacing can make an awkward 2-3 seconds as your muscle memory readjusts to the different layout. It doesn't get the full 5 stars for 2 reasons:
1. I wish the video resolution could be higher (1366x768 is the max), while the resolution allows Windows 8 snap view, the text on screen just looks a little big to me still.
2. I am experiencing periods of system freezing where Task Manager shows there is disk activity at maximum capacity, so videos and actions like right clicking sometimes bring freezes to the video. Chkdsk and running system tools to verify disk haven't led to any fixes to the issue. However I haven't isolated this as not being a Windows software issue, so I can't yet blame the Toshiba hardware itself as the issue. I wish there was a built-in Toshiba tool or built in feature to support diagnosing what's going on.
on May 6, 2013
When I purchased this, I was able to get it for $499 which was a steal. 8gb RAM, 1 TB HDD, 2.3 (upto 3.2 depending on process) ghz quad core. The laptop is able to handle everything. Windows 8 was a bit of a pain to learn, but once done, it makes things SO much simpler. Now, I would like to actually review the laptop.
-Price: For the hardware in the machine, it was a hell of a deal
-Specs: 8gb, and a 2.3 quad core processor can handle everything
-Size: 15.6" screen seems PERFECT for a laptop, I have looked at ones that were 14" and 17". 15.6" really seems perfect.
-Sound: While watching a movie, or listening to music the sound was incredible for laptop speakers.
-Quality: The laptop was very well built. The keys are nice, with them being a little raised, its a lot easier to type, and have a num-pad as well is very convenient.
-Graphics: As long as you are not trying to play games on max settings, its runs very smooth. Some games came pre installed with the computer, and was able to run them with no problem on decent settings, Also access to the "Store" in windows 8 (much like the Play Store, or App Store or phones) makes getting games and trying them out easy as can be.
-Quality: While the keyboards very nice, the bezel around the screen seems like it could very easily break, also the SD slow has no cover, I figured one would so that dust, etc. could not get in, sadly not the case.
-Touchpad: While being able to pinch and zoom is nice, the touchpad is a bit of a pain (but I personally have never liked touchpads). While trying to setup the start screen it kept zooming in and out, but after a while you can tweak with it, and make it to your liking.
-Windows 8: While once you learn it, its great, it would have been nice had they given you some kind of instructional video, or demo when setting it up, There was nothing. You got stuck with this big wall of Start and unless you look up yourself, or are a little Tech Savvy, you are going to have some problems (This is not as issue about the laptop at all, but Windows)
Overall: I think the laptop is amazing. Its able to handle everything I throw at it. Light gaming, working, using it for misc. uses. If looking to upgrade your computer, I would highly recommend it. I searched for a while before I decided with this one, and saw the price go up and down from $400-$600. I dont see the computer needing to be upgraded anytime soon, and having a USB port to charge devices while the computer off is great. If you decide to get one of these, you will not regret it, and will love the decision.
on September 2, 2013
I bought this laptop as a long-term Toshiba customer, having used one of their netbooks for close to two years. The laptop itself functions well but it was evident it was made of delicate, inferior plastics. I had a Acer Travelmate for a long time and it took a heck of a beating without issues.
How would you close your laptop lid, and how much force would you use? The laptop was in use everyday (and still is), I reached over, grasped the top of the lid and pulled it shut. The next time I open it I see the LCD panel has cracked, not on the surface, but 'inside'. The display is broken.
I called Toshiba Customer Service, only to reach this person who after gathering details of what happened, verbally, was able to determine without batting an eyelid that the warranty doesn't apply. I tried explaining that the device has broken within bounds of what would be 'normal use', i.e., opening and closing a laptop's lid. No use. "The warranty doesn't apply". All the while with their fawning, "can I call you by your first name? How may I help you? blah blah" BS.
Toshiba will not stand behind their product. It is for good reason because it is flimsy, lightweight and has inferior components. Do not buy this product. Do not buy Toshiba as they are happy to take your money and leave you high and dry.