Toshiba Satellite C670D £400
21st Jun 2011 | 15:29
A powerful desktop replacement laptop with a fantastic screen
Toshiba Satellite C670D review: Overview
While the popularity of slim and portable tablets such as the Apple iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 indicate a swing towards smaller computers, Toshiba is looking to buck the trend with the release of its Satellite C670D. This laptop, as with its stable mate the Toshiba Satellite C670, offers a relatively huge 17.3-inch screen, capable of resolutions up to 1600 x 900.
This isn't a laptop that's concerned with being light – either in terms of weight or power. The Toshiba Satellite C670D has been built to offer the power of a desktop PC in the shape of a laptop. Heavy-duty laptops such as the Dell Adamo XPS can cost up to £800, and you can easily spend up to £2,000 on a laptop if you want the fastest performance possible.
The Toshiba Satellite C670D offers fast, but not cutting edge, components to keep the price towards the lower end of the market range. This is a powerful laptop more along the lines of the Packard Bell EasyNote TS13 and Toshiba's own Satellite C660-1G3.
The trick with these lower-end desktop replacement laptops is to offer excellent performance while making careful design decisions. This ensures that the price is kept down, without making compromises that negatively impact the overall quality of the laptop.
Toshiba has a good track record when it comes to creating laptops that fit these criteria, including the aforementioned Satellite C660-1G3 and the Satellite Pro C660-16N.
Both the specifications and the price look good, but have there been any major corners cut, that aren't readily apparent, to make the Toshiba Satellite C670D an attractive looking purchase? Can the Toshiba Satellite C670D carry on the proud lineage of the Toshiba Satellite range?
Toshiba Satellite C670D review: Specifications
As a desktop replacement laptop with power its main selling point compared to other portable PCs, the specifications of the Toshiba Satellite C670D are incredibly important. Unlike its sister laptop – the Satellite C670 – or its closest competitor – the HP Pavilion DV6-3112sa – the Satellite C670D doesn't run the fantastic Intel Core i3 processor.
Instead it features the newest AMD E-series processor, running dual core at 1.6GHz. Knowing just how well Intel's Core i3 processors perform – especially the second generation Sandy Bridge versions – it's a shame that the Satellite C670D doesn't benefit from the power of these new processors.
That's not to say that the AMD E-series processor is bad, just that it's underpowered compared to Intel. The laptop is bolstered, however, with 4GB DDR3 RAM – a comparatively large amount for a laptop, with the HP Pavilion DV6-3112sa only fitting in 3GB. The large amount of RAM boosts the speed and potential of this laptop, with multitasking in Windows 7 particularly benefiting from the extra power.
One of the most impressive specifications of the Toshiba Satellite C670D is its 17.3-inch screen. Screens of this size are becoming a bit of a rarity these days, with added emphasis being placed on mobility and convenience. The Toshiba Satellite C670D certainly isn't a laptop you can carry around in your bag like the Toshiba NB520-108, but that's not what it has been designed for.
The Toshiba Satellite C670D's large screen offers great media playback, plenty of desktop space for working on multiple documents at once and even gaming. The integrated graphics card lets things down slightly, and will mean that only light games, or ones with their graphics settings turned to low, will be able to run. The same goes for video editing.
The specifications of the Toshiba Satellite C670D state the hard drive capacity as 320GB, although in reality this is actually 300GB divided into two 150GB partitions, with one partition containing Windows 7 Home Premium. This is a nice touch, as you can keep the other partition for storing your personal files, so if you need to reinstall Windows your personal files will remain untouched.
Giving over 150GB to Windows 7 seems a bit excessive, however, and if you have a lot of digital photographs you may find the other 150GB partition will fill up quickly.
The large screen means that the laptop's size is pretty big, and impacts on how portable the machine is. This is a laptop that's more comfortable to use around the house, rather than out and about.
The increased size does have its benefits, however. The amount of space available allows a full sized keyboard to be included. This makes using the keyboard and working on the laptop for long periods of time much more comfortable than when using smaller laptops.
Toshiba Satellite C670D review: Performance
The Toshiba Satellite C670D has some good specifications on paper, but how does it perform in the real world? First impressions of this laptop are pretty good. The laptop boots and loads Windows 7 Home Premium in only a few minutes, enabling you to begin opening documents and running your favourite programs while less powerful laptops would still be starting up.
Start-up speed and general Windows performance is unfortunately compromised by the amount of additional free software that Toshiba has seen fit to include with the Satellite C670D. While some of this software might be found useful, on the whole these extra programs add nothing new, and serve only to take up precious hard drive space and system resources.
Luckily this is only a minor quibble that can be rectified easily by uninstalling the programs you don't want. You can even speed up the process by using PCDecrapifier.com to remove unwanted pre-installed programs. After removing these programs, the increase in performance is noticeable.
The integrated AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics card does well at making the most of the Toshiba Satellite C670D's generous screen size, with movies looking great, helped by the very good contrast ratio of the screen. When it comes to 3D gaming the strain begins to show, with frame rates suffering when more detail and action is displayed.
Processor performance can also be a bit choppy, and the AMD E-350 processor falters where a Core i3 would have flown. For day to day computing, the Toshiba Satellite C670D's performance is absolutely fine, and the RAM keeps multitasking basic programs ticking over nicely. However, when using more complicated programs – especially at the same time – the performance does dip, which can be a frustrating experience.
The size of the laptop of course impacts on how portable the Toshiba Satellite C670D is. At 2.83kg this isn't a lightweight laptop, and certainly is more suited to use around the home. The battery life suffers somewhat from the additional bulk, giving you around four and a half hours of computing time away from a power source.
As you'd expect, the more complex the programs you run, the sharper the battery life falls. If you're on the lookout for a laptop you can take on the road and work on, an Acer Timeline such as the Acer Aspire Timeline X 3820TZ, offers a far longer battery life.
3D Mark: 5620
Battery life: 272 minutes
Toshiba Satellite C670D review: Verdict
The Toshiba Satellite C670D is a good all-round laptop with a mid-range performance. It doesn't really excel in any areas, but neither is it let down by any glaring problems. The size of the laptop means it's going to be more suited to the home than outside, replacing a desktop computer.
The size of the keyboard makes working on the Toshiba Satellite C670D very comfortable. The large screen looks fantastic and offers plenty of space for working on a number of open windows at once. The build quality is great, with the outer shell feeling robust and capable of withstanding a few knocks and bumps. Toshiba has a good reputation for making solid and dependable products, and the Satellite C670D is no exception.
The generous 4GB of RAM gives the Toshiba Satellite C670D a spring in its step, and in some cases helps pick up the slack from some of the more underpowered components. The overall performance won't blow you away, but it's faster than a lot of other laptops, and as long as you keep Windows 7 free from bloated software you're going to be pleased with the results.
We didn't like
While a large keyboard and screen make working on the Toshiba Satellite C670D comfortable, there's no denying that it has a big negative impact on how portable this laptop it. Because of this, you're going to have to make a decision about what you want out of this laptop.
If you want it for working on while sitting on the sofa or at a desk at home, then the size of the Satellite C670D is not going to be too much of a problem. However, if you're looking for a laptop to take outside, then the size and weight of the Toshiba Satellite C670D is going to be an issue.
The price is also a bit too high for what you get, and it almost feels as if you're paying a premium for the Toshiba brand. With a bit of shopping about you can find more powerful laptops for around £50 less, such as the Packard Bell EasyNote TS13-HR-030UK. It's not such a glamorous brand, and the screen isn't as big, but it performs much better than the Toshiba Satellite C670D.
The Toshiba Satellite C670D's power doesn't compare to most desktop PCs, especially those around the same price as this laptop, but it is enough to make this a decent home laptop for working on and surfing the internet. If you want a machine capable of heavy-duty video editing and playing the latest games, then look elsewhere.