The Toshiba Satellite C855 has a 15.6in screen of 1,366 x 768 resolution. Performance is solid, but still subject to the limitations of most budget laptops. There's loss of brightness when viewed from an off-axis horizontal angle of around 30 degrees or more, contrast shift is apparent when the screen is tilted back and colours are not all that vivid.
It uses a glossy finish, which is problematic if you want to use the laptop outside, but in its favour maximum brightness is decent for a cheaper model.
The Toshiba Satellite C855's entry to the market is a little ill-timed - just as the next-generation of Intel processors is being rolled-out. Instead of using the latest Ivy Bridge chipset, this laptop is stuck with last year's Sandy Bridge model, running a 2.5GHz Core i3-2350M.
In our tests, it came out with a respectable score given its CPU thanks to its 6GB of RAM - where most at the price will offer 4GB. However, its 500GB hard drive still spins at the bog-standard speed of 5,400rpm.
Although it's ageing rapidly, the Core i3 processor here is more than capable enough for all basic day-to-day tasks including HD video and keeping a fistful of applications open at once. If gaming is a concern, though, you're much better off seeking out either a laptop with a dedicated graphics card or a next-gen chipset model - whether packing Intel Ivy Bridge or AMD Triton. The integrated HD 3000 graphic chipset used here can handle basic games, but struggles with anything more challenging. It managed 44.7fps in our Trackmania test.
Toshiba claims that the 4200mAh battery of the Satellite C855 will last for up to five and a half hours, and according to our test they're spot-on. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disabled and brightness set to 40 per cent, it lasted for five hours 39 minutes. This is above average, outlasting the Acer Aspire 5750, but is roughly matched by the Samsung Series 3 and soundly beaten by the HP DM4 - if you're willing to spend a little more.
Right now, the Toshiba Satellite C855 fares pretty well on a performance-per-pound basis, but once more entry-level Ivy Bridge laptops start appearing within the next few months, it'll start looking pretty slow. Battery life is decent and the design doesn't make any series mis-steps, but the keyboard and internal speakers are poor. For an at-home solution, we'd tend to pick the Samsung Series 3 over this for its better keyboard. And for out-and-about use the Acer Acer Aspire Timeline U M3 is a much better choice - its performance may be slightly worse, but it offers much greater portability and higher battery life.
The Toshiba Satellite C855 is a solid-but-uninspiring laptop. Its design is inoffensive but unlikely to excite and build quality is a little patchy. What turns us off the most, though, is the mediocre keyboard. The C855 has enough power for most casual tasks, but it's not the best if you're going to be doing a lot of typing.