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Hands on: Toshiba Satellite P55t

Toshiba’s Satellite is a 4K powerhouse, but not the best choice for travel.

Though you wouldn’t know it from the name, the P55t is not like the hoards of Satellites already made by Toshiba. Why? Because it has a 4K display.

The proliferation of 1080p has raised the bar on quality, but the P55t easily hurtles it into the stratosphere. Pixels are virtually indistinguishable at any reasonable viewing distance, the backlight is bright, and colors are rendered with a vibrancy few laptops can match. Toshiba wisely made the most of the 4K screen with a looping Ultra HD demo reel that looked fabulous.

While there are other laptops available that offer 4K, most of them are Ultrabooks or otherwise built with portability in mind. The P55t, by contrast, is a straightforward 15.6-inch laptop. The chassis doesn’t look much different from previous Satellites and the keyboard, though spacious, is clearly designed for buyers who aren’t concerned about things like key travel and feel.

Performance should be strong. Though the specification sheet we saw yesterday stated the system would have a Core i5 processor, the model we handled on the show floor had a Core i7-4800MQ alongside 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. We didn’t have the chance to run benchmarks, but the specs suggest this Toshiba will be one of 2014’s quickest laptops.

Battery life could be a sore point. The spec sheet states the laptop comes with a 43 watt-hour unit good for only four and a half hours of endurance. That’s not much, but it makes sense because 4K displays consume a lot of juice. A 43Wh battery is barely adequate for a machine with the P55t’s hardware.

Then again, the P55t weighs 5.3 pounds and is over an inch thick, which means it wouldn’t be a great travel companion even with a larger battery. This is clearly a desktop replacement. And thankfully, it has the connectivity for the job, including four USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet and even a Blu-ray drive.

At a glance, then, Toshiba’s 4K Satellite looks like a powerful, robust laptop with an amazing display. The only piece of the puzzle that remains to be placed is price, and unfortunately that information is not yet available. At $1,400 or less the P55t could be a great pick, but we have no idea if it’ll be able to limbo under that price point. 

Highs

  • 4K display
  • Powerful hardware
  • Lots of connectivity and a Blu-ray drive

Lows

  • Short battery life
  • Heavy and thick
  • Price is an open question