Toshiba Satellite: good deal?
December 25, 2013 8:22 PM   Subscribe

I have a nephew who is thinking of buying a Toshiba Satellite L50.A01Q: 2.40GHz Intel® Core™ i7-4700U Quad Core Processor 15.6" HD Widescreen with TN LED Backlit Display 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD 2GB nVIDIA GeForce GT 740M Graphics. He is 18 and heading off to university, and wants it mainly for typical laptop stuff with some light gaming (skyrim, minecraft). It's $NZ 1280 with a 20% discount, so normally $1600 or so. The deal only lasts one day. My feelings are he could get something as good for cheaper, given that the slick processor isn't gonna be all that useful to him. Is that sensible? Or is it actually an ok deal?
posted by Sebmojo to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
One of the best deals I've been seeing around recently for a laptop with dedicated graphics is the Lenovo y410p/y510p from Don't know if it's available in NZ but that's a price point comparison for you. ~$800 USD.

He might be able to get away without a dedicated graphics card for 'some light gaming' if you're getting a 4th gen i5 or i7, and that would reduce the price a lot OR get him something a whole lot lighter.
posted by ropeladder at 8:36 PM on December 25, 2013

This is a matter of opinion, but I find that at a resolution of only 1366 x 768 on a screen that large, everything looks pixelated and takes up too much space.

I think, at the same price, he'd likely be better off with something with less horsepower, and a nicer (even if smaller) screen.
posted by kickingtheground at 9:19 PM on December 25, 2013

Personally I'd much rather get something with an SSD instead of HDD. I think that's the one thing that clearly makes a big difference in performance no matter what you are doing with the computer.
posted by Dansaman at 9:21 PM on December 25, 2013

and wants it mainly for typical laptop stuff with some light gaming

Oh jesus, you could get something that does that perfectly adequately for 500-600 bucks (I'm Australian, so I'm talking relevant prices to our area, not cheaper US prices).

Teenagers always want the most overcooked solution when it comes to computers, cars, mobiles etc. Check out for cheap laptop deals when posted. Your nephew absolutely doesn't "need" a Laptop like this for the things they need to do. Goodness, you could get a brand new Haswell (latest generation Intel) XPS Dell on the outlet for like 900-1100 bucks.

Do not spend more than 1000 dollars, absolute limit.
posted by smoke at 10:37 PM on December 25, 2013

Because a) you can get something for the price that does that

b) Let's be honest here, teenagers trash/wreck/lose stuff quite frequently.

c) Laptops depreciate in value so quickly it's almost visible - an expensive laptop will be a cheap laptop in 18 months time, so it's not worth it to get one above your needs.
posted by smoke at 10:39 PM on December 25, 2013

c) Laptops depreciate in value so quickly it's almost visible - an expensive laptop will be a cheap laptop in 18 months time, so it's not worth it to get one above your needs.

This really isn't true anymore. High performance graphics doesn't make it down to cheap laptops, 15" screens are still 768p panels on the low end and the performance dividends have really started to decline being replaced with efficiency dividends. A quality 15" laptop with a great 1080p screen, quality GPU, upgradeable memory and an SSD upgrade will last at least three years and won't really be overtaken by lower models.

That being said, 740M is a really poor GPU and this isn't really very good value even discounted as it is.
posted by Talez at 11:06 PM on December 25, 2013

I'd recommend a really nice 13" laptop, as a games console.

I got a Lenovo U310 (old model now) which is light, with 6-8 hours battery life, an a much nicer keyboard and trackpad than a cheaper machine. I decided that I'm actually rarely stretching a computer (most people aren't anymore) and I'd rather watch a progress bar on a giant spreadsheet recalculating for an extra 10 seconds on a nice screen than squint at the blurry results on a quicker machine.

This laptop cost me £400, and an Xbox 360 is under £200 now, my 24" HD computer monitor cost me £110, with a £15 set of speakers.

Suits me great, I wouldn't game on the go anyway, so this way I don't have to lug my gaming setup to a coffee shop with me, and I find the seperation between work and play helpful.
posted by chrispy108 at 3:08 AM on December 26, 2013

We got a cheap-o Toshiba when Husbunny's Mac started acting weird. It's a perfectly fine machine, but I wouldn't pay all that much for it. We paid $450 for ours.

No laptop will hold value and they're getting disposable these days. Buy the cheapest one that does what you want it to do, and no more than that.

I paid more for a Dell so that I could play Sims3 on it. Ask me how many times I actually do that. Yeah. Not so much.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:13 AM on December 26, 2013

I fix computers for a living.

For the sake of whichever of my peers has to fix your nephew's, don't let him buy a Toshiba Satellite. They are horrible things to work on.
posted by flabdablet at 8:39 AM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just purchased a Toshiba S55t with all the goodies you list but more. Don't buy a laptop with that horrible 1366x768 graphics! My Toshiba has i7 CPU, 1TB disk, 16MB memory (twice yours) and an excellent 1920x1080 screen resolution. I paid $ 900 bucks at Costco for it.

Here it is at Costco Online and the online version throwqs in free Microsoft Office Home and Bus.

The only complaint I have is short battery life, but that is to be expected with all that power.
posted by nogero at 3:10 PM on December 26, 2013

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