Some laptops are designed to be super-thin portable machines that you can carry anywhere, while others are enormous things that belong at home. The Toshiba Satellite L875-10G is one of the latter.
It's a 17.3-inch machine packing an Intel Core i5 processor, an impressive 8GB of RAM and a dedicated AMD Radeon graphics card. It's just begging to be your bedroom media pal, and with a very reasonable price of only £680, it might not be a bad idea to take it up on that offer.
Design and build quality
Need a laptop for carrying around and working on the go? Move along, chum, this isn't the machine for you. With its 17.3-inch screen, the L875 stretches the definitions of portable. It measures a not inconsiderable 413mm across and 268mm deep so you'll struggle to find a shoulder bag big enough to accommodate it.
That's fine because at around 2.7kg, you're unlikely to want to carry it anywhere. Rather than attempt to use it as a portable work machine, the L875 is better sat on your desk as a replacement for a desktop computer. Anchored there, the 17-inch screen can be put to good use playing back all your films and music.
The lid is clad in a brushed aluminium shell that's been given an attractive steel-blue colour. That may or may not appeal, but it's certainly nice to see something other than the usual shades of grey.
The metal offers the benefit of making the laptop seem more premium than if it were simply made of plastic. There's quite a lot of flex in the lid though, so don't think that the metal acts as a suit of armour -- it'll still succumb to a terrible fate if you happen to drop it from a decent height.
Of course, if it's going to spend 95 per cent of its time on your desk or lap while reclining on the sofa, then hardcore durability really isn't a concern. For the job it's designed for, it's built perfectly well.
Around the sides you'll find one USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 slots, Ethernet and HDMI sockets, VGA-out and headphone and microphone jacks.
Keyboard and trackpad
Under the lid you'll find more of that blue brushed metal on the large wrist rest. The keyboard is a standard black plastic affair with square, isolated keys that are well spaced. They're easy to press, which results in a comfortable typing experience with few mistakes.
One annoying aspect though is the half-sized arrow keys. Considering the vast amount of room Toshiba has to play with on the keyboard tray, there's absolutely no excuse for using space-saving arrow keys. If you often use these to scroll through documents or web pages, it's likely you'll find these as irritating as I did.
The trackpad is particularly big and wide, which is good to see, considering the enormous size of the machine. If it were too small, I would most certainly have complained. It's got a rough texture that makes sliding your finger around very easy. It's responsive too, and the large buttons beneath offer a comfortable click, making for a pleasing experience overall. Of course, plugging in a USB mouse would make scrolling easier.
The 17.3-inch screen offers a resolution of 1,600x900 pixels. That's not as much as I'd like to see -- I'd typically want a screen of this size to push for the full 1080p resolution. The L875 arrives with a lower price than many 17-inch models such as Toshiba's own Qosmio X770, which comes in at around £1,500, so it's difficult to judge it too harshly for not pushing the pixel count.
The resolution means that you won't be able to appreciate Full HD YouTube clips in all their glory but it's at least fine with 720p clips. It's bright and bold, so whatever you decide to watch should look pretty good. There's a DVD drive on the side too so you'll be able to make your way through your film collection or spend a weekend watching box-sets.
Pretty standard viewing angles are served up by the display so don't expect to get the best look at Ryan Gosling's lovely face if you're lying on the floor with the laptop on your desk. You probably shouldn't be down there anyway -- get a nice lounger chair or at least recline on your bed.
Inside that blue shell is an Intel Core i5-2450M processor clocked at 2.5GHz, backed by a very healthy 8GB of RAM. That's a nice set of specs so I was hoping for good benchmark results to match.
I booted up the PCMark05 test that looks at a computer's general processor performance and was given a score of 8,921, which I was pretty pleased with. By comparison, the Toshiba Satellite P775 achieved a similar score and costs around £1,000.
I found a similarly good score on the Geekbench test, on which the L875 notched up 7,669. That's comparable to the considerably more expensive MSI GT680 gaming laptop, so it really looks like you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.
During use, I found it to be extremely responsive and the 8GB of RAM makes it excellent for multi-tasking. Indeed, I found that even when I ran numerous programs at once and loaded a whole host of web browser tabs, it was still able to open new windows and browse around the Windows 7 operating system without any signs of lag.
The processor is perfectly capable of handling all office tasks and you'll be able to squeeze some light photo and video editing out of it. Tweaking your holiday snaps in programs like Adobe Lightroom 4 will be no trouble, but don't expect it to be too happy if you try and edit enormous raw image files in Photoshop CS6 -- you'll still need to leave that to the ultra-powered editing rigs.
The L875 also comes with an AMD Radeon HD 7670M graphics card to help you munch through games. To see what it was capable of I ran the 3DMark06 benchmark test and found a score of 8,433, which is very pleasing for a machine of this price. The Toshiba Qosmio X770 achieved over 15,000 on the same test but it costs more than twice as much.
Scores aren't everything though so I installed Batman: Arkham City and sent the caped crusader on his missions, beating up baddies left, right and centre. The L875 reached a rate of around 30 frames per second with an average of around 25fps. That's not enough to keep the truly hardcore gamers happy but it's at least playable, and you can get a slightly better score if you knock the settings down.
The Toshiba Satellite L875 combines excellent performance inside a large and attractive body and doesn't charge the Earth for it. Its lack of a full HD screen is a little disappointing, but considering the price, that's not too surprising. If you're in the market for a desktop replacement laptop to tackle your DVD collection, then the L875 is an excellent model that's worth considering.