Toshiba is a particular case among current big tech vendors in that it never was a small business. While HP started in a wooden garage and Samsung began by selling home-grown vegetables, Toshiba was formed by merging two companies with tradition, Tokyo Denki and Shibaura Engineering, thus starting its life as a medium-sized corporation. It went on to become a bigger and bigger corporation, and it currently is one of the largest in Japan. Nowadays, it produces electronics and electrical equipment, medical equipment, home appliances, computer hardware, and semiconductors (it’s the world’s seventh semiconductor manufacturer), among other things.
Anyway, we’ve spared you the trouble of doing the research yourself and compiled a list of the best Toshiba laptops we could find. Unlike with Apple and Samsung, this is not a very comprehensive list, as the company does have a fair number of models, so we’ve just covered the most representative item of every class. Take a look at what we found:
Best Overall Laptop: Toshiba KIRAbook 13i7S1
As stated above, we believe that this 2015 KIRAbook has the most beautiful design Toshiba can provide. In fact, with its brushed aluminum case, black keyboard and relatively thin screen bezels, as well as its overall elegance, we think this may very well compete with the similar models from Asus and Dell, for instance, and maybe (just maybe) with Samsung. As far as usage is concerned, we believe this is an excellent business/multimedia laptop, as it’s slim, portable, and has a great QHD screen.
Regarding functionality, it doesn’t fare that bad either. You get an i7-5500U, dual-core, four threads, clocked at 2.4GHz, overclocked up to 3GHz, equipped with the integrated video chip Intel HD 5500. It comes with 8GB LPDDR3, as well as the 256GB SSD that we wish became the minimum customary storage for all laptops. At just 18mm and a little over 1.35kg, you can simply slip it into your bag and take it with you wherever you go.
Best Classic Laptop: Toshiba Tecra Z50-C1550
This is one of the very few Toshiba models that have a dedicated graphics card. This makes it fairly suitable for gaming – in spite of it not being amazingly high-powered, it can nonetheless play a couple of the 2014 and even 2015 releases on low or medium settings, which is enough for some casual to medium gaming. It works well for all office applications, as well as any home use.
This Tecra model is powered by an i7-6600U, dual-core, clocked at 2.6GHz, overclocked up to 3.4GHz with Turbo Boost and the integrated graphics card Intel HD 520. The pretty advanced CPU is paired with a Nvidia GeForce 930M, a mid-range discrete graphics card with 2GB GDDR3.
Best Gaming Laptop: Toshiba Satellite P55T-B5262
This is, as far as we’re concerned, the best Toshiba all-rounder model. It works well enough for gaming; not amazingly, but enough for light and medium entertainment. It’s also a great multimedia model, as it has a sweet 4K UHD touch screen, which you can use to watch movies and do some graphic design to your heart’s content. Of course, you can also use it for any and all office-related tasks, though it’d be a shame to use a really good laptop like this for Excel and such. While it doesn’t have the elegant design of the KIRAbook, it nonetheless looks pretty neat itself.
The processor is an i7-4710HQ, clocked at 2.5GHz and up to a nice 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0. The graphics card is an AMD this time, more specifically a Radeon R9 M265X with 2GB GDDR5. It also has 12GB DDR3L RAM @1600MHz, which is totally overpowered for non-gaming applications and just the right amount of medium-level gaming. Overall, this laptop is one of our favorites among Toshiba models.
Best Ultrabook: Toshiba Portege Z20T-C2110
This is one of the best things produced by Toshiba, as far as reviews go. Of course, it’s pretty expensive, but it also has the absolute longest battery life we’ve ever seen on a laptop: over 7 hours un-docked from the keyboard and a stunning 14hours while docked. The keyboard dock itself is a great feature, and it allows the device to be used as a proper tablet, no strings attached, as well as a proper 2-in-1 laptop.
The ultrabook is powered by a dual-core Intel Core M5-6Y57, 1.1 GHz, overclocked up to 2.8GHz turbo, accompanied by an integrated graphics card Intel HD 515. It has a 12.5” FHD touchscreen and a matching stylus pen, 4GB LPDDR3 and a more than sufficient 128GB SSD. With these specs, the Portege Z20T becomes a device you can take with you on seriously long airplane trips without fearing that you’ll run out of battery or things to do with it.
Toshiba attempts to address all areas of the market when it comes to laptops, just as it appears to go for everything that runs on electricity in general. It’s not exactly a bad thing either, but there’s one thing they don’t have, and we wish they did: a gaming laptop. Seriously, there are only two or three Toshiba models that we know have a discrete graphics card and are the least bit optimized for gaming. That’s a shame, really, but it can’t be helped: Samsung and Apple do the same (though Samsung does have a somewhat gaming-ready model). Toshiba also tries to work with all areas of the market when it comes to the budget, but they don’t succeed very well in doing that either. In fact, while their higher-tier models are pretty good value for money and we’re not exactly complaining about them, their lower-end laptops are not particularly worth the money.
As far as the design is concerned, things are the same. The 2015 Kirabook is a real killer (that’s a pun) with its brushed aluminum case and overall sexy appearance, but that’s pretty much it. It’s not that Toshiba laptops are ugly because they’re not, but they’re nothing special either. Same goes for innovation – the only thing we appreciate about these laptops is that the company tried to make them as water-resistant as possible, which is great. In fact, there are a couple of models that let you back up your data and shut down for 3 minutes after you spilled your coffee on the keyboard. They also have pretty good battery life, with one actual 14h record. What’s more, on their higher-end touchscreen laptops you can find a quite satisfying 4K screen and styluses, which have proven to be very useful, according to reviews.
What’s so bad about Toshiba? To begin with, it has completely lame technical support, way too focused on Windows 8.1. Phone support is relatively OK, but the Virtual Help Desk has a bot that gets you more confused the more questions you ask. The warranty has its ups and downs: on the one hand, you’re allowed to upgrade without voiding it, on the other hand, you still have to pay for return shipping, which is not nice when you pay $1500 for your laptop. Software-wise, Toshiba laptops have some nifty utility features, including an eco-utility and security apps. They also have an immense amount of bloatware though, including but not limited to Netflix, Flipboard, eBay, Spotify, and so on. While first-party apps are pretty much what we want from a laptop, third-party ones are completely unnecessary.
To sum it up, Toshiba laptops are good, albeit not great, and will do their job if you need them to. Just don’t buy them for gaming, as you will most likely be utterly disappointed. If on the other hand, you’re a student, teacher, businessman, office worker, or simply someone who wants to read, write, watch movies and play the occasional Candy Crush and whatnot, we believe you can approach Toshiba laptops without any problems. As far as the budget is concerned, there’s no reason to be afraid either, as the company offers plenty of cheap alternatives which work pretty OK, although we have yet to see an FHD screen on a laptop under $500 or so.