The Toshiba Satellite M640 and M645 offer a 14-inch laptop with solid performance and an attractive design at a modest price. As parents and students gear up for the back-to-school season, does the Satellite M640 below at the top of your shopping list? Keep reading to see what we think of this Core i5-equipped model with Nvidia discrete graphics.
Our review unit of the Toshiba Satellite M640 (M645-S4055) comes with the following features:
The Satellite M640/M645 is the latest generation of multimedia notebooks from Toshiba and is designed to offer a perfect balance of performance and style. At first glance, the design of the M645 is pretty traditional with sculpted edges, a mixture of smooth and textured glossy plastics, and some attractive LED accent lighting. The exterior is covered in what Toshiba calls the "Fusion X2 Finish in Charcoal." Personally, I call it black glossy plastic with a textured "chain" pattern imprinted in the surface to help hide fingerprints and dirt. Despite the silly marketing name for the finish, I have to give Toshiba credit here. The textured chain pattern gives you the modern look of the glossy plastics but doesn't look like a horrible magnet for smudges, dirt, or whatever else a student spills on a laptop.
Screen and Speakers
The M645 has a 14-inch diagonal display with LED backlighting and a 16:9 aspect ratio. The overall quality of the display is "very good" within the narrow vertical viewing angle sweet spot. The backlight is even and bright, contrast is sharp and colors are good though the colors are a little warm at the default settings. If there is a single obvious issue it has to be the narrow vertical viewing angles. While the horizontal viewing angles (side view) are nearly flawless, the colors become over exposed when viewed from above and significantly inverted and distorted when viewed from below. If you are using this laptop for color-accurate editing you will need to be certain you're viewing the screen from straight ahead.
The display's 1366x768 resolution is a standard resolution for mainstream notebooks. The horizontal resolution is adequate, however only 768 pixels of vertical space means a good deal of scrolling while surfing the Internet and only enough space to view about one-half of a page in a Microsoft Word.
The full-size keyboard with LED backlighting on the M645 features Chiclet-style keys that are responsive and provide a little extra spacing to prevent typos. The keys are large and flat and have a glossy texture that shows smudges from your skin oils over time. There is no noticeable flex unless you apply significant pressure to the keys in the middle of the board. A individual key presses are quiet with virtually no "click-clack" noise while typing; making it an excellent choice for taking notes in a classroom or office meeting room. The keyboard also features dedicated multimedia keys above the keyboard and dedicated home, end, page up and page down keys.
Ports and Features
The Satellite M645 features a great range of ports--making this laptop one of the more "future proof" 14-inch notebooks we've recently reviewed. You get two USB 2.0 ports and a combo eSATA/USB 2.0 port in case you want to use fast external storage drives. The M645 also features dual video out ports: a VGA connection for old-school projectors and HDMI for new monitors and HDTVs. More importantly, the M645 includes an ExpressCard slot so you can upgrade this laptop with USB 3.0 ports if you need them. All picture descriptions are left to right.
Left side: Kensington Lock slot, two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet and optical drive
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