Keyboard and Touchpad
Once again, little has changed since last year in the design of the A665. You still get the same full-size keyboard with dedicated number pad and 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. Individual key presses are quiet with virtually no “click-clack” noise while typing; making it an excellent choice for writing your term paper in the middle of the night without bothering your roommate.
Toshiba offers other configurations of the A660/A665 with a LED-backlit keyboard so that you can see what you’re typing even in complete darkness. I would have liked to see a backlit keyboard on this notebook, but I can understand the use of a standard keyboard when the street price is less than $800.
The Synaptics touchpad is fairly nice with a matte texture that provides smooth cursor movement. The touchpad driver delivers excellent accuracy and minimal lag with a range of options. This is a multi-touch touchpad with customizable gestures and overall this touchpad works exactly like you want a touchpad to work. However, the touchpad buttons have very shallow feedback with moderately loud clicks when you press the buttons.
Screen and Speakers
The A665-S5176 has a 15.6-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 (216 nits according to our light meter), contrast is reasonably sharp (280:1) 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 1366×768 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. I’m sorry, Toshiba, but in 2011 the minimum resolution for a 15-inch screen should be 1600×900.
The Satellite A665 features harman/kardon branded stereo speakers located just above the keyboard. These speakers provide an excellent range of highs, midtones and lows with surprisingly rich base for a notebook without a dedicated subwoofer. Since these speakers are located above the keyboard they direct sound up and toward the user. The headphone jack also provides a great, static-free connection for external speakers or earphones.