- Nvidia 3D Vision display and glasses
- Good general performance
- Affordable price for 3D
- Not enough power for serious 3D gaming
- Weak battery life
- Unimpressive build quality at this price range
The Satellite P755-3DV20 is an easy way to watch 3D movies but weak battery life and lackluster build quality might spoil the deal.
The Toshiba Satellite P755 is part of the P750 series and is designed to strike a balance between a budget 15-inch laptop and a powerful multimedia PC. Is it possible to deliver a great 3D entertainment PC for an affordable price? Keep reading to find out.
Build and Design
There is little to separate the design of the Satellite P755-3DV20 from other Toshiba Satellite notebooks … for better or worse. The entire machine is constructed of relatively thick plastics with rounded edges and corners. The screen lid and top half of the chassis use glossy plastics covered in the Toshiba “Fusion X2 Platinum” finish; essentially a faux metal paint job. Like most Satellite notebooks, the glossy surfaces act like a magnet for fingerprints and dust so your new laptop won’t look clean for very long. Even the keyboard keys are glossy … probably to help CSI figure out which keys you press most frequently.
The notebook also comes with a set of Nvidia 3D Vision glasses so you can watch 3D movies and still photos directly on the screen or a 3D Vision compatible HDTV when connected via HDMI. More on that later.
Build quality of the P755 is reasonably good for a budget 15-inch laptop but this particular model comes with well-equipped hardware and a more expensive price tag. While the supporting chassis structure resists twisting, most of exterior plastics show visible flex when you press down on them. Again, that is normal for a budget laptop but notebooks in the $800+ price range should feel more durable.
The display has a strong backing which prevents any distortion from showing on the screen when pressure is applied to the lid, but the lid plastics do flex inward when you press down. The screen hinges provide adequate resistance although we did notice that the hinges and screen assembly move slightly from side-to-side if you jostle the screen.
Like the Satellite L755 that we previously reviewed, the P755 is simple to upgrade thanks to two access panels on the bottom of the chassis. You can replace the RAM or the hard drive with little effort.
Ports and Features
The P755 includes a reasonable number of ports for a modern multimedia machine. This notebook includes a single USB 3.0 SuperSpeed port, three additional USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and a memory card reader. Although an ExpressCard expansion slot would have been a welcome addition, fewer 15-inch notebooks include them today. The optical drive in this configuration of the P755 is a Blu-ray player and DVD burner that is, of course, also compatible with 3D Blu-ray movies. All picture descriptions are left to right.
Front: Card reader, status lights
Back: Battery pack
Left: Cooling exhaust vent, VGA-out, Ethernet, HDMI, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
Right: Microphone and headphone jacks, 2x USB 2.0, Blu-ray/DVD drive, AC power, Kensington lock slot
Screen and Speakers
The Satellite P755′s 15.6-inch display looks pretty average at first glance. The glossy surface helps deliver good contrast and color saturation but also creates reflections/glare from nearby lights or bright sunlight. The LED backlight is reasonably bright; it’s certainly good enough for indoor use but not quite bright enough to overpower reflections from the sun when you use the laptop outdoors on a bright day. The display in our review sample has a slightly warm or red/orange bias but colors can be adjusted in the graphics driver. Viewing angles are narrow as expected for a TN-type panel like this one; colors wash out quickly when viewed from above and appear inverted when viewed from below.
What makes the 120Hz screen on the P755-3DV20 slightly more appealing than a typical notebook is the inclusion of an Nvidia 3D Vision IR emitter embedded in display bezel and a pair of Nvidia 3D Vision active shutter glasses (rechargeable with included mini USB cable). Simply put on the 3D glasses, the click of a button (or desktop shortcut icon) and you can watch 3D Blu-ray movies, view 3D photos, or play 3D-compatible games.
The Nvidia 3D Vision system works very well in terms of delivering a quality 3D experience. The 3D effect is created by use of the screen’s 120Hz refresh rate and the active shutter 3D glasses which flicker on and off dozens of times a second (faster than can be detected with the human eye) which are synchronized with the frame rate output from a movie or game using the IR emitter built into the screen bezel. The flickering is in time with the alternating left/right monitor output so that the left and right eye only see the appropriate image, thus creating the illusion of 3D.
Although the 3D effect created by active shutter glasses is more convincing than what you see with anaglyph glasses (the old red and blue 3D glasses) active shutter glasses can cause eye strain, headaches, or even seizures for some people. At a refresh rate of 120Hz the flickering is happening outside the range of what the eye can detect, but your eyes and brain are still processing the flickering of the glasses which is why Nvidia includes a legal disclaimer in the box and they recommend that you “Do not play when you are drowsy, fatigued or ill.” and “Do not use the GeForce 3D Vision for extended periods of time.”
On a personal note, I did get headaches and eye fatigue when I used the Nvidia 3D glasses over my regular prescription eye glasses for more than an hour. However, after I had Lasik eye surgery this year I noticed that I stopped having problems using the 3D Vision glasses for extended periods of time.
The two stereo speakers located above the keyboard deliver loud and clear sound and are far better than what you get with most laptop speakers. There is little bass since the P755 doesn’t have a built-in subwoofer, but the frequency range is still good. We’re glad that Toshiba puts the speakers on the top deck of the chassis so that sound is directed up and toward the user … most notebook manufacturers put speakers in the bottom front edge of the chassis which creates muffled audio when the notebook is used as a “laptop.”
Keyboard and Touchpad
The P755 has a nice full-size keyboard with separate numeric keypad. Unlike the cheaper L755 model, this keyboard is a “Chiclet” or island-style keyboard which has added space between each key to help prevent typos. The keys are completely flat and have a glossy surface which shows fingerprints, dust, or anything else you spill on the keys. The keys have a light cushioned feel with quiet key action but key travel (the distance between pressed and un-pressed positions) is very shallow … meaning feedback isn’t great for touch typists. On a happy note the support under the keyboard is very firm and there is no flex under normal typing pressure.
The P755′s touchpad is big with a textured surface providing good traction for fingertips. The two touchpad buttons have a chrome finish which also turns into a mess of fingerprint smudges after light use. The buttons are very loud and produce a “Ca-Chunk” sound when you press them. There is also a LED light bar located above the touchpad to help you locate the touchpad in a dark room and a touchpad on/off button located directly above that for people who want to use an external mouse.
This review is included as part of our 3D Special Report on DesktopRreview.com