Skip to main content

See also:

Toshiba Satellite Laptop Review C855D-S5303

Start Menu + Sidebar
Start Menu + Sidebar
Vasanth Simon

Windows 8 Laptop Featuring New Start Menu

The Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5303 laptop runs on an AMD processor and graphics engine and features a 320 GB hard drive, 2 GB of memory, and a HD LED backlit display. It comes with Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10. The following review highlights the features and describes how well this laptop functions.

Appearance

The 15.6 inch widescreen laptop sits comfortably and isn't too heavy. With the screen closed, the laptop is thin and easily carried from one place to another. The keys are soft to the touch and spaced well, which makes typing a long article easy.

Noise

The Toshiba Satellite laptop is very quiet. When powering it on, the laptop hardly makes any noise, and the soft keyboard keys make very little noise when pressed. The only time when this laptop is loud is when a CD or DVD is played in the disc drive.

The Desktop is Replaced with a New Start Menu in Windows 8 + Tiles and Internet Explorer 10

The Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5303 features Windows 8, which doesn't have the same start menu as previous Windows computers. The new start menu features tiles which represent different app such as internet explorer, calendar, messaging, and others. Each tile is vividly colored and large on the screen. They opens with a single click. The start menu appears when the computer starts up and is accessible in any app by pressing the start icon on the keyboard. You can easily scroll across the start menu to view all the tiles.

The desktop is accessible from the start menu. It is similar to the desktop on previous Windows operating systems. Files are accessible through the Libraries icon located on the taskbar. Internet explorer 10 has a similar interface to previous versions, when launched from the desktop. The Internet Explorer 10 app on the start menu has an upgraded interface that looks great. It is different from the desktop version, so it may take a while to become familiar with it. Many of the features of the browser are hidden from the screen, such as tabs and favorites. Tabs are accessible by right-clicking the screen, while favorites pop-up when the cursor is placed inside the address bar, which is now on the bottom of the screen. The back and forward web page navigation arrows appear at either ends of the screen when the cursor is placed there.

Toshiba Apps

This Toshiba laptop has several apps pre-installed including Book Place, iCookBook, NewsPlace, Encyclopedia Britannica, and several more. Most are detailed and deigned well. Some may require a subscription to access the full content.

Single-Letter Search for Apps, Settings, and Files

From the Start Menu, you can access any app by simply typing a single letter key. This will bring up a search box with a list of apps, settings, and files. For example, if you want to find and open Notepad, press N from the Start Menu and a list of apps and files beginning with N will appear. Searching for apps and files from the start menu is quick this way. In the Internet Explorer 10 app and other programs, files on the computer are uploaded or opened using drop down menus from a Find screen.

Off-Screen Options

Many of the computer settings and features of apps are not visible on the screen. They are hidden off the screen, usually to the right or top of the screen. Right-clicking on screen corners and hovering past the screen isn't a very obvious way to access these features. The Start Menu features five options to the right of the screen including the Settings option which features the volume, Wi-Fi, screen brightness, and power settings. At the upper left of the Start menu are small windows of open programs. These become visible when you mouse over the corner. You can close the programs here, if you remember to mouse over the corner before turning the computer off.

Battery Life

The battery runs about three hours before a notification alerts you to start recharging it. It's probably best to keep the laptop plugged in while using it, if there is an outlet nearby.

Overall

The Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5303 laptop is a well-made laptop that is quiet, fast, and easy to carry around. The new Start menu for Windows 8 looks goods, especially the tile design, and the accessibility of the apps and files is convenient. Navigating on the screen, however, may not be that obvious and takes some time before it is familiar. If the new design, internet browsing experience, and simplified file searching becomes overwhelming, you can easily switch back to the desktop mode. After more than a year of use, this laptop is still running smoothly.

Update - Windows 8.1 with new Internet Explorer 11 App

The Windows 8.1 update has been available for several months now. After upgrading, the biggest difference is the addition of a few new onscreen options including search and power icons, as well as a taskbar that appears at the bottom of the start screen when the cursor is placed there. A new start icon has also been added to the taskbar. One-letter search has been changed to display relevant files and apps in the sidebar. It is much slower now. Newly installed apps are easily accessible below the start screen with the click of an arrow.

Many off the apps have been updated, included Internet Explorer 11. In the new web browser app, tabs are placed visibly above the address bar at the bottom of the screen. There is a new Read view, which displays web content in a left to right orientation. When uploading files, a 'This PC' screen opens up and displays the files on the computer.

Unlike Windows 8, the latest version boots up to the desktop, instead of the tile-filled start screen, and opened apps are displayed in the taskbar for easy access. These updates have made Windows 8.1 more desktop-oriented.

For more info about this laptop:
Support Link