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Review: Toshiba Satellite P875-S7200

Due to a mishap; e.g. my son dropping my Core™ i3 version of the Asus A72F which broke the “I”, “O” and “9” keys. I went out to Best Buy to purchase a new notebook computer for myself, it’s very hard to develop in PHP when your “9” key doesn’t work, no “(“, it gets used a lot while coding!.

Obviously given the title of this article; I plumped for the Toshiba Satellite P875-S7200; which is a very highly specified notebook for the $700 price tag. It features a 3rd generation Core™ i5-3210M processor, 6GB of DDR3-1600 memory, and a 750GB 5400rpm SATA hard disk drive.

The P875-S7200 also features four USB3 ports; an Intel Centrino wireless network chip, so I can connect to my home Wireless N network at 144Mbps; although disappointingly only features a 10/100 Ethernet port. It’s completed by the usual multi-format media card reader on the front, 15 pin VGA and HDMI video out ports and microphone in, headphone out sockets on the right side.

Booting the notebook up for the first time is the same as any new Windows Vista/7 computer; asks for your locale preferences, new username/password and internet connection settings; you’re into Windows within minutes. The P875-7200 comes pre-installed with Norton Internet Security, which comes with a Toshiba branded security center; which proclaims “you are not protected” and offers three months of Norton for free. I declined by immediately uninstalling this piece of bloatware; installing my preferred Anti-Virus, AVG (Free Edition). It also offered a trial version of Microsoft Office 2010, which was also swiftly uninstalled with a whole host of Toshiba branded utilities.

The performance is very good as you’d expect; but despite having a faster third generation Core™ i5-3210M processor and 6GB DDR3-1600 RAM; it didn’t feel much faster in general use than the second generation Core™ i3 330M, 4GB DDR3-1066 RAM notebook it replaced. But in crunching SETI@Home units, it’s much faster, The Core™ i3 notebook completed a unit in an average of 22,309 seconds, while the Core™ i5 completed units in an average time of 14,343 second, a difference of 2hrs 21mins, which is huge, even more impressive as the Toshiba is much cheaper!

The Satellite P875-S7200 features a 17.3in, 1600 x 900 resolution LED-backlit TFT-LCD 16:9 widescreen display, which is bright, offers good colours and a wide viewing angle; and is powered by an integrated Intel® HD graphics chip. The notebook also features Harman Kardon audio, which offers impressive frequency response and volume given the diminutive size of the built-in speakers. But it does have a big downside; the volume limiter/compressor is very intrusive; ruins dynamic music, when volume is maxed out, quiet sections are expanded and loud sections are compressed. Finally, the P875-S7200’s A/V system is completed by a Double-layer DVD±RW optical drive.

The P875-7200 offers 720p (1280 x 720 or 1280 x 800 resolution) HD recording from it’s built in webcam; and a very clear sounding microphone, which is great for high quality video chats over Skype or your chosen Messenger, normally sub $1,000 notebooks don’t come with such high quality hardware, especially in 17.3in (1600 x 900) trim, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this notebook!

The keyboard and touchpad are both very responsive; although I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t have bought this notebook online as the scrabble piece style keyboard didn’t appeal to me after using a traditional laptop keyboard for more than 10 years, but I really like it after actually using the keyboard in-store. The only oddity is the function keys, F1, F2, F3 etc… don’t work unless you press the FN key, the primary functions are media keys, brightness, Wi-Fi om/off etc, to refresh a webpage now, I have to press FN+F5, which is kinda annoying for someone who has always had the F# keys as the primary function, but it’s not a deal breaker, at least not for me!

For $700; I would most definitely recommend this notebook; there are little things like the F# keys not being the primary function and the lack of a Gigabit wired network adapter taints the polish a little but it’s things you’d get used to; most wouldn’t notice the 100mbps speed restriction unless you happen to be transferring very large files around your local network on a regular basis.

Update [October, 13 2012]: Since writing this review; I have done some reading up and found that the Function keys can be assigned to F# as their primary function; you’ll need to run the Toshiba HMSetup application, which you can find in Start -> Toshiba -> Tools & Utilities. Select the keyboard tab; there you can switch between “Special function mode” and “Standard F1 – F12 mode”; after changing the mode; it’ll ask you to reboot and you’ll have standard f# functionality.
Update [February, 6 2013]: I have noticed a potential issue with the P875-S7200; the wireless network adapter tends to stop responding from time to time. It’s happened three times in the last two days, prior to that, it happened about twice a month. I have to either reboot or reset the wireless network adapter; both fixes have the same effect of rebooting the wireless NIC! This doesn’t make the Toshiba a bad buy, it’s more of an annoyance than anything else!

11 thoughts on “Review: Toshiba Satellite P875-S7200

  • manuel commented on November 15, 2012 at 15:54

    thank you for the keyboard advice. I bought the same model from my local dealer here in Mexico City, and is very frustrating when you don’t get the refresh in Opera pressing the F5 key. But now it’s working thanks to you!

  • Goran commented on February 19, 2013 at 22:20

    This unit comes with a 750GB hard disk drive, is there a possibility of building a second “ssd” 128GB hard drive without removing it from the original 750gb? Thank you in advance for your response.

  • Yes, the P875-S7200 does have a secondary hard disc bay; just unscrew the bottom trap door panel and insert; although I’d think you’ll need to switch the drives; e.g. move the existing HDD to the secondary bay and install the SSD in the primary bay

  • Goran commented on February 20, 2013 at 10:36

    Thanks a lot Jason, I just have one more question, which model blu ray burner to search for this device?

  • As far as I know; there is no Blu-ray burner option in this line of notebooks; but you could always buy an external Blu-ray burner, anything USB2 or USB3 interfaced will work; check out Amazon.com; they have a selection of Blu-ray burners for less than $100.

  • Goran commented on February 20, 2013 at 10:45

    ok thanks for the quick reply, I know that there are lots of models of p-875 and I thought I could fit in with a blu ray … thanks again!

  • Cal commented on June 19, 2013 at 08:04

    When I purchased the Toshiba Satellite P875-S7200 laptop I was told part of the hard drive was used to store the restore Windows 7 files. How do I access them to reinstall Windows 7?

    Thank you,

    Cal

  • Robert commented on July 26, 2013 at 05:29

    Hi there!

    I’m considering ordering this laptop.

    What is the track pad like? I prefer a glassy smooth pad if possible. I definitely don’t like the heavily textured pads.

    Thanks for any details you can offer!

    Robert

  • Hi Robert,

    The trackpad is smooth but the buttons are integrated into the trackpad, which can be somewhat of a pain, often when you ‘click’ it will move off the position where you clicked because the buttons are part of the trackpad itself, if you use tap to click, it’ll probably be fine. I personally use a mouse to avoid this frustration whenever possible!

  • Goran commented on November 9, 2013 at 19:00

    I use a toshiba P875-S7200 about 1 year and it’s all good , but I recently heard a strange sound from the dvd drive as it occasionally lost from the system and find it again and so on …
    I need to mention that all the time in drive does not have a CD, and when I throw in sometimes trying to load it and sometimes not, so I restart the system, then try again and then load cd/dvd normaly…
    Does anyone have any idea what could be the problem?
    Installed system was Windows 8, and I went back to windows 7 thinking I would solve the problem, but it’s all the same.
    Please help if you know what that could be.
    Thank You.
    Goran

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