A few weeks ago, I was asked if I wanted to get some products from Staples to write about. Sure, I said, thinking it would be a box of paper or a crate of paper clips or an assortment of binders. Traditionally, when I thought about Staples, visions of boring office supplies came to mind. How wrong I was. While they do have all of the necessary essentials to keep your business or home office running, they also stock a wide variety of other products that are a bit more exciting, at least to me. Think furniture, HDTVs, Coffee Makers and even eco-conscious categorized products. As luck would have it, one of the items I was offered to write about was a Toshiba laptop. Who could say “no” to that type of a product offer?
Obviously, I’m no strangers to technology in the family. All members of my family (with the exception of my dog) have smartphones and access to tablets (my kids tend to stick to their iPhones though). We also have numerous laptops and netbooks available for fun and homework, but there is often a land-grab when it comes to who gets what laptop. And since my youngest daughter’s homework requirements don’t typically require much computer time, she has been trudging along without her “own” laptop. The netbook she had was a bit “too small and slow” according to her. So, when I received the Toshiba laptop courtesy of Staples, I made sure that I set it up with my youngest in mind.
And I was simply amazed at what transpired after that!
The Toshiba C855D-S5196 laptop arrived quickly in Staples packaging. When I opened the box, it wasn’t the laptop that actually got my kids’ attention at first, it was the big red button that had the word “easy” written across it. That red button disappeared into my kids’ room and I kept hearing the voice “that was easy” over and over again.
While my kids amused themselves, countlessly pushing the button, I headed off to set up this new Toshiba laptop. Now this article is not a review of the Toshiba per se but I do think that it is important to provide a little bit of information about it. For starters, the price point at Staples was quite reasonable for an entry-level Windows 8 laptop. At $399 (I think it was actually $100 off a week or so ago), this is an extremely affordable computer for kids or students or for families on a tight budget. While I tend to gravitate towards higher-end laptops and computers, I do feel that this Toshiba had enough power, storage and features to make it a great laptop for any family environment.
Here are some specs of the Toshiba C855D-S5196 laptop:
- AMD Dual-Core E1-120 1.4 GHz 1MB Accelerated Cache processor – whew, that’s long, but what it translates to is that the CPU is responsive enough to handle a variety of tasks from playing games to watching movies. Note, it’s not a hard-core gaming machine but for a child of 9 years, it’s more than adequate!
- 4GB DDR3 1066 MHz RAM – I believe this is the bare minimum that any computer should have in terms of memory. The nice thing is, the RAM can be upgraded to 16 GBs!
- 500 GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive – this is a good entry-level size. If this is going to be your primary machine, you may want to get an external hard drive (Staples sells them). I haven’t investigated into whether the HD can be upgraded or not.
- 15.6″ diagonal TFT display with 1366×768 native resolution – I liked the screen size. It is a bit wider than most to handle HD formats. It’s definitely bright and crisp!
- Windows 8 – it comes with Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest OS. Windows 8 is relatively new to me but my daughter seemed to figure it out pretty darn quickly.
- USB 2.0 – it comes with 3 USB 2.0 ports
- About 5.5 lbs – it’s a bit heavy and this depends on the battery you have in it. Good for keeping on a desk or just moving around the house.
- Battery – 6 cell/48Wh Lithium Ion battery which seems to last about 3 hours.
- HD Webcam w/ mic – always good to have a webcam!
- Stereo speakers, Media Card Reader, WiFi – all the required items. Do note, it doesn’t come with Bluetooth though.
- Optical Drive – there is a drive that supports over 11 formats and can record as well (think DVD and CD compatibility)
Not too shabby for a $399 laptop (that includes free shipping from Staples).
But let me circle back to what a tool like this can do for a young, excited, energetic mind. I had barely configured the Toshiba (and set up Microsoft Family Safety which is a free service that I highly recommend if you will have kids using this laptop – regulates sites they can visit, time they can spend on the computer, applications they can use and you can monitor their activity as well), when my daughter wanted to use it. I hadn’t had time to tell her how to log in and use it – she simply called me up and asked for the password to her account – and the rest was history.
She figured out how to find a program for writing, how to search the Internet, and, unfortunately, how to play games (something that I’m trying to limit her on doing by saying that she has 2 hours a day to use the computer and that some of that can be used for game playing but the majority of the time needs to be focused on using her brain and creativity).
From there, she started out writing the next great American novel (or actually a sort of a coming of age princess novel – the working title is “Princess (Sort Of)”). For the past 15 days, according to the Family Safety Activity Log, she has spent almost 20 hours in Windows Wordpad writing her novel. That’s dedication!
So what is my point here? It’s pretty simple really, this budget Toshiba laptop has inspired creativity and given my daughter the tools to get her ideas into writing. I guess in some way, I have to thank Staples for this. With the proper tools, kids are simply amazing. Just be sure that technology isn’t a distraction (ahem…limit that game playing).
“That was easy” says the big red Staples button…the “hard” part now is prying the laptop away from my kid’s hands!
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content (specifically the Toshiba laptop from Staples). I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.
HTD says: Technology inspires creativity! Get your kids the proper tools to explore their own minds.