Toshiba Satellite A660/07R

Toshiba's 3D-capable laptop works exceptionally well as a desktop replacement, especially for gamers.


8.4
CNET Rating
6.2
User Rating

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Design

Toshiba promotes the Satellite A660 — or more specifically, the A660/07R PSAW3A-07R00R, as there are many models of A660 — as the "ultimate all-round high performance entertainment machine, featuring true 3D for a totally immersive gaming and movie viewing experience". It's silly in the extreme to call any product "ultimate" — where do you go to from there, exactly? — but still the design of the A660 leaves little doubt that this is a high-gloss, "in your face"-style entertainment notebook.

The large backlit keyboard includes a number pad and a row of touch-sensitive buttons, although curiously the space bar is comparatively tetchy. The finish is undeniably plastic but exceptionally shiny, and one of those matters of personal taste. Some will love its in-your-face aesthetic; we found it a little tiring after a while.

The other accessory that leaps out of the box at you is a pair of Nvidia's 3D glasses along with a USB transmitter in a big green shiny box. You only get a single pair, but then the 3D chops of this system are much more focused around 3D gaming than social 3D movie watching in any case.

Features

The A660 we tested was kitted out with a little bit of everything, and then a few bits more. Specifically, it runs on an Intel Core i7 processor 740QM 1.73GHz processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 640GB (5400rpm) SATA hard drive and Nvidia GeForce GTS350M 1GB graphics chip. The optical drive is a Blu-ray RW/DVD SuperMulti double/dual-layer drive, with further entertainment options handled by an in-built Hybrid Digital/Analog TV Tuner. Four USB ports are present, with one being a shared eSATA/USB port that's also powered up even when the laptop is off for the purposes of charging other USB gadgetry. Other ports include VGA, HDMI, PCI Express, SD and gigabit Ethernet. Bluetooth 2.1 and 802.11n Wi-Fi is supported.

On the software side, the default operating system install is Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit, but on first boot you're given the option to use a recovery partition for Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Trial versions of Microsoft Office 2007 (60 days) and Norton Internet Security are also pre-installed.

Performance

As could be expected from a system with specifications like these, our standard benchmarks were something of a pushover for the A660. It scored a healthy 8393 in 3DMark06 and 6995 in PCMark05. While it's clearly an entertainment PC at heart, there's not too many tasks you could throw at the A660 that it couldn't handle.

We did discover at least one thing it wasn't too happy with, however. It may have just been our review sample, but the hard drive parking sensor on the A660 is exceptionally sensitive to movement. On a desk or flat surface this isn't an issue, but if you do use it on a lap, be prepared for lots of little pauses in your entertainment flow when the hard drive detects motion. A system of this size isn't entirely a lap-bound creature, but it'd be nice to be able to use it off a desk from time to time.

Clearly a big pitch point for this particular laptop is 3D gaming, and the embedded Nvidia solutions works quite well. We tested with Just Cause 2, and aside from a little bit of shimmer, which was adjusted for via the scroll wheel on the USB-connect 3D transmitter, the 3D effect worked exceptionally well. Naturally, as with any 3D source, anyone wandering by while you're busy blowing up red barrels will be near blinded by the discordant images on-screen.

Large laptops with plenty of multimedia grunt aren't usually the poster children for exceptional battery life, but we were stunned at exactly how poor the A660's battery performance was. Our standard battery test disables all power-saving measures and sets screen brightness to maximum before playing an XviD file at full-screen resolution looped to the point of hibernation in order to get a worst-case scenario figure for battery performance. Typically for a larger screened notebook we'd expect to see something in the region of 90 to 120 minutes.

The A660's battery died out in 67 minutes, a new low watermark for battery performance. Given the issues we had with its hard drive parking sensor we're not sure how much you'd want to lug it around for portable work in any case, but the poor battery life makes this entire argument something of a non-starter.

Conclusion

The A660 is a high-end gamer's laptop, priced accordingly and with very few pretensions to mobile work, especially given its 2.62kg carrying weight and sub-par battery life. If you can live with those restrictions and want an all-in-one home entertainment desktop replacement notebook, it's a good buy.

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PaliP Facebook
5
Rating
 

"dissapointed"

PaliP posted a review   

hard drive **** itself after 11 months, not impressed, done a bit of homework and sounds like a common problem.

 

NadineW posted a reply   

Same - needed a new harddrive inside of 11-months.

Overheats inside of 8-minutes.

No help from Toshiba

PaliP Facebook
5
Rating
 

"dissapointed"

PaliP posted a review   

hard drive **** itself after 11 months, not impressed, done a bit of homework and sounds like a common problem.

gwilson_1
4
Rating
 

"Would not recommend"

gwilson_1 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Keyboard backlight, media output options, antenna in

The Bad:Overhearing, Issue with Power Button (will power on of it own accord), Touch Pad is just wrong

Very disappointed with my first Toshiba. Will not be buying this brand again. The machine powers down without warning. I have an issue where it will also power on without interaction. This is very disturbing in the middle of the night

Moneymouse
5
Rating
 

"Not a bad machine if paying under $1,000"

Moneymouse posted a review   

The Good:Good performer, enjoyed 3D movies watching, keyboard backlight.

The Bad:Battery sucks, not reliable HDD, volume buttons don't work intermittently.

I've had notebooks since 2001, three of them were Toshiba and two of those Toshiba notebooks had HDD issues including this one, A660. It failed just in three months after the warranty expired. I'll fix this one by replacing the HDD with SDD, but my next new laptop won't be Toshiba...

 

StuartD posted a comment   

My Toshiba A660 was the worst computer I have ever had in my life. It went back to Toshiba 4 times in the first year. The hard drive shat it's self, was then replaced. Now the hard drive has had yet another melt down!!! I would never buy another Toshiba and i cringe every time i hear that name. Got my self an Apple macbook pro retina and have never looked back, Toshiba you Suck!!!!

HenryT2 Facebook
6
Rating
 

"An okay laptop"

HenryT2 posted a review   

The Good:Performance, Screen resolution, Stylish

The Bad:Overheating, Battery life, Flimsy Keyboard, Tempermental at times

I have had this Toshiba A660 for around 2 years now, and we have had some problems like it overheating while running games, the keyboard is quite flimsy and floppy as keys can easily break, the hard drive failing at one point, and the battery life is shocking even when settings are down to their lowest or in economy mode. Everything else has been good about it...

PatrickRBC
5
Rating
 

"Not without issues"

PatrickRBC posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Good on paper, love the back lit keyboard and runs well... for a while.

The Bad:Real tendency to overheat and just shut down in the middle of something, especially with gaming. Battery life is terrible, after a year I was lucky to get 15 minutes of battery life.

I've generally been a fan of Toshiba laptops but have been haunted by the overheating issues with my last two. Nothing worse than a sudden shut down when you haven't saved your game for a while. I'll be looking elsewhere for my next one.

No fault of the laptop, but unfortunately turns out that my eyes can't manage the 3D system either.

I've also found the volume control a bit frustrating, would prefer the old fashioned universal volume dial rather than something that connects sporadically to whatever window you have open, or the volume of whatever is coming out of the speakers, or sometimes makes no changes at all.

Luchanov
6
Rating
 

"its a good laptop for entertainment"

Luchanov posted a review   
New Zealand

The Good:i7 grunty

The Bad:overheats fast, battery sucks, bit of a freezer occasionally on the internet after pronlonged surfing ie 1-2 hours

i bought this laptop A660 07U in September 2010. i noticed from the beginning that even in eco mode the fan kicks in! when you disconnect it from the power off the wall - (switch to battery) then the fan turns off.
then the battery only lasts roundabout an hour.
tends to freeze from time to time on the internet.
can't handle movement so keep it on the flat surface.last week got a message- battery is getting weak. two days ago got a message its stuffed! get a new battery! won't charge or retain charge. wasn't cheap at the time, but next laptop will probably be something else...back to fujitsu.

ba7800
1
Rating
 

"very bad!!! Stay away from Toshiba !!!"

ba7800 posted a review   

This is a jock or a scam! this product should not be in the market! Toshiba is terrible ! I started getting error messages for my cooling system from the beginning! then it was ok and continued to work then the messages started again! the system crash and overheat always! and Toshiba support was useless!

stuey1122
7
Rating
 

"a fairley good computer for its price"

stuey1122 posted a review   

The Good:performance, nice keyboard, lightish

The Bad:the battlery life only lasts an hour (hour and a half on eco mode)

had it less than 6 months and have had troubles with the screen, software and HDD crashed dont know it if was just bad luck or what. but once i jumped those few hurdles it seems to be working fabulous now.


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User Reviews / Comments  Toshiba Satellite A660/07R

  • PaliP

    PaliP

    Rating5

    "hard drive **** itself after 11 months, not impressed, done a bit of homework and sounds like a common problem."

  • PaliP

    PaliP

    Rating5

    "hard drive **** itself after 11 months, not impressed, done a bit of homework and sounds like a common problem."

  • gwilson_1

    gwilson_1

    Rating4

    "Very disappointed with my first Toshiba. Will not be buying this brand again. The machine powers down without warning. I have an issue where it will also power on without interaction. This is ver..."

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