Toshiba Tecra 9100

toshiba-tecra-9100-thumb.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    6.6 Good
  • $2,824.00

Pros

  • Well designed, reasonably lightweight and compact
  • built-in Bluetooth and 802.11b wireless connectivity
  • good international warranty.

Cons

  • Not as fast as expected
  • no floppy drive as standard
  • fairly expensive
  • shorter battery life than the Mobile Pentium III-M-based Tecra 9000.

Toshiba has taken its Tecra line of corporate notebooks a step forward by introducing the 9100 model, which is based on Intel's new Mobile Pentium 4 Processor-M (MP4-M). The previous Mobile Pentium III-M-powered 9000 model was impressive, so has the upgrade paid off?

Externally, the Tecra 9000 and the 9100 appear very similar, if not identical, so you get the well-conceived styling and contrasting silver and black finish that characterised the 9000.

The dimensions and weight are also unchanged, leaving you with a reasonably portable 2.45kg notebook. There's room within the 31 by 26.9cm footprint for a 14.1in. screen running in XGA resolution, and a keyboard that feels reasonably spacious and finger-friendly.

The screen could have been a fraction brighter, but didn't give any other cause for complaint. We suspect that the trademark Toshiba/IBM 'finger-joystick' stud set into the keypad, rather than the keyboard itself, will cause users more problems.

As in the 9000, the lid is made of magnesium alloy to protect the screen during transportation, but unlike the earlier model, the underside of the case itself is not made of metal but plastic. According to Toshiba, the combination of the Mobile Pentium 4 processor and highly conductive magnesium made the machine too hot to sit comfortably on the lap, so it switched back to plastic.

You don't get a floppy drive as standard with this system, but Toshiba sells an external USB drive for about £65 if you need one. The 8-speed DVD-ROM drive is removable and the bay supports hot-swapping of various options ranging from a basic CD-ROM to a combo DVD/CD-RW drive, or alternatives like a second battery or hard disk.

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All the drive modules are interchangeable with Toshiba's ultraportable Portégé line, which may help managing resources if you are dealing with large numbers of notebooks -- and you stick to Toshiba across the board, as is clearly the intention. The cross-compatibility is sensibly extended to the port replicator option, which will dock all models in both ranges.

Hidden away inside the case are not one but two wireless adapters, allowing you to use Bluetooth 1.1 or 802.11b (Wi-Fi) connectivity as required. This hardware can be turned off manually from the front panel to save battery power during ordinary usage.

We were curious to see how well the Tecra 9100 fared on battery power, thanks to the various tricks employed by the MP4-M processor's Enhanced SpeedStep functions. The results were less impressive than we had hoped, with BatteryMark 4 reaching the end of the line after 2 hours 11 minutes, which is acceptable, but not exactly a new milestone in endurance.

Performance was also a bit lacklustre, although this was an early review sample and the official specification will use a 1.7GHz rather than a 1.6GHz processor, 256MB of DDR SDRAM rather than 128MB, and a 40GB rather than a 15GB hard disk drive. This will all have a positive effect on overall speed, but as things stand, the Tecra 9100 is only marginally faster than the 1GHz MPIII-M-based Tecra 9000 we tested back in October 2001.

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Recommended Use corporate business, small business
Built-in Devices AccuPoint II, display, keyboard, microphone, stereo speakers
Notebook type Thin-and-light (4-6 lbs.)
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Pentium 4-M 1.7 GHz
Cache L2 - 512 KB - Advanced Transfer Cache
Data Bus Speed 400 MHz
Chipset Type Intel 845MP
Cache Memory
Type L2 cache
Installed Size 512 KB
RAM
Memory Speed 266 MHz
Upgrade Rule max 512 MB module
Technology DDR SDRAM
Installed Size 256 MB
Storage
Floppy Drive 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy - external
Optical Drive 1 x DVD-ROM removable
Type none
Read Speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD)
Type portable
Memory
RAM 256 MB
Max Supported Size 1 GB
Technology DDR SDRAM
Speed 266 MHz
Form Factor SO-DIMM 200-pin
Slots Qty 2
Empty Slots 1
Display
Resolution 1024 x 768 (XGA)
Widescreen Display No
Color Support 24-bit (16.7 million colors)
Compliant Standards VESA DPMS
Diagonal Size (metric) 35.8 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation XGA
Environmental Parameters
Environmental standards EPA Energy Star
Humidity Range Operating 20 - 80%
Max Altitude Operating 9840 ft
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor AGP 4x - S3 SuperSavage/IXC - 16 MB
Supported Display Graphics SVGA (800x600), SXGA (1280x1024), SXGA+ (1400x1050), UXGA (1600x1200), XGA (1024x768)
Analog Video Format NTSC, PAL
Sound Microphone
Hard Drive
Type HDD
Installed Qty 1
Capacity 40 GB
Input
Type AccuPoint II, keyboard
Communications
Wired Protocol 10/100 Ethernet
Processor
Installed Qty 1
Upgradability not upgradable
CPU Type Pentium 4-M
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 1.7 GHz
Optical Storage
Drive Type DVD
Type DVD-ROM
Form Factor removable
Floppy Drive
Type 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy
Battery
Capacity 3 mAh
Technology lithium ion
Run Time (Up To) 2.1 sec
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory SD Memory Card
AC Adapter
Input AC 100/240 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 75 Watt
Connections & Expansion
Expansion Bays 1 x front accessible
Slots 2 x memory (1 free)
1 x CardBus (1 free)
Interfaces 1 x microphone - input - mini-phone mono 3.5 mm
1 x infrared IrDA
1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) 4 pin FireWire
1 x serial - RS-232 - 9 pin D-Sub (DB-9)
1 x parallel - IEEE 1284 (EPP/ECP) - 25 pin D-Sub (DB-25)
1 x network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX - RJ-45
1 x modem - phone line - RJ-11
1 x display / video - composite video output - RCA
1 x display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15)
1 x keyboard / mouse - generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style)
1 x docking / port replicator 240 pin docking
1 x headphones - output - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
2 x USB 4 pin USB Type A
Memory Card Reader Yes (SD Card)
Header
Brand Toshiba
Product Line Toshiba Tecra
Model 9100
Localization English
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Miscellaneous
Integrated Options Microphone, stereo speakers, keyboard, display, AccuPoint II
Features Toshiba SecureSleep, administrator password, hard drive password, keyboard lock, security lock slot (cable lock sold separately), system password
Compliant Standards ACPI, APM
Networking
Max Transfer Rate 56 Kbps
Data Link Protocol Ethernet, Fast Ethernet
Form Factor integrated
System
Notebook Type notebook
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 40 GB
Monitor
Diagonal Size 14.1 in
Color Support 24-bit (16.7 million colors)
Graphics Controller
Form Factor integrated
Interface Type AGP 4x
Dimensions & Weight
Width 12.2 in
Depth 10.6 in
Height 1.5 in
Audio Output
Form Factor integrated
Signal Processor Intel 845MP
Sound Output Mode stereo
Max Sampling Rate 48 Hz
Compliant Standards AC '97, DirectMusic, DirectSound, DirectSound3D
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 3 years warranty
Mainboard
Data Bus Speed 400 MHz
Chipset Type Intel 845MP
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Physical Characteristics
Form Factor portable
Weight 5.29 lbs
Power
Type power adapter
Voltage Required AC 100/240 V
Min Operating Temperature 41 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP Professional
Type Adobe Acrobat Reader, Drivers & Utilities, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Windows Media Player, SPANWorks 2000, Toshiba Custom Utilities
Video Output
Graphics Processor S3 SuperSavage/IXC
Graphics Processor Series S3 SuperSavage
Video Memory
Installed Size 16 MB
Expansion Bays
Total Qty 1
Service & Support
Type 3 years warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included battery, parts and labor
Location carry-in
Full Contract Period 1 year, 3 years
Sustainability
Greenpeace policy rating (Nov 2011) 2.8

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