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Toshiba Tecra R10

toshiba-tecra-r101.jpg
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  • $1,399.00

Despite its strong performance, the tacky design and inflated price leaves the Toshiba Tecra R10 behind the competition.

Design
If you end up buying a Tecra R10, we hope you like grey. This laptop is grey on grey. The case is grey, the keypad is grey, even the trackpad is grey. The trackpad keys are a silvery grey, and between them is wedged a tiny fingerprint reader. The only respite is the bezel around the screen, which is black.

Speaking of the screen, it's a matte display, meaning that you won't see reflections if you use it outside. At 14.1 inches, it's a good size without being huge or impressive. Likewise its 1280x800 XGA resolution isn't disappointing, but neither is it impressive.

While the R10 only features two USB ports, the eSATA port doubles as a USB port. The addition of eSATA is always a plus, as it gives you that extra bit of speed when dealing with external HDDs and other eSATA-supporting peripherals. Other notable features include an SD card slot on the front and an ExpressCard 54 slot on the right-hand side.

For some bizarre reason, Toshiba decided to squeeze the power and shortcut buttons on a bar to the left of the keyboard. This means the keyboard is both shifted right slightly, and somewhat smaller than it otherwise would have been. This results in a keyboard that is usable, but just a bit too small to be comfortable.

Features
While the design of the R10 isn't all that exciting, we were impressed with what was under the hood. The R10 runs on Intel's new Centrino 2 mobile platform, which means a raft of improvements including a better chipset, better power management, and dual-band 802.11n wireless as standard.

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It also came with 4GB of DDR2 800MHz RAM. However, because Windows Vista Business 32-bit was the pre-installed OS, the system couldn't recognise the entire 4GB. If you get this system with the same specifications as we did, an upgrade to 64-bit Windows Vista Business should give a performance boost. The Windows Vista licence covers both the 32- and 64-bit versions, so anyone with a 32-bit version can upgrade for free.

At the heart of the R10 is an Intel Core 2 Duo SP9400 running at 2.4GHz. This is near the top of Intel's mobile Core 2 Duo range, with a low power consumption of only 25W. Together, this platform creates a very high performance business machine. The PCMark05 benchmarking suite produced a score of 5552.

Graphics performance on the R10 is also good, thanks to a discrete Nvidia Quadro NVS 150M GPU with 128MB of memory. This isn't a gaming GPU; Nvidia's Quadro line is specifically designed for CAD and multi-display graphics. The 150M falls at the lower end of the Quadro range.

The R10 has an average sized battery, 5100mAh, which in a mid-sized laptop like this, results in very average battery life. In order to test it, we set screen brightness to 50 per cent, turned off the sound and played a DVD until the machine went dark. This gave just over two hours of battery life (129 minutes). If you're planning to purchase this laptop, an additional six-cell battery is available. We recommend you get it.

While most businesses will likely image new laptops, we still hate pre-installed software. Unfortunately, the R10 comes with a lot of it. Infamous inclusions include a trial of Office 2007, Google Desktop, Google Earth, Adobe AIR and Google's Picasa 2.

Verdict
At AU$3,300, the Toshiba Tecra R10 fits firmly into the premium business laptop space. We think the performance of the R10 reflects this price, but we don't think either the features or the look of this laptop does. The R10 comes with a three-year "pick up and return" warranty. This is good, but not unusual for business laptops at this price.

While the R10 isn't a bad machine, the competition is offering a lot more.

If you don't need all the grunt provided by the R10, and want to save some cash, we would recommend a Lenovo ThinkPad. We reviewed the SL500, which will give you three quarters of the performance of the R10 at only AU$1,900. The SL500 also has a better battery life.

Alternatively, we would also recommend the HP Elitebook 6930p over the R10. While it's a little slower, a RAM upgrade should bring it up to speed. Side by side, the EliteBook squarely beats the Toshiba on looks, and has around 30 per cent more battery life. It also comes in at AU$2,000, which is a lot cheaper than the R10.

If you're looking for something with a flashier design, Dell's new Latitude line-up is another excellent choice. Both the E6500 and E4300 feature backlit keyboards, ambient light sensors and a vast array of ports. The 15.4-inch E6500 is a little more expensive than the R10, but it's faster, flashier and features the same GPU.

At this price point, you can also get a 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro. While it'll be a tad slower than the R10, its aluminium casing will certainly look better, and OS X is a plus.

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Platform Technology Intel Centrino 2 with vPro Technology
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Preinstalled OS Windows Vista
Wireless capabilities IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11 n (draft)
Notebook type Midsize, HD display
Screen type Widescreen
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo SP9300 / 2.26 GHz
Number of Cores Dual-Core
Cache L2 - 6 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Data Bus Speed 1066 MHz
Chipset Type Mobile Intel GS45 Express
Features Execute Disable Bit capability
Cache Memory
Type L2 cache
Installed Size 6 MB
RAM
Memory Speed 800 MHz
Memory Specification Compliance PC2-6400
Configuration Features 1 x 2 GB
Technology DDR2 SDRAM
Installed Size 2 GB
Rated Memory Speed 800 MHz
Memory
RAM 2 GB (1 x 2 GB)
Max Supported Size 4 GB
Technology DDR2 SDRAM
Speed 800 MHz / PC2-6400 - 800 MHz
Slots Qty 2
Empty Slots 1
Storage
Interface Serial ATA-150
Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM
Type none
Read Speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD)
Write Speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD±R) / 6x (DVD±R DL)
Rewrite Speed 16x (CD) / 6x (DVD-RW) / 8x (DVD+RW) / 5x (DVD-RAM)
Type portable
Environmental Parameters
Environmental standards EPA Energy Star, RoHS
Humidity Range Operating 20 - 80%
Display
LCD Backlight Technology LED backlight
Resolution 1440 x 900 (WXGA+)
Widescreen Display Yes
Type LED
Diagonal Size (metric) 35.8 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation WXGA+
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 4500MHD
Memory Allocation Technology Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0
Total Available Graphics Memory 820 MB
Integrated Webcam Yes
Sound Stereo speakers, microphone
Hard Drive
Spindle Speed 5400 rpm
Type HDD
Capacity 160 GB
Input
Type keyboard, touchpad
Localization & Layout US
Features spill-proof
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n (draft), Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
Wireless Controller Intel WiFi Link 5100
Wired Protocol Gigabit Ethernet
Processor
CPU Type Core 2 Duo
Processor Number SP9300
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 2.26 GHz
Optical Storage
Drive Type DVD SuperMulti DL
Type DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM
Floppy Drive
Type none
Battery
Capacity 5100 mAh
Cells 6-cell
Technology lithium ion
Run Time (Up To) 5.5 sec
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDIO
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Connections & Expansion
Slots 2 x memory (1 free)
1 x ExpressCard (1 free)
Interfaces VGA
LAN
Microphone input
Headphone output
2 x USB 2.0
USB 2.0/eSATA
Dock
Memory Card Reader Yes (SD Card, SDIO, SDHC Card)
Header
Brand Toshiba
Product Line Toshiba Tecra
Model Tecra R10
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n (draft)
Compliant Standards Wi-Fi CERTIFIED
Wireless LAN Supported Yes
Wireless NIC Intel WiFi Link 5100
Monitor
Diagonal Size 14.1 in
System
Platform Technology Intel Centrino 2 with vPro Technology
Notebook Type notebook
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 160 GB
Dockable Yes
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Security Devices fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous
Color aluminum silver
Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip, fingerprint reader
Features Intel Active Management Technology (iAMT), Toshiba EasyGuard, Toshiba Wireless Key Log-on, administrator password, hard drive password, keyboard lock, security lock slot (cable lock sold separately), system password
Compliant Standards ACPI, RoHS
Software
Microsoft Office Preloaded Includes a preinstalled image of select 2007 Microsoft Office suites. Purchase a Medialess License Kit (MLK) to activate the software.
Dimensions & Weight
Width 13.3 in
Depth 9.9 in
Height 1.2 in
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 3 years warranty
Audio Output
Compliant Standards High Definition Audio
Mainboard
Data Bus Speed 1066 MHz
Chipset Type Mobile Intel GS45 Express
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Physical Characteristics
Weight 4.41 lbs
Power
Min Operating Temperature 41 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows Vista Business (32/64 bits) / XP Professional downgrade
Type Adobe Acrobat Reader, Drivers & Utilities, Toshiba Speech System, Toshiba Value Added Package, Google Desktop, Google Picasa, Google Toolbar, Microsoft Office Professional 2007 (60 days trial), Norton Internet Security 2008 (Trial), Sun Java Runtime Environment, Toshiba ConfigFree, Toshiba DVD Player
Preinstalled OS Windows Vista
Video Output
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 4500MHD
Graphics Processor Series Intel GMA
Video Memory
Memory Allocation Technology Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0
Total Available Graphics Memory 820 MB
Notebook Camera
Integrated Webcam Yes
OS Provided
Preinstalled OS Microsoft Windows Vista Business (32/64 bits)
Service & Support
Type 3 years warranty
Service & Support Details
Type international warranty, limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year, 3 years
Sustainability
Greenpeace policy rating (Nov 2011) 2.8

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