Toshiba Tecra M10 14in notebook
Modern internals, old-fashioned looks
Review Some manufacturers, like Dell, believe laptop users, even supposedly non-frivolous business folk, prefer svelte, stylish notebooks. Not so Toshiba, at least if the the Tecra M10 is anything to go by.
Toshiba's Tecra M10: the laptop that time forgot?
Carry one around, and anyone who sees it will think you've been nursing the machine since the 1990s. This block of a box is more than an inch and a half thick - the lid alone accounts for 11mm of the machine's thickness - and kitted out in a retro-style matte black and metallic dark grey colour scheme.
Chunky here weighs at least 2.44kg and measures 336.8 x 245.0 x 36.4-38.4mm.
The laptop that time forgot? Well this is the first notebook we've seen for quite some time with a serial port. We wonder why Tosh didn't go the whole hog and stick a parallel port on it too. Integrated trackball?
For all its old-style outer casing, inside, the M10 is bang up to date. It's based on Intel's Centrino 2 vPro platform, which means the review unit, the M10-10I, packs a decent, 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo processor, the T9400, backed by 3GB of 800MHz DDR 2 memory.
One of the M10's four USB ports doubles up as an eSata connector, so the machine's well able to take advantage of the latest in external storage technology. Within its capacious casing, it has a standard 2.5in, 5400rpm Sata hard drive of 250GB capacity and a multi-format DVD rewriter.
IT department-friendly Centrino vPro tech included
The Centrino brand means the M10's 802.11n Wi-Fi is provided by an Intel chip too, and it's the GMA 4500MHD graphics core integrated into the the GM45 chipset that drives the laptop's 14in, 1440 x 900 matte display. Bluetooth is part of the package too.
Sounds pretty much exactly like the *extremely average* M5 I have at present, except with somewhat updated componentry.
What gets me is that for its feature set (average), it weighs a ton, and the battery life is crap. And even with the relatively heavy chassis, the build quality isn't that great. I keep having to replace or tighten the screws underneath, and it's a bloody creaky thing (not as bad as some, but given the weight, you'd expect better). I like the keyboard, but that's about it.
@ AC 11.07
What the hell do you do to the things?!
I've bought approx 60 Tecras of various sizes and model numbers over the last two years and I can't complain about the build quality or reliability at all. Had to RMA two or three for things like a cracked screen, but that's understandable when the user manages to shut their laptop bag in a revolving door/leave it on the roof of their car and drive off etc, don't you love salesmen eh?. Oh and I had a hard drive go bad on another one which was sorted very quickly, can't complain about a mechanical defect on the part of the HDD manufacturer really.
Contrast this to the HPs that the last incumbent of my job went for - myriad problems with screens going fuzzy, fans failing, trackpad buttons and keyboards becoming unusable, hinges going, motherboards dying, network cards 'burning out' (wtf? This is what HP told me)... I know which I'd rather go for.
And for all the people that are going to jump down my throat, we replace laptops on a 2 year cycle so the HPs were of roughly the same age as the Toshibas, it's not that we'd had them for twice as long. They were comparably priced business oriented laptops.
I'd usually hesitate to use anecdotal evidence in support of my claims that x brand is better than y brand, but I've been responsible for supporting 80 odd laptops (only a few of those sodding HPs to get rid of now) so I have a pretty clear idea of which brand caused me more grief.
I guess in your case AC, you must be one of these people that seems to be very heavy on whatever pieces of technology they get given - such users can never explain why they get through twice as many laptops, Bluetooth headsets, mobile phones etc as everyone else, but they must be doing something to the bloody things!
So Many Uses
I have an XPS Gen 1 that looks a lot like that and it's still around after 8 years of my misuse. It's also a step, shield, pry bar, heater, and head rest.
Toshiba fab sucks
I've had 3 Toshs (two M3s and an M9)
Awful build quality and substandard materials....
The trackpad wore through the decorative surface in 4 months use on all 3 - the first m9 had 3 replacement mobos and the battery life sucks despite claims to the contrary.
Only reason I have them is the company I work for insists on these models. Pah!
The M9 now sits idle because it's too flakey to use and I really can't be bothered going through the pain of having the engineers attempt to fix them. On the odd occasion the M9 actually decides to start up, the heat that thing pushes out can be frightening - especially if you happen put your hands over the fan outlet when lifting it.
That's it. I want one. No scratch that. I REALLY want one. And so will just about every other person in my division! This machine is just about my dream machine! I have had a gander at the specks and this "I" model is it.
I for one really appreciate the style and form that it has. Just thinking about the labs I visit and all those serial ports, this is a serious answer to all those people who don't pull "9 to 5 in an office" and rarely know more than a couple of hours before hand what they will be facing in the working day/week ahead!