Taking a trip around the machine, the left side presents said RS-232 and USB/eSata ports, plus an ExpressCard 54 bay and a multi-format memory card slot. The front is home to a bank of seven status LEDs, a microphone, and 3.5mm audio input and output sockets, the latter fed through an endlessly turning volume dial.
Is that a serial port I see before me?
Round to the right, there's the optical drive, the remaining USB ports, a 56Kb/s modem outlet and, handy for security minded IT departments, a smartcard reader. The back of the M10 has power, Gigabit Ethernet and VGA ports.
Flipping the machine over exposes the hatches that allow you to view the M10's hard drive and two (filled) Dimm slots.
Unlike true 1990s laptops, the M10's lid isn't latched, but it's hinges aren't half resistant to movement. Sure stiff is better than floppy, but one-handed operation is better than two. Given the size and weight of the base of the machine, we were surprised to find we still needed to hold it down with one hand while opening the lid with the other.
The M10's yesterday's laptop styling continues with its keyboard. Toshiba has separated the function keys from the main array, and it's moved the Home, Page Up, Page Down and End keys into a block of their own over to the right. Combine that layout with the tall-seeming keys and, again, the M10 gives the impression of a decade-old design.
All connectivity choices covered
The keyboard has a solid foundation with barely any flex, and the keys themselves seem to have a greater travel the modern ones do. That said, it's no less comfortable to type on for that and it certainly doesn't feel cheap and rattly the way so many, more slimline keyboards do these days.
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!