Apart from its amazing speakers, the last Toshiba notebook we looked at - the Toshiba Satellite A300-177 - was a fairly standard budget affair. However, entering the upper-class light notebook fray on Toshiba's behalf we have the brand new Portégé M800-106, a fairly stylish 13.3 incher with some decent specifications.
In terms of looks, the M800 has undergone a bit of an overhaul from the A300-177. Though it does maintain a similar overall look, including the pin-stripe motif, it’s far more coherent. That is to say, in everything but colour: unusually, the entire top including the lid and keyboard’s bezel is white, while the base of the machine, where the ports are located, is matte black. Personal preferences for black aside, it might have been nice of Toshiba had it made the whole thing a single colour, or at least gone for grey over black.
Still, if you like white with grey stripes there’s little to complain about. The pattern on the lid is quite subtle, and though this doesn’t apply to the Toshiba logo, at least it’s handsomely depicted in faux-chrome. There’s also a slim silver trim at the lid’s outer edges, which combines with the lid’s shape to good effect.
Opening the machine up, the look is a bit messier, with four colourful stickers being particularly distracting. Once these are peeled off though, things start looking up. Unlike with the Toshiba Satellite A300-177, the touchpad is perfectly integrated with the stripes motif, with only a white LED bar and a change of texture indicating where the touchpad begins and ends.
While on the topic of the touchpad, it features two buttons visually identical to the ones on the A300, though this time round there is a fingerprint reader nestled in between. Also, their metallic finish is matched by both the logo on the lid and the webcam housing at the top of the screen’s bezel - all of which looks quite neat and tidy. Shame, then, that this good early impression is tainted by speaker grills resembling toy ones thrown in without any thought to integration.
Things do improve, though, with a set of nicely backlit touch-sensitive media controls above the keyboard that are indicated by small grey icons and whose lighting can be turned on or off at the touch of a button. This also controls the aforementioned illuminated touchpad bar, the power button and the Portégé logo on the left palm-rest.
It has to be said that white LED lighting against a white background really works a treat in the visual department. This also makes the M800 perfectly usable in the dark. When pressing a media key, rather than an annoying beep, they briefly light up if dark, or dim for a second if lit. It also helps that they’re very responsive, lending some credence to their "feather-touch" name.