On the right hand side you’ll find two slots for PC cards, though one of them is actually an Express card slot. Having both is good news as I’ve only ever actually seen one Express card device as most items, including 3G data cards are currently only available in PC card format. Further up is a mini-Firewire slot, great for working with DV camcorders, and next to this is an S-Video slot. At the other edge is a VGA port. Round the back you’ll find two more USB ports and an Ethernet port, though unfortunately it’s only 100Mbps Ethernet and not Gigabit.
As a left-hander I was very aware of the heat being output from the CPU exhaust on the left hand side, as that was where I had the external mouse I was using. While noticeable, it wasn’t unbearable. In fact, the processor used inside is one of the most efficient that has ever been produced – an Intel Core Duo T2400, running at 1.83GHz. While notebooks featuring the new Core 2 Duo have started to appear, the Core Duo is still one of the most capable CPU’s that Intel has produced for some time, so it’s still impressive. In the specification we received only 512MB was supplied on a single DIMM. If another is added then not only would the capacity be increased but they would run in dual-channel configuration, increasing performance further.
The hard disk included is a health 100GB in size, which is now close to becoming entry-level for a notebook. Graphics are surprisingly not dedicated but supplied by a ATI Radeon X1400, which we felt was good enough to endure a run of 3DMark 06 at the screens native resolution of 1,280 x 800. The score of 1184 is hardly earth shattering but it’s a good deal more than you’d get from integrated Intel graphics. This hardly classes the Toshiba as a gaming machine but it means that you can enjoy modern games to some degree.
In terms of overall performance we felt a comparison to the similarly priced Samsung X11 was reasonable. The Toshiba is around £60 more expensive but it does outperform the Samsung convincingly in SYSmark and PC Mark, though that should be available now with the same CPU.
Battery-life was a mixed bag with it outlasting the Samsung for application performance but falling short for DVD watching, not quite reaching the two and half hour mark.
Some software is included. Norton Internet Security 2006 is a big name, though to be honest I find it more a nuisance rather than anything – I’d rather use a combination of the free AVG Anti-Virus and Zone Alarm firewall, if you’re not using a router with one built-in. You also get Microsoft’s One Note application- though not Word, which is odd. InterVideo WinDVD is also preinstalled. There’s a very cool Toshiba application which graphically shows the Wi-Fi access points in range but strangely, I couldn’t actually use it to connect to anything – I had to resort to the built-in Windows tool.
The Toshiba is in some sense a state-of-the-art laptop, showcasing current mainstream technology, in a smart, attractive and affordable package. The weak points are the limited resolution and a slightly disappointing keyboard but otherwise this is a very impressive machine.