Toshiba Portege M200 review: Toshiba Portege M200

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.6
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 4.0
  • Battery life: 6.0
  • Service and support: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Light; uncluttered design; wireless On/Off switch; SD card slot; SXGA display.

The Bad Mediocre performance; pricey.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba Portege M200's successful combination of notebook performance and tablet functionality make it one of the best on the market, despite its mediocre speed.

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Editor's note: We have changed the ratings in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Find out more here.

Shopping for a tablet is a little like packing for an extended camping trip: every ounce of creature comfort you throw in the bag weighs on your performance and endurance. The Toshiba Portege M200 offers a nice balance of features that lets it successfully walk the line between ultraportable notebook and tablet PC, and mobile technology, like hiking, is all about balance. The Toshiba Portege M200 lacks an internal optical drive, but you can also buy the laptop bundled with a USB DVD/CD-RW combo drive, albeit under a different model number, the M205-S809. Toshiba's convertible notebook can swivel into a tablet, and it includes support for wireless, Ethernet, and dial-up networking. It also has one VGA and two USB ports, as well as a PC Card and an SD card slot. Although the Toshiba Portege M200 is more expensive than Fujitsu's LifeBook T3000 , we think it's worth it. Like other convertible tablets, the Toshiba Portege M200 has a swivel hinge at the base of the display that lets you flip and fold the screen into tablet mode. It's neither the biggest nor the lightest convertible tablet we've reviewed, but it successfully integrates a nice array of features into a decidedly svelte, ultraportable design.

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The Toshiba Portege M200's no-frills touch pad lacks dedicated scroll areas and extra buttons.

We like the full-size keyboard, which makes for comfortable typing despite the condensed form factor. The convertible tablet's no-frills touch pad lacks dedicated scroll areas and extra buttons, but it is responsive and configurable. The Toshiba Portege M200 is also easy to control as a tablet. Its well-designed pen and sensitive thin-film-transistor (TFT) display makes navigating and writing on the screen as easy as using the keyboard and the mouse. We also like the spring-loaded pen docking slot on the right side.

A modest array of ports and controls graces the edges of the Toshiba Portege M200. The back panel harbors a VGA port for an external display, two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, and an RJ11 port for the tablet's built-in 56Kbps modem. The front panel contains a conveniently located volume wheel, along with microphone and earphone jacks and an SD media slot. There's also a handy hardware On/Off switch for the wireless adapter on the tablet's right side, which can help save your battery when you're not using the network.

The Toshiba Portege M200 combines the full array of features you'd expect from an ultraportable with the functionality of a tablet PC. It lacks an integrated optical drive, but you can buy it bundled with a slim and useful USB DVD/CD-RW combo drive that runs on either battery or AC power. Toshiba also sells the bundled version under the moniker M205-S809.

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Toshiba also sells the tablet under the moniker M205, the same unit with an external drive.

You can get the Toshiba Portege M200 in many configurations, but the standard components make it a high-performance tablet even in its most basic form. Bluetooth is a $50 option. The Portege M200 comes replete with an Intel Pentium M 1.5GHz processor, an Intel 855PM system chipset, and a Wi-Fi-certified Intel Pro/wireless LAN 2100 802.11b adapter, making it a true Centrino. The basic configuration includes 512MB of memory in two 256MB modules, which unfortunately populate both of the available memory slots, making a future upgrade less convenient. Toshiba offers memory upgrades of up to 2GB. The Toshiba Portege M205 comes with a 40GB hard drive, but you can also customize it to 60GB or 80GB of storage.

At 12.1 inches, the Toshiba Portege M200's TFT display is small, especially considering its 1,400x1,050 SXGA (Super Extended Graphics Array) resolution. Fonts and icons are predictably tiny, but the display's vibrant colors and wide viewing angle make it a pleasure to use. The display's pumped-up virtual screen real estate can come in handy if you work with high-resolution images, and the Nvidia GeForce FX Go 5200 32M is powerful enough to support small-scale video editing and Web design.

Mobile application performance

The Toshiba Portege M200 came in last place in mobile performance in this small test group. The system uses Toshiba's Power Saver utility for its power-management software, and we set the Power Saver utility to Normal when we tested it. As a result, since the Normal setting throttles the CPU to very low levels when the battery is nearing the end of its life, the system's performance was much lower than that of its peers. Both the Gateway M275 and the Fujitsu LifeBook T3000 beat the Toshiba by 23 points. If you're looking for a tablet with good on-the-go performance, consider the Gateway M275 .

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

Find out more about how we test notebooks.

System configurations:

Fujitsu LifeBook T3000
Windows XP Tablet; 1.4GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME Graphics Controller (up to 64MB shared); Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm

Gateway M275
Windows XP Tablet; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 855GM Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Portege M200
Windows XP Tablet; 1.5GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go5200; Toshiba MK4019GAX 40MB 5,400rpm

Thanks to Toshiba's Power Saver utility, which throttles the system's CPU to low levels to conserve battery life, the Toshiba Portege M200 lasts far more than three hours. Its 10.8V, 4,400mAh (48WHr) battery has a hand in this system's long battery life. However, the Gateway M275, with its 14.8V, 3,600mAh (53WHr), takes first place, lasting more than 30 minutes longer than the Toshiba. Although it doesn't have the best battery life of the tablets, nearly four hours of battery life is nothing to sneeze at. You can count on the Toshiba Portege M200 to give you lots of time to get your tablet work done as it was meant to be--on the go.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  

Battery Life analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

System configurations:

Fujitsu LifeBook T3000
Windows XP Tablet; 1.4GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME Graphics Controller (up to 64MB shared); Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm

Gateway M275
Windows XP Tablet; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 855GM Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Portege M200
Windows XP Tablet; 1.5GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go5200; Toshiba MK4019GAX 40MB 5,400rpm

The Toshiba Portege M200 carries a generous three-year parts-and-labor warranty. Interestingly, Toshiba offers a one-year warranty on its Portege M205-S809, which is the same notebook plus the bundled USB combo drive. If you're planning to buy the M205-S809, you may want to consider purchasing the Toshiba Portege M200 and adding the combo drive as an accessory, which would increase your standard warranty on the tablet by two years. Toll-free telephone support is available 24/7 for the life of the warranty. After the warranty expires, you pay $35 per incident. The Toshiba Portege M200 comes with a useful, 76-page, printed resource guide. You also get a separate user guide on the accompanying CD, which largely reiterates the information in the resource guide. The company's Web site hosts driver downloads, FAQs, PDF files of the product documentation, and Web-mail access to tech support.

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Where to Buy See All

Toshiba Portege M200 (Pentium M 735 1.7GHz, 512MB RAM, 60GB HDD, XP Tablet)

Part Number: PPM21U-07UEV8 Released: Nov. 1, 2003
MSRP: $1,899.00 Low Price: $762.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov. 1, 2003
  • Chipset Type Intel 855PM
  • Installed Size 512 MB
  • Weight 4.4 lbs
  • Hard Drive 60 GB HDD / 5400 rpm
  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 - 32 MB DDR SDRAM
  • CPU Intel Pentium M 735 / 1.7 GHz
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