Toshiba Tecra M2-S630 (Pentium M 1.7 GHz review: Toshiba Tecra M2-S630 (Pentium M 1.7 GHz

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.2
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Battery life: 8.0
  • Service and support: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Long-lasting battery; small and easy to carry; swappable media bay; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standard.

The Bad Sticky touchpad; sagging keyboard.

The Bottom Line For business travelers, the Tecra M2 is easy to carry and convenient to use, but newer thin-and-lights outpace it.

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Review summary

Toshiba has extended its fleet of corporate thin-and-lights with the Tecra M2, priced and equipped to please not only the world's IT managers but also self-employed entrepreneurs who compute on the road. The Toshiba Tecra M2 deploys practical technology, including an easy-to-carry chassis, a built-in optical drive, and three forms of wireless communication, in a package just less than $1,900.

It's a solid business laptop; in CNET Labs' tests, the Tecra M2 performed on a par with other 1.7GHz Pentium M systems. But it's not quite as fast or as long-lasting as the latest Dothan laptops, so if speed is your game, get the HP Compaq nc6000 . The silver-and-black Toshiba Tecra M2 fits easily in your briefcase because it's a bit smaller than most thin-and-lights. It measures 12.25 inches wide by 10.25 inches deep and slightly less than 1.5 inches thick, and it weighs just shy of 5 pounds. (The AC adapter adds 1 pound.) If battery life matters more than traveling light, you can bring along a spare battery. A double-size battery that fits in the battery slot costs $169 and weighs 1.4 pounds. Or you can buy a 12-ounce battery (also $169) that fits in the Tecra M2's optical drive bay.

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The keyboard sags disconcertingly.

Some weak design elements marred our hands-on experience with the Toshiba Tecra M2. We like that one thumb can open the lid, but with only a single catch in the middle and a somewhat flimsy frame, the lid feels too delicate. Toshiba couldn't reasonably cram a screen bigger than the Tecra M2's 14.1-inch (diagonal) LCD into this form factor; nevertheless, the 1,024x768 resolution doesn't display as much of a document as we'd like. The screen's image quality struck us as bright and colorful enough, with a good range of brightness settings for different lighting and battery requirements, but it has narrow viewing angles that are especially apparent when you look down from a standing position. We're also not crazy about the keyboard, which sags disconcertingly and puts the Insert key in an unfortunate spot next to the smallish spacebar.

The rest of the keys are full size, and you'll like the dual input devices: a touch pad with left- and right-click buttons just below it and a pointing stick embedded in the keyboard, with its own mouse buttons close to the keyboard so that they're easy to reach. Note that we found the touch pad a bit touchy; when you press too hard, the cursor doesn't respond.
In the configuration we tested, the Toshiba Tecra M2 packs in plenty of features without feeling crowded. The edges include an external volume dial for the headphone jack, a button to turn the Wi-Fi radio on and off, two PC Card slots, and a Secure Digital flash memory slot. For communication, it offers infrared, S-Video, modem, and Ethernet ports, a four-pin FireWire port, and two USB ports. Our unit's hot-swappable bay came equipped with a combo DVD/CD-RW drive; a DVD writer costs $199 extra.

Inside, our Toshiba Tecra M2 had both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless networking and an Nvidia 64MB GeForce FX Go 5200 graphics controller. The 60GB drive spins at 5,400rpm, the Pentium M processor ticks at 1.7GHz, and 512MB of memory fill both memory slots. For a single 512MB memory module and one empty slot, add $150.

Our test unit came with limited software; corporate buyers usually like to install their own applications. It did include Microsoft's Windows XP Pro OS and Microsoft Works Suite 2003 . The Toshiba Tecra M2 had the best mobile performance in this small group of thin-and-lights, all of which run Intel's first-generation Pentium M. (While it did well in this small test group, the Tecra lags behind other thin-and-lights that feature Intel's upgraded Pentium M, known as Dothan.) The Tecra M2's victory wasn't staggering, however, as the HP Pavilion zt3000 came right behind it with a score of 170, less than a 2 percent difference. The Fujitsu LifeBook S series came a bit further behind at 159, roughly 8 percent slower than the Toshiba Tecra M2. Compared to the average score of the Pentium M 1.7GHz-based systems we've tested, the Toshiba Tecra M2's score is about 3 percent slower than average. Still, it's only slightly below average and was fast enough to come out on top in this group.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  
Toshiba Tecra M2
173 


Find out more about how we test notebooks.

System configurations:

Fujitsu LifeBook S series
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 855GM (up to 64MB shared); Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm

HP Pavilion zt3000
Windows XP Home; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 64MB; Fujitsu MHT2080AT 80GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Tecra M2
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go 5200 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar HTS548060-M9AT00 60GB 5,400rpm
In this small test group, the Toshiba Tecra M2's battery life finished on top. The M2's 10.8V, 4,000mAh (48WHr) battery lasted more than four hours. The HP Pavilion zt3000 finished second, with its 14.8V, 4,000mAh (65.12WHr) battery lasting more than three hours. Although the HP Pavilion zt3000's battery is more powerful, the system has a much higher screen resolution than that of the Toshiba Tecra M2. This likely helped the Toshiba Tecra M2 come out on top, since the more pixels a screen has, the more power it takes. The Fujitsu LifeBook S series brought up the rear, with its 10.8V, 4,000mAh (43WHr) battery powering it for about three and a half hours. The Toshiba Tecra M2 offers great battery life for your mobile business and content-creation needs.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate longer battery life)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery-life minutes  
Toshiba Tecra M2
246 


To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures 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 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

System configurations:

Fujitsu LifeBook S series
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 855GM (up to 64MB shared); Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm

HP Pavilion zt3000
Windows XP Home; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 64MB; Fujitsu MHT2080AT 80GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Tecra M2
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go 5200 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar HTS548060-M9AT00 60GB 5,400rpm
Toshiba doesn't skimp on support for the M2. The basic package provides three years of warranty with prepaid shipping and 24/7 toll-free tech support. When the warranty is over, support calls run a steep $35 each, but the company's Web site provides e-mail tech support and extensive do-it-yourself information. The notebook also comes with a great 250-page onscreen manual.

The company's policy with regard to screen defects, however, strikes CNET as providing more wiggle room for Toshiba than reassurance to customers. Bad displays can have between 10 and 18 defective pixels before Toshiba considers replacing the screen, and the vague policy also says, "In some cases the nonconforming pixel limits may be waived, depending on the grouping and/or placement of the nonconforming pixels."

To find out more about how this product's warranty really stacks up and what you should look for in terms of service and support, take a look at CNET's hardware warranty explainer.

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Where to Buy

Toshiba Tecra M2-S630 (Pentium M 1.7 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 60 GB HDD)

Part Number: PTM20U-0PMGV8
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Installed Size 512 MB
  • Weight 5.0 lbs