Toshiba Tecra M8 review: Toshiba Tecra M8

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 6.0
  • Battery life: 7.0
  • Service and support: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Sturdy chassis; 13-inch screen resides in sweet spot between usability and portability; hard drive protected against falls; 802.11n Wi-Fi; Santa Rosa Core 2 Duo power for reasonable price.

The Bad Uninspiring design; bloatware clutters the desktop and hard drive, which is particularly offensive on a business system.

The Bottom Line A decent, if not exactly eye-catching, take on a 13-inch thin-and-light laptop, Toshiba's Tecra M8 offers just enough extras to keep business users interested.

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For many laptop users, finding the right screen size is paramount. While the vast majority of laptops used to fall into the 15-inch category, those are quickly being replaced by more manageable 13- and 14-inch models. Apple's hugely popular MacBook laptops have almost singlehandedly built a market for the 13.3-inch display, which we consider the sweet spot between midsize and ultraportable laptops. On the Windows side, Dell's recent XPS m1330 was a well-received 13-inch system, but it's out of many shoppers' price range. Toshiba's $1,324 Tecra M8 packs the latest Centrino Duo parts, plus extras such as a hard-drive accelerometer, into a 13-inch package that's short on flash but long on value.

Price as reviewed/starting price $1,324/$1,249
Processor 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100
Memory 1GB of 667MHz DDR2
Hard drive 120GB at 4,200rpm
Graphics Mobile Intel Express 965 (integrated)
Chipset Intel GM965 Express
Operating system Windows Vista Premium
Dimensions 12.1x9.5x1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
System weight/weight with AC adapter 4.6/5.6 pounds
Category Thin-and-light

Despite slightly rounded edges, the Tecra M8 has a decidedly boxy look, which while not particularly exciting, is certainly appropriate for the Tecra brand's target audience of business users. At 4.6 pounds, it sits squarely in the middle of the thin-and-light category; it weighs a little more than the Dell XPS m1330 but less than the Apple MacBook. The basic gray-and-black chassis is subdued, to say the least, but the body feels sturdy, especially its stiff lid.

Designed as a low-frills, mid-priced laptop for the business set, the Tecra M8 doesn't offer many extras. The system includes a 1.3 megapixel Webcam and a fingerprint reader, but aside from two quick launch buttons for Vista's Windows Mobility Center and a Toshiba-branded window with shortcuts to networking and diagnostic tools, the keyboard tray offers little except a standard keyboard and a basic touch pad. A 3D accelerometer is included, however, that will freeze your hard drive in the event of a fall or shock to the chassis.

The touch pad is embedded, somewhat strangely, a fraction of an inch below the wrist rest, yet the keyboard is still similar to the one of Toshiba's recent Portege R500, which we especially liked for having separate page-up and page-down keys, instead of shunting these off as alternate functions on other keys.

The 13.3-inch wide-screen LCD display offers a 1,280x800 native resolution, which is standard for a screen this size and the same as you'd find on a MacBook. This provides for text and icons that are highly readable, so it's a shame that so much of the desktop real estate is taken up with bloatware and advertising, including come-ons for eBay, CNN.com, Skype, and Microsoft's Office Live services. We don't like seeing these trial offers and advertising links on consumer systems, and it's especially egregious on a system built for business users.

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Where to Buy

Toshiba Tecra M8 (Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, Vista Business)

Part Number: PTM80U-009003 Released: Jul. 5, 2007

MSRP: $1,049.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jul. 5, 2007
  • Resolution 1280 x 800 ( WXGA )
  • Installed Size 1 GB
  • Color titanium silver
  • Weight 4.4 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM - removable
  • Graphics Processor Intel GMA X3100
  • CPU Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 / 1.8 GHz