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Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-S405 review: Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-S405

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MSRP: $2,079.00
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The Good Great-looking design; five-hour battery life; built-in wireless networking.

The Bad A little thick and heavy; disappointing screen.

The Bottom Line Toshiba's latest Centrino notebook delivers good performance and excellent battery life, although the display is not as sharp as the competition's.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 9
  • Support 7

Review Sections

So many Centrino notebooks, so little money. Fret no more--Toshiba's Satellite Pro M10-S405 series does an excellent job of building a competent Centrino system for less than $2,000. While the Satellite Pro M10-S405 series doesn't set any performance records, its 1.4GHz Pentium M processor, 40GB high-speed hard drive, and 512MB of memory still make it faster than more expensive notebooks. With a sleek design that fits equally well on an airplane tray table or a kitchen counter, this notebook's only Achilles' heel is its dull and fuzzy display. If you want something lighter and faster, go with either the Acer TravelMate 803LCi or the IBM ThinkPad T40--but be prepared to pay more.



Buttons above the keyboard control CD functions.
The Satellite Pro M10-S405 series' two-tone color scheme makes for a stylish, head-turning appearance. It looks similar to the company's Satellite 5205 series but with a flatter, less wedgelike shape. It's a good-sized notebook, nonetheless. At 13.1 by 11.4 by 1.7 inches and 6.8 pounds, it's nearly a pound and several tenths of an inch thicker than the best in this class. Acer's TravelMate 803LCi is thinner, and both it and the IBM ThinkPad T40 are more than 1 pound lighter. With its AC adapter, the Satellite Pro M10-S405 series weighs in at 7.3 pounds.

Open the lid, and you'll find buttons above the firm and responsive keyboard that can play audio CDs, although the buttons lack an accompanying LCD to show CD track information. (You'll find a handy CD LCD on the front edge of many notebooks, including the Satellite 5205 series.) Sound from the Satellite Pro M10-S405 series is loud but a bit hollow despite its high-end Harman Kardon speakers. We much prefer the audio on the Satellite 5205 series, which has a subwoofer hidden in the bottom of the machine. A blue pointing stick at the center of the keyboard is augmented by a small touchpad for those who can't decide which system they like--or hate--more.

The Satellite Pro M10-S405 series has a single modular bay that holds a combo DVD/CD-RW drive. Upgrading to a multiformat DVD burner, which can work with DVD-RW and DVD-R media, costs a hefty $500. You can also fill the media bay with an extra 30GB hard drive, which sells for $200. The notebook lacks an internal floppy drive, but Toshiba sells an external USB floppy for $99.




A handy volume wheel is one of the creature comforts on the Satellite Pro M10-S405 series.


The big keyboard is firm and responsive.


There are creature comforts throughout the design of the Satellite Pro M10-S405 series, such as the thumbwheel volume control on the left edge and the included screen-cleaning cloth. There are also plenty of ports, but we recommend buying the port replicator for those who jump between office, home, and the road.




The media bay can hold a multiformat DVD-R/RW drive.
When you buy a Satellite Pro M10-S405-series notebook from Toshiba.com, you don't get many customization choices. The two base configurations are called the Satellite Pro M10-S405 and the Satellite Pro M10-S406. Rather than Toshiba's usual mix-and-match configuration scheme, both base models come with only a 1.4GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of 266MHz memory (maximum of 1GB), and a 40GB hard drive that spins at 5,400rpm. The graphics system is adequate, with an Nvidia GeForce4 420 Go graphics accelerator that has 32MB of its own memory, but it's a step below the Acer TravelMate 803LCi's graphics system. Unfortunately, the 15-inch screen of the Satellite Pro M10-S405 series lacks the pinpoint sharpness of the best screens, and it appears slightly dull.

A solid assortment of ports adorns the Satellite Pro M10-S405 series, including audio in and out, FireWire, external monitor, and composite video, as well as a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a parallel port. Not only does it include the expected pair of Type II PC Card slots but it also offers a Secure Digital flash card slot. Communications are covered by the system's modem and Ethernet ports and the built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless networking. There's a handy wireless On/Off switch for the Wi-Fi on the front edge.

In addition to the Windows XP Home operating system, the Satellite Pro M10-S405 series includes a good selection of software: Microsoft Works, Intuit Quicken Basic 2001, Norton AntiVirus 2002, and a variety of utilities, including what remains the best notebook power-management application in the business, Toshiba's own Power Saver. You can add Microsoft Office for $350.


Mobile application performance
The Satellite Pro M10-S405 is on equal footing with two comparison systems in mobile performance. All three notebooks achieved relatively high MobileMark2002 scores, which is typical of Pentium M-based systems. Even with its slower, 1.4GHz Pentium M, the Satellite Pro M10-S405 managed to come out on top, albeit by a single point. The Toshiba's score of 165 is a testament to how efficiently designed the Pentium M processor is. Keep in mind, however, that the fastest notebook we've tested to date, the Acer TravelMate 803LCi, scored a 211 on this test.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 performance rating  
Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-S405
165 
Toshiba Tecra M1
164 
IBM ThinkPad T40
164 
 
SysMark2002 performance
In this small test group, the Satellite Pro M10-S405 came in last in maximum performance. This is no surprise, because maximum performance is just what its name implies--the maximum performance of the system when it's plugged in. The Satellite Pro M10-S405 came in last place because its 1.4GHz Pentium M processor is 200MHz slower than the comparison systems' 1.6GHz processors.

Maximum application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo SysMark2002 rating  
SysMark2002 Internet content creation  
SysMark2002 office productivity  
Toshiba Tecra M1
179 
197 
162 
IBM ThinkPad T40
173 
192 
156 
Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-S405
160 
176 
145 
 
To measure maximum notebook application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark2002, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).

3D graphics performance
The Satellite Pro M10-S405 also came in last in 3D performance. Performance in this test comes down to the 3D subsystem, and the Satellite Pro M10-S405's Nvidia GeForce4 420 Go 64MB just doesn't have the power. This is not to say that the system's 3D adapter is bad; it just can't compete with the big boys. Bottom line: The Satellite Pro M10-S405 has decent 3D performance--just don't expect to be blown away.

3D graphics performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE  
Toshiba Tecra M1
5,926 
IBM ThinkPad T40
4,985 
Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-S405
4,236 
 
To measure 3D graphics performance, CNET Labs uses Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE. We use 3DMark to measure desktop replacement notebook performance with the DirectX 8.1 interface at the 32-bit color setting at a resolution of 1,024x768.

Find out more about how we test notebooks.


System configurations:

IBM ThinkPad T40
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 32MB; IBM Travelstar 80GN 80GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-S405
Windows XP Home, 1.4GHz Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 420 Go 32MB; Toshiba MK4019GAX 40GB 5,400rpm

Toshiba Tecra M1
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Trident Video Accelerator Cyber-X P4 32MB; Toshiba MK6022GAX 60GB 5,400rpm


Despite the fact that the Satellite Pro M10-S405 came in last place in battery life in this small test group, its battery score was still highly impressive. With a nearly five-hour duration, it's one of the longest-lasting notebook battery lives we've tested. Its 10.8V, 6,600mAh battery can take some of the credit for this; the efficiently designed Pentium M processor takes the rest. That said, it came nowhere near the IBM ThinkPad T40's amazing 416 minutes, but the T40 was tested with a much bigger, secondary battery.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate longer battery life)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 battery life minutes  
IBM ThinkPad T40
416 
Toshiba Tecra M1
305 
Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-S405
298 
 
To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark2002. 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 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

System configurations:

IBM ThinkPad T40
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 32MB; IBM Travelstar 80GN 80GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite Pro M10-S405
Windows XP Home, 1.4GHz Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 420 Go 32MB; Toshiba MK4019GAX 40GB 5,400rpm

Toshiba Tecra M1
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Trident Video Accelerator Cyber-X P4 32MB; Toshiba MK6022GAX 60GB 5,400rpm


With a standard one-year warranty, Toshiba's coverage for the Satellite Pro M10-S405 series is what you'd expect from a consumer notebook, but we suggest shelling out $129 for three-year coverage, since you're likely to keep this speedy notebook for quite some time. Toshiba's 24/7 toll-free phone support and international service are excellent, regardless of where you might find yourself. In addition, the company's Web site hosts a well-organized and extensive collection of downloadable drivers, service bulletins, and tips for getting the most out of your notebook.

For those with notebook trouble, Toshiba's resources include e-mail responses from technicians, chat room help, and assistance from Ask Iris, an interactive troubleshooting application. The system also comes with a thorough, printed setup manual; the electronic version of the manual is loaded on the desktop.

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