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Toshiba Tecra A5 review: Toshiba Tecra A5

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In keeping with its no-frills theme, the Tecra A5 pulled midrange scores in CNET Labs' mobile benchmarks. It ran 10 percent slower than the similarly configured Satellite M45 and 10 percent faster than the exceptionally slow Satellite M35X. Its battery lasted 2 hours, 43 minutes--nearly an hour longer than the cells in the Satellites but just short of the 3 hours we consider to be the baseline average for mainstream battery life.

Unsurprisingly, given the laptop's low price, the Tecra A5's one-year warranty falls short of the standard three years you get with most business systems. During the warranty term, you can mail or carry the system in to an authorized repair center for fixes. You can also call Toshiba's toll-free support line at any time of the day or night for help. If you would like to extend the warranty, Toshiba offers several options, such as four years of service, accidental damage protection, and next-business-day repairs. The best part about the company's generally unremarkable support Web site is its link out to the Windows Users Group Network, a forum where laptop users from all over convene to gab about their system issues.

For more detailed information about warranties and service plans, check out Computer Shopper's overview of 37 major computer vendors.

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

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

System configurations:
Toshiba Satellite M35X-S163
Windows XP Home; 1.4GHz Celeron M 360; 512MB DDR SDRAM PC2700 333MHz; Intel Extreme Graphics 2 for Mobile 855GM/GME up to 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 80GN 80GB 4,200rpm (NTFS)

Toshiba Satellite M45-S165
Windows XP Home; 1.5GHz Celeron M 370; 512MB DDR SDRAM PC2700 333MHz; ATI Radeon Xpress 200M 64MB; Toshiba MK8026GAX 80GB 5,400rpm (NTFS)

Toshiba Tecra A5
Windows XP Pro; 1.5GHz Celeron M 370; 256MB DDR SDRAM PC2700 166MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS; 910GML Express 128MB; Hitachi Travelstar 5K100 40GB 4,200rpm (NTFS)

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