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Toshiba Tecra M4 review: Toshiba Tecra M4

Toshiba has always been competitive with features and has put more power under the hood of the Tecra M4 than you will find in any other tablet. Our $2,099 (as of August 2005) test unit included a very fast 2GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of quick 533MHz SDRAM, and a smoking Nvidia GeForce Go graphics card with 64MB of dedicated video memory (rare for a tablet). In CNET Labs' performance benchmarks, the Tecra M4 performed 24 percent faster than the similar-size Toshiba Satellite R15, which has a slower 1.6GHz processor. The Tecra M4 also handily beat the 1.8GHz Pentium M-based HP Compaq tc4200 and the Averatec C3500, which has a 1.67GHz processor. Only the new Acer TravelMate C310, with its 2.2GHz processor and 14.1-inch screen, looks poised to give the Tecra M4 a run for its money.

On the downside, the Toshiba Tecra M4's battery lasted for a mediocre 2 hours, 47 minutes. By contrast, the Toshiba Satellite R15's lasted 4 hours, 42 minutes, and the HP Compaq tc4200's lasted 4 hours, 56 minutes. If you don't need the DVD drive, you might want to consider swapping it out for an additional slim SelectBay battery ($169), which Toshiba claims will give you a total of 6 hours of battery life (CNET did not test this battery).

Like most business systems, the Tecra M4 comes with a three-year warranty on the computer and a one-year warranty on the battery. We called at 9:43 p.m. PT and connected with a technical-support representative in just over a minute. The technical-support Web site includes a thorough knowledge base with a cute Ask Iris interface and plenty of information. The site also includes product-specific support bulletins and downloadable updates of every utility in the computer. If you want to post a question online, Toshiba links to a third-party user message board.

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  

Find out more about how we test Windows notebooks.

System configurations:
Averatec C3500
Windows XP Home; 1.67GHz Athlon XP-M 2200+; 512MB DDR SDRAM PC2700 333MHz; ATI Radeon IGP 320M 64MB; Fujitsu MHT2060AT 60GB 4,200rpm

HP Compaq tc4200
Windows XP Tablet 2005; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M 745; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM PC3200 400MHz; Intel 915GM 128MB; Toshiba MK6026GAX 60GB 5,400rpm

Toshiba Tecra M4
Windows XP Tablet 2002; 2GHz Intel Pentium M 760; DDR2 PC4200 533MHz SDRAM; Nvidia GeForce Go 6600 TE 64MB/6600 TE 128MB; Fujitsu MHT2080BH 80GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite R15-S822
Windows XP Tablet; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M 725; 512MB DDR SDRAM PC2700 333MHz; Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 5K100 60GN 60GB 5,400rpm

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