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Toshiba Tecra R850-10R review: Toshiba Tecra R850-10R

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The Good Great keyboard; Fast performance; Integrated mobile broadband; Professional looking design.

The Bad HDMI port would be more useful than DisplayPort; Screen resolution is disappointingly low.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba R850 offers good performance and is comfy to use, thanks to its excellent keyboard and anti-glare screen. The fact it also includes integrated mobile broadband helps to make it a pretty compelling option for those after a laptop to use on the go.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.3 Overall

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Toshiba's R850 is designed for life on the go, with a built-in mobile broadband modem so you can access the Internet from anywhere you can get mobile reception. It doesn't come cheap, however, currently costing around £1,010 online. Let's see if it's worth it.

Chrome aroma

This laptop may be designed for people who want to use it for work rather than play, but it's still a good looking machine. The matte black finish won't show up scratches as readily as glossy consumer laptops, and it's saved from looking too dull by the ridged effect Toshiba has used on the lid and wrist rest.

The chunky chrome screen hinges also look ace and there's more chrome found on the Toshiba logo emblazoned on the lid. For a 15-inch model it's pretty thin at 25mm, and light too, weighing in at around 2.5kg.

The R850's chrome hinges and sleek lid show it means business.

Flip open the lid and you find yourself staring at the 15.6-inch anti-glare screen. Its colours aren't quite as punchy as those you get from glossy displays, but the lack of reflections make it easier on the eyes when you're putting in long hours in the park finishing off PowerPoint presentations. The resolution of 1,366x768 pixels is disappointing for a machine in this price range, and viewing angles, although not exactly tight, aren't generously wide either.

In control

We loved the keyboard on this model's younger brother, the R840, and thankfully the one used here is very similar, although its wider and adds a numerical keypad on the right hand side. The keyboard uses tile-type keys that are wide and flat and have plenty of space between them. The action is snappy too, so it feels very responsive under you fingers, especially as there's very little flex when you apply pressure to it.

Unlike most laptops we see today, the R850 has both a pointer stick and a trackpad. There are also two sets of buttons: two at the top of the pad for use with the pointer and two at the bottom for when you're working with the pad. Both the pointer and pad are well designed and comfortable to use, and the buttons are wide and responsive too.

The machine isn't lacking ports either. There are two USB 2.0 ports along with a combined eSata/USB 2.0 port that's enabled for sleep and charge. This means you can use it to charge portable devices, such as smart phones, when the laptop is turned off -- something frequent travellers will find useful. There's also a high-speed USB 3.0 port that's handy for connecting up fast hard drives.

Toshiba's traditional pointy nubbin gives a more tactile alternative to the trackpad.

Video output is taken care of by a standard VGA port, but next to it on the left-hand side there's also a DisplayPort socket. The latter still isn't in common usage, so perhaps a HDMI port would have been more useful. Nevertheless, there are a few other extras including a Smart Card and memory card reader.

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