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Toshiba Portege 2000 review: Toshiba Portege 2000

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The Good Very small and light; exceptional battery life; includes USB 2.0 ports; built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking.

The Bad Slow; no built-in secondary storage drive; tough policy on LCD defects.

The Bottom Line If you need to travel light and work for hours at a stretch, the Portégé 2010 is made for you.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Battery 10.0
  • Support 9.0

Review Sections

Most notebooks include one battery and two internal drives, but the Toshiba Portégé 2010 turns the tables, with just one internal drive and two batteries. The result? An ultraportable notebook that costs a little more than $1,800 and runs for 5.5 hours with both batteries attached--long enough to fly from Los Angeles to New York, weather permitting. Unfortunately, this laptop can't back up your files to any drive but its own, unless you buy an optional external floppy or CD-RW drive. And the Portégé 2010 doesn't win any records for performance, either. But if you travel frequently with your notebook and can live with these trade-offs, this Toshiba combines the uptime that your workaholism craves with the portability that your road trips require. It's hard to imagine a better attempt at notebook miniaturization than the Portégé 2010. This Toshiba's beautiful, magnesium-alloy case weighs only 3.35 pounds with both batteries attached, but when you pack your briefcase, you can mix and match components to get just the right combination of portability and working time. For example, the AC-power supply bumps the 2010's total weight up to 4.2 pounds, but leaving the big battery and the AC adapter at home cuts the total weight to just 2.6 pounds. (Note, however, that in CNET's tests, the internal battery held out for only 1 hour, 40 minutes.) If you're flying to London, you could pack a second big battery, which costs $199 and should extend work time by almost 4 hours.

The notebook itself measures 9 inches deep and a bit more than 11 inches wide. Without the larger battery attached, this Portégé stands only 0.75 inches high--just thick enough for Toshiba to load the edges with plenty of ports. The keyboard feels comfortable, and its keys are plenty big, although they're noisy.



The touchpad and the mouse buttons are smaller than they need to be.


The keyboard is comfortable, although the Insert key sits too close to the spacebar.


We found a few aspects of the Portégé 2010's design annoying, however. For one thing, there's no easy place to grip the notebook's edges, so you need both hands to open it--one to press the clasp and the other to get a finger under the lid and lift. The touchpad and the buttons are small, too, even though it looks like Toshiba had plenty of room to make them bigger. The buttons don't give you any feedback when you click them, and the touchpad's cursor control feels sloppy. In addition, this laptop doesn't give you a pointing-stick option.

Other annoyances include Toshiba's placement of the Insert key, which sits next to the spacebar, making it much too easy to accidentally erase ahead as you type. Also, Toshiba's optical-drive options are expensive (a DVD/CD-RW combo costs $499) and fill the unit's one PC Card slot--a problem if you need to use that slot for other things, such as a Bluetooth card. Toshiba's external floppy drive runs on USB 2.0 and costs $99.


To minimize power consumption, Toshiba built the Portégé 2010 around some pedestrian components, but we think that the company made the right choices for the business traveler who wants an affordable and very portable system. For example, the 12.1-inch, diagonal LCD shows 1,024x768 pixels and runs on an integrated CyberAladdin-T graphics controller. The screen has good focus, although colors look somewhat washed out. But since the Portégé 2010 sports an 866MHz Intel Pentium III-M processor and doesn't have an optical drive, you shouldn't expect to run high-end CAD software or racing simulations anyway.

A small, raspy speaker on the bottom of the case takes the fun out of watching movies, although there is a headphone jack that can provide good sound if you use high-quality headphones. We're a little disappointed that the Portégé 2010 comes with only 256MB of memory, but you can easily unscrew a plate on the bottom and insert another 256MB module. A button on the notebook's right edge turns the Wi-Fi radio on and off (we tested battery time with Wi-Fi off), and next to it live an infrared port and a Type II PC Card slot. The left edge hosts a Secure Digital slot, and the back sports modem and Ethernet jacks, along with a video-out port and two fast USB 2.0 ports. A 30GB hard drive provides room for mountains of spreadsheets and memos.



The 12.1-inch screen displays 1,024x768 pixels.


USB 2.0 ports number among a healthy selection of slots.


Unfortunately, you get very few ways to configure the Portégé 2010 if you buy it online from Toshiba. You can increase the memory, choose Windows XP Pro or Windows 2000, upgrade the warranty, and buy extra peripherals, but that's it for options.

Other than the aforementioned OS choice, Toshiba supplies only a limited number of apps, including Adobe Acrobat Reader and Windows Media Player.


Don't expect the Portégé 2010 to set any performance records; in fact, the notebook finished last in our test group. One of the culprits for the lackluster performance is the system's graphics adapter. The Portégé 2010 uses a Trident Video Accelerator CyberBlade XP Ai1, which borrows 16MB of memory from the main system RAM to use as video memory. This significantly diminishes the Portégé 2010's performance, which scored below average compared to other 866MHz systems.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 performance rating  
Panasonic ToughBook T1
97 
Sony VAIO PCG-SRX99
86 
Toshiba Portégé 2010 (with large and small battery)
74 
Toshiba Portégé 2010 (with small battery)
72 
 
Find out more about how we test notebook systems.

System configurations:

Sharp Actius MV12W
Windows XP Professional; 1.13GHz Intel Pentium III-M; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; Intel 830MG integrated graphics 48MB; Hitachi DK23EA-40 40GB 4,200rpm

Sotec 3120X
Windows XP Home; 1.2GHz Celeron; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; SIS 630ST 32MB; IBM Travelstar 20GN 20GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Portégé 2010
Windows XP Professional; 933MHz Intel Pentium III-M; 240MB SDRAM 100MHz; Trident Video Accelerator CyberBlade X 16MB (shared); IBM Travelstar 30GN 30GB 4,200rpm

In battery life, the Portégé 2010 represents both ends of the spectrum. We tested in two ways: with just the internal, small cell installed, then with both the internal battery and the large, secondary cell. With the small 10.8V, 1,600mAh battery, the system scored much shorter battery life than average--more than 100 minutes less than the comparison systems. When we added the 10.8V, 3,600mAh external battery, results changed dramatically. With both cells running, the Portégé 2010 lasted nearly six hours, an incredibly long period compared to any system. As long as you don't mind attaching the external battery, the Portégé 2010 offers phenomenal battery life.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate longer battery life)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 battery life (in minutes)  
Toshiba Portégé 2010 (with large and small battery)
339 
Sony VAIO PCG-SRX99
218 
Panasonic ToughBook T1
212 
Toshiba Portégé 2010 (with small battery)
101 
 
To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark2002. MobileMark measures both applications 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:

Sharp Actius MV12W
Windows XP Professional; 1.13GHz Intel Pentium III-M; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; Intel 830MG integrated graphics 48MB; Hitachi DK23EA-40 40GB 4,200rpm

Sotec 3120X
Windows XP Home; 1.2GHz Celeron; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; SIS 630ST 32MB; IBM Travelstar 20GN 20GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Portégé 2010
Windows XP Professional; 933MHz Intel Pentium III-M; 240MB SDRAM 100MHz; Trident Video Accelerator CyberBlade X 16MB (shared); IBM Travelstar 30GN 30GB 4,200rpm


Toshiba provides excellent support--with one significant gap. The Portégé 2010 comes with a standard three-year warranty that includes free round-trip shipping for repairs and three years of toll-free, 24/7, live-human tech support. You can fortify the warranty with next-day, onsite service for $199.

Toshiba also bundles an informative manual on maintaining and upgrading the notebook, as well as another on battery management. Both manuals come in hard-copy and CD versions. On Toshiba's Web site, you'll find extensive FAQs and downloads. However, we find the company's policy on defective LCDs somewhat alarming; Toshiba won't replace your LCD unless you find between 10 and 18 dead or stuck pixels.

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