Toshiba Portege 4010 (Pentium III-M 933 MHz review:

Toshiba Portege 4010 (Pentium III-M 933 MHz

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MSRP: $2,199.00
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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Great design; lightweight; long battery life; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options; FireWire port.

The Bad Small display; mediocre performance; awkward trackpoint and key layout.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba Portégé 4010 is one of the smallest, lightest, and sexiest corporate notebooks around.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.3 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Battery 8.0
  • Support 8.0

All work and no play makes for a dull PC. Thankfully, the Toshiba Portégé 4010, a thin-and-light notebook for execs, isn't boring in the least, and it offers advanced features for after-hours fun. Its relatively modest components--a 933MHz Pentium III-M processor, 256MB of RAM, a slow 30GB hard drive, and a Trident CyberBlade PAi1 graphics accelerator with shared system memory--won't set any new speed records. But the Portégé 4010 makes up for mediocre performance with an eye-catching magnesium-alloy case; integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking; a Secure Digital (SD) slot for transferring files with digital cameras, MP3 players, and other peripherals; and a FireWire port for digital video--all in a package that weighs as little as 3.8 pounds. The Portégé 4010 bears out Toshiba's reputation for building thin, lightweight, and striking notebooks. Its sturdy, silver-colored, magnesium-alloy case contrasts nicely with its charcoal-colored keyboard, wrist rest, and display bezel. Sharp angles and curves on the front and back edges, along with oversized speakers on either side of the display's hinge lend the 4010 more flair than your typical business notebook.



Rear-panel right.


Rear-panel left.


The Portégé 4010 weighs 4.2 pounds, but if you're willing to forgo the DVD drive, the system weight dips as low as 3.8 pounds--among the lightest systems in its class. (The power adapter adds 0.7 pounds to the total travel weight.) But although the Portégé 4010's overall footprint is surprisingly compact (10.5 inches wide by 9.8 inches deep) given its long list of features, it is not the slimmest in the thin-and-light class, measuring 1.4 inches thick.




Audio ports, volume control, and PC Card slots line the left side.
Unfortunately, Toshiba places many of the most frequently used ports--including the two USB ports, a single FireWire port, and 56K modem and Ethernet jacks--on the back panel, so they're a little tougher to access when plugging in phone cords, digital cameras, and PDAs. On the other hand, it also keeps cords neatly out of the way when typing. By contrast, the AC adapter connector and headphone jack are within easy reach on the left side, and the SelectBay, which accommodates a variety of optical drives or a second battery, is located on the right side, along with the SD slot.

A convenient panel on the front edge of the system lets you toggle wireless networking on and off, as well as monitor the status of the battery, the hard drive, and other system components. Because the edge of the screen is angled, you can see the status lights with the display open or closed.




Status lights on the front panel.


The tracking point and four mouse buttons.


When it comes to the keyboard and cursor controls, the Portégé 4010's tight design may have gotten the better of Toshiba's engineers. For example, the company buries the pointing stick within the adjacent keys, making it a little more difficult to control than the ones on the ThinkPad. The four mouse buttons, two of which are programmable, are arranged vertically, which takes some getting used to. The arrangement of the keys is also a little unorthodox; the Tab and Backspace keys are too small, and the Insert key is located precariously next to the spacebar. But these niggling keyboard flaws are relatively minor issues. Unlike Toshiba's more consumer-oriented Satellite, the Portégé line is designed largely for execs already used to traveling with a notebook.


Toshiba made some bold decisions with the Portégé 4010's features. Perhaps its biggest compromise is the 12-inch display, which is smaller than that of most thin-and-lights. But the company also dropped some run-of-the-mill features, including the legacy PS/2, serial, and parallel ports, in order to make room for more advanced features without increasing the size and weight.

The Portégé 4010 houses a 933MHz mobile Pentium III processor; 256MB of memory; a 30GB, 4,200rpm hard drive; and a Trident CyberBlade XP Ai1 video controller that borrows 16MB of the system memory. This basic graphics accelerator drives a 12-inch display with a default resolution of 1,024x768. These specs won't make it a top performer in its class; similar systems offer more powerful mobile Pentium 4-M processors, larger displays, and better graphics.



The drive and the SD slot on the right-hand side.
A swappable 8X DVD drive comes standard with the Portégé 4010, but the slim SelectBay can also accommodate a combo CD-RW/DVD drive ($249), an extra battery ($152.10), or a 30GB hard drive ($399; requires a separate $49 adapter). The two-spindle system--hard drive and DVD drive--doesn't include a floppy drive, but you can purchase an external unit for $99.

The notebook's lid sports built-in antennae for the two most common wireless-networking standards (Bluetooth and Wi-Fi), and some configurations include both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radio transmitters and receivers; a button on the notebook's front edge lets you turn the radio transmitters on and off. The Portégé 4010 also comes with a standard Ethernet port, a V.90 modem, and an infrared port.

Another unique feature of Toshiba notebooks is the integrated SD-media-encrypted flash-memory card, which makes it easy to transfer files from digital cameras, MP3 players, and other gadgets. You'll also find a FireWire and two USB ports, as well as two Type II (one Type III) PC Card slots.


The Portégé 4010 performed about as we expected for a system with its specs. Its 933MHz Pentium III-M processor, 256MB of memory, 4,200rpm hard drive, and Trident CyberBlade XP Ai1 video controller with shared memory are all decent midrange components, but they don't set any speed records. In other words, the 4010's performance is average but not outstanding.

Mobile application performance
On everyday applications tests, the Portégé 4010's integrated Trident CyberBlade XP Ai1 video card and shared memory architecture failed to make waves. In fact, even the Sony VAIO we tested, which has a slower 850MHz processor, outperformed the Portégé 4010 by a significant margin. Of course, the 1.7GHz Compaq Evo blew both the Sony and the Toshiba out of the water.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 performance rating  
Compaq Evo N800c
123 
Sony VAIO PCG-VX88
88 
Toshiba Portégé 4010
64 
 
System configurations:

Compaq Evo N800c
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 64MB; Toshiba MK3018GAP 30GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO PCG-VX88
Windows XP Home; 850MHz Intel Pentium III-M; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; Intel 82815 graphics controller 4MB; IBM Travelstar 30GN 30GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Portégé 4010
Windows XP Professional; 933MHz Intel Pentium III-M; 240MB SDRAM 100MHz; Trident Video Accelerator CyberBlade X 16MB (shared); IBM Travelstar 30GN 30GB 4,200rpm


On battery tests, the notebooks we compared fell in line according to processor speed. The Compaq Evo, with its faster, more power-hungry processor came in a distant third at less than 2 hours, while the Sony's 11.1-volt, 3,600mAh lithium-ion battery placed first, lasting an incredible 3 hours, 49 minutes. The Portégé 4010, which uses a 10.8-volt, 3,600mAh lithium-ion battery, was only 10 minutes off the lead. Its score of 3 hours, 51 minutes is exceptional, especially when you consider that it's smaller and lighter than many of its competitors.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 battery life (in minutes)  
Sony VAIO PCG-VX88
229 
Toshiba Portégé 4010
219 
Compaq Evo N800c
105 
 
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).

System configurations:

Compaq Evo N800c
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 64MB; Toshiba MK3018GAP 30GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO PCG-VX88
Windows XP Home; 850MHz Intel Pentium III-M; 256MB SDRAM 133MHz; Intel 82815 graphics controller 4MB; IBM Travelstar 30GN 30GB 4,200rpm

Toshiba Portégé 4010
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 makes owning a Portégé 4010 easy, backing the system with a confidence-building three-year warranty that includes two-day repair service and free, toll-free, 24/7 tech support. The system comes with a long, detailed manual and an online help system, and Toshiba's Web site provides extensive information such as downloads, support bulletins, user guides, a repair center, and e-mail access to technicians.



The Toshiba Console.
The Portégé 4010 includes several excellent utilities, most notably the Toshiba Console, an applet that you can quickly launch by pressing a button at the top of the keyboard. This console not only lets you customize your computer but also helps you configure network settings for wired and wireless network connections, including Bluetooth.

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