Tecra M4 â

Whilst aimed at business professionals, the new Toshiba tablet is an impressive creative machine with the right software.
Toshiba has launched the Tecra M4 for business professionals looking
for a ‘no compromise’ high-performance tablet PC that, through its
pen-based computing, offers them a way to be more productive. It
includes Intel’s newest mobile technology – a 2.13 Ghz Pentium M
processor and Mobile Intel 915PM Express chipset, an 80GB HDD, and a
nVidia 128 Mb graphics card to offer fast and crisp resolution of 3D
video, graphics and other imagery. The large 14.1″ screen offers 1400 x
1050 resolution, with a 145 dpi ratio to allow more light to be
transmitted for a clearer viewing experience. Toshiba has also included
a thin protective polycarbonate panel to protect the screen whilst it
is in use and provide users with a ‘natural’ writing experience.

The Tecra M4 includes a DVD SuperMulti double layer drive for reading
and writing all types of DVD formats. The DVD SuperMulti drive uses the
Slim SelectBay technology providing enhanced drive flexibility and
maximum adaptability. The Slim Select Bay supports a number of
different devices including second battery, second HDD or weight-saver
that are swappable. It also includes a full range of connectivity
options including wireless 801.11 a/b/g, two USB2 ports, to make it
easy to share and save information between devices.

Toshiba ‘EasyGuard’

Toshiba has equipped this model with Toshiba EasyGuard, an advanced
package of tools to enhance data security, system protection and ease
connectivity. As part of the EasyGuard premium package, the new model
includes:

*  HDD protection across three axes that unloads the HDD head
before it moves in the event of the notebook being dropped, preventing
damage from shock or vibration. Toshiba is the only notebook vendor to
include such technology over the three-axes motion;

*  The protection of sensitive data, encryption and digital
signatures to protect content and privacy through the inclusion of both
hardware and software (Toshiba Trusted Platform Module);

*  The inclusion of a software device lock that enables locking of
devices to prevent unauthorized access and theft of data, as well as an
external Kensington lock for physically protecting the notebook from
attempted theft.

In Use

Well this is a fast, capable and not too heavy notebook that converts
to a tablet at a swivel of the screen.  The battery life is
adequate, with approximately three hours of typical usage. The
processor is fast and the system is greatly assisted by coming with 1GB
of memory in the version we tested. We tried some very compute
intensive graphics software on the system and found it handled this
extremely well. It will not smoke a desktop system, but then you can’t
use one at a lakeside café whilst sipping a good bottle of red. The
display is great, bright, contrasty and has a good high resolution.

The tablet aspect worked very well. The pen is nicely responsive and we
had great pleasure using Alias SketchBook Pro 2 on it. Pressure
sensitivity worked well and the hand writing recognition capability of
this machine was impressive. We tried it with a half dozen people with
widely varying writing styles and found it did a very capable job of
handling all the writing styles unless we deliberately tried to be
illegible. Even the author’s script was handled well by the machine,
giving me the real feeling that I could successfully use this laptop as
a full-fledged digital notepad. I am impressed if it could handle my
handwriting. As an aside, this and other Tablet PCs usually use a Wacom
tablet technology. You can usually unlock extra tablet performance by
downloading the latest tablet driver from Wacom.

Apart from the weight of just under 3kg (or around 6.3lb.) you could
readily envisage carrying this machine around all the time. It is, of
course, not really heavy by notebook standards, but it is heavier than
a paper note pad. Machines like this illustrate one of the futures of
computers. The tablet aspect works great and it makes it a very
productive machine for designers and artists, given that it also has
the processor power and memory to be highly responsive. The processor
power means you can also perform compute intensive processes, like
Photoshop filters and 3D rendering on the machine. Of course it also
runs your business applications quickly.

While testing this machine I was struck by the possibility that these
machines are being marketed wrongly. Sold as a business notebook, which
makes sense from a price perspective, the people who could actually
exploit all the potential of these devices are graphic designers,
photographers and students. Sure students could do with a longer
battery life, but they could get so much out of a machine like this.

Toshiba (like everyone else) configures computers differently in
individual markets, it being a decision of the local marketing
organization as to what configuration is required in their marketplace.
We tested the Australian model, with 1GB of memory, 80GB hard disk and
a 2.13MHz processor, for A$4,950 rrp. In the US market they sell a base
model for US$1,699 with a much slower processor and less memory, and
then various optional configurations up to the machine we tested. So
check your exact local configuration.

This is a great machine and it is one of those pieces of kit that I am sorry to return. Highly recommended.

System Characteristics

Operating System

* Microsoft¨ Windows¨ XP Tablet Edition 2005

Intel¨ Centrino(TM) Mobile Technology featuring:

* Intel Pentium¨ M Processor 740 [1.73GHz, 2MB L2, 533MHz FSB] up to 770 [2.13GHz]

* Mobile Intel 915PM Express Chipset

* Intel¨ PRO/Wireless 2200BG (802.11b/g) Integrated Wi-Fi(TM) compliant wireless LAN

Memory

* Configured with 512MB DDR2 SDRAM (512MBx1), 1GB in machine tested

* 512MB(min)/2048MB (max), 2 memory slots using 256MB, 512MB, or 1024MB
PC4200 DDR2 533MHz SDRAM, dual-channel support requires two memory
modules (both memory slots may be occupied)

Mass Storage

* 60GB (5400 RPM) Serial-ATA (SATA) hard disk drive; 9.5mm height (80GB as tested)

Optical Disk Drive:

* Slim SelectBay DVD SuperMulti drive (double layer):

Maximum Speed:

CD-ROM (24x:read), CD-R (24x:write), CD-RW (10x:write), DVD-ROM
(8x:read), DVD-R (8x:write), DVD-RW (4x:write), DVD+R (Double Layer)
(2.4x:write), DVD+RW (4x:write), DVD-RAM (3x:write)

Display

* 14.1″ diagonal TFT active-matrix LCD display at 1400×1050 native resolution (SXGA+)

* Contrast: 500:1

* Brightness Control by Fn+F6/F7 and TOSHIBA Power Saver

Graphics

* NVIDIA¨ GeForce(TM) Go 6200 TE 64M (64MB DDR discrete graphics memory),
nVidia® GeForceFX(TM) Go 6600 with 128MB in tested configuration

Sound

* Analog Devices AD1981B integrated 16-bit stereo

* Built-in stereo speakers,

* Built-in microphone (monaural)

* Direct 3D Sound (supported by driver); DirectSound (supported by
driver), Direct Music (supported by driver), MIDI (play
back) support

* Sound Volume Control Dial

Input Devices

* Keyboard

* 85 key US keyboard, 2.7mm key stroke, 6mm keyboard height, 19.05mm key pitch

* Hot Key Functions (FN); please see electronic User’s Guide for more information

* Windows Key Function

* Application Key Function

* Pointing Devices:

* Toshiba TouchPad(TM) and A
ccupoint(TM) dual pointing device; Enable/Disable (FN+F9 or by help of software)

* Toshiba Digitizer Tablet Pen

* Buttons

* Toshiba Presentation Button

* Windows Security Button

* ESC/Display Rotation Button

* Cross Functional Button

Expandability

* 2 main memory slots. Both slots may be occupied.

* 1 Type II, PCMCIA R2.01, PC Card16, CardBus PC Card slot

* Secure Digital¨,slot

* Docking port for Advanced Port Replicator III or Tablet Dock II (see accessories)

Communications

* Integrated V.92 modem

* Marvell 88E8053 10Base-T / 100Base-TX / 1000Base-T (“Gigabit”) Ethernet

* Intel¨ Pro/Wireless 2200BG (802.11b/g) Integrated Wi-Fi compliant wireless LAN

Ports

* RGB (monitor) port

* TV-out (S-Video)

* i.LINK(tm) IEEE-1394

* 3 Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports (v2.0)

* External Microphone jack (monaural)

* Headphone jack (stereo)

* RJ-45 LAN port

* RJ-11 modem port

* Fast Infrared (4Mbps) (IrDA 1.1) port

* 240-pin docking connector

Physical Description

* Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 12.91” (289.7mm) x 11.41” (328mm) x 1.45” (36.9mm)[F]/1.51” (38.4mm)[R] without feet

* Weight: 6.2 lbs. (2800g) (min) ~ 6.4 lbs. (2900g) (max) depending upon configuration

Power Supply

* 75W (15V x 5A) Auto sensing external AC Adapter, 100~240V 50/60Hz (Universal) input.

* Weight: starting at 0.78 lb. (355 g)

* Dimensions (WxDxH): 5.00” (127.0mm) x 2.01” (51.0mm) x 1.20” (30.5mm)

Battery

* 6-cell (4700 mAh) rechargeable, removable Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack

* Battery Life (6-cell battery): Up to 3 hours 22 minutes (measured by MobileMark(TM))

* Weight: starting at 0.75 lb. (338 g)

* Recharge Time: approximately 3.0 hours (System Off) or approximately 5.5 to 13.0 hours (System On)

* Optional: 6-cell (3600 mAh) Slim SelectBay rechargeable, removable Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack (see Accessories)

* Battery Life (6-cell primary battery + 6-cell secondary battery): Up to 6 hours 9 minutes (measured by MobileMark(TM))

* Weight: starting at 0.62 lb. (280 g)

* Recharge Time (6-cell primary battery + 6-cell secondary battery):
approximately 6.0 hours (System Off) or approximately 9.5 to 22.5 hours
(System On)

Toshiba EasyGuard

Secure

* Infineon¨ Trusted Platform Module embedded security chip (Version 1.1)

* Execute Disable Bit (XD Bit)

* Physical Security

* Slot for cable lock;

* Items protected by a screw: Memory, Main HDD, Slim SelectBay Device

* Software Security

* Passwords: User Power-on password, Supervisor Password

* Toshiba Device Lock Utility

* Keyboard Lock and Screen Blank by Hotkey

* Screen Saver (by software).

Protect

* Shock Protector and Shock Absorption

* High-strength Magnesium casework

* Toshiba 3D Accelerometer

* Toshiba PC Diagnostics Tool

* Toshiba Management Console

Connect

* Toshiba ConfigFree(TM) with ConfigFree Summit feature

Optimize

* Toshiba Power Saver utility

* Toshiba Hotkey Utilities (see User’s Manual for description)

* Toshiba Zooming Utility

* Presentation Button

* Secure Digital slot

* One-touch Resolution Change

BIOS

* ACPI v1.0b, PNP v1.0a, VESA v2.0, DPMS, DDC, SM BIOS v2.34, PC BIOS v2.2 support

Software

Toshiba Software and Utilities

* Toshiba ConfigFree(TM)

* Toshiba Custom Utilities

* Electronic User’s Guide

Third-party Software

* Microsoft¨ Works(TM)

* Microsoft¨ Office OneNote(TM)

* Zinio Reader

* Franklin Covey Table Planner (30 Day Trial)

* Alias¨ SketchBook(TM) Pro (30 Day Trial)

* Software Decoder: Intervideo¨ (WinDVD(TM) 5)

* Sonic¨ Solutions Drive Letter Access (DLA)

* Sonic¨ Solutions RecordNow! Basic

* eTrust(TM) EZ Firewall (30 Day Trial)

* McAfee VirusScan (30 Day Trial)

* AOL¨ Internet Service14 (3 Month offer)

* AT&T¨ Worldnet¨ Service15 (1 Month offer)

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