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Toshiba Tecra R950 review

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Toshiba Tecra R950

Toshiba's Tecra R950 is essentially a replacement for a desktop PC. As such, it cannot match models such as the new ultrabooks for lightweight portability, but it does offer greater comfort, good connectivity, plus better security and easier maintenance for corporate buyers.

Pros:

DVD drive, easy maintenance, smartcard reader, decent sized display

Cons:

Relatively large and heavy, touchpad offset due to numeric keypad

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £959

Manufacturer: Toshiba

The Tecra R950 is a new addition to Toshiba's corporate laptop line, updating the brand with the latest Ivy Bridge version of Intel's Core vPro processors. It is a laptop designed for comfort and convenience without compromising portability too much while on the road.

Announced in June and available now, the R950 is a mainstream business laptop, and so is larger and heavier than the current vogue for ultraportable or ultrabook models, featuring a 15.6in display with a 16:9 ratio and weighing in at 2.49kg.

To set against that, the Tecra R950 is equipped with an array of ports and connectivity options, and also includes features not practical on smaller laptops, such as a built-in DVD drive and numeric keypad, removable battery. It also offers easy access to the memory and hard drive for maintenance.

As a corporate laptop, the Tecra is also enabled for security and management tools such as Intel's Anti-Theft technology, and includes a fingerprint scanner, trusted platform module (TPM) security chip, and a built-in smartcard reader.

Toshiba will also make Smart Client Manager software available to buyers of its business laptops. Based on IBM's Tivoli suite, this provides centralised power control, patch management and security tools, the latter preventing laptops from booting up when away from the corporate network unless a special USB authentication key is presented.

This will be available at no cost to Toshiba users, and is set for availability within weeks.

Toshiba Tecra R950

Although relatively large, with a footprint of 379x252mm, the Tecra R950 is relatively slim with a height of no more than 25.4mm at its thickest point when closed. But it is the weight of nearly 2.5kg that could put off some potential purchasers of this model, especially as lighter laptops (such as Toshiba's own Portégé Z830) are becoming more capable.

For the size, users get a Core i5-3320M dual-core processor with 4GB memory (expandable to 8GB), plus a 500GB, 7,200rpm Sata hard drive and a DVD Super Multi drive which can handle writable optical media as well as read DVDs and CDs.

As you would expect for a modern business laptop, the Tecra also has connectivity options including 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, gigabit Ethernet and a mobile broadband modem featuring HSPA+ download speeds up to 21Mbit/s.

One thing the Tecra R950 has going for it is build quality, with a reassuringly sturdy feel thanks to the mix of high strength composite materials used in its construction. The case itself is also decorated on all its upper surfaces with a pattern of fine ridges, giving it a nice tactile feel.

Model: Tecra R950-11F
Display: 15.6in, 1,366x768
Processor: Intel 2.6GHz Core i5-3320M dual-core
RAM: 4GB (8GB max)
Storage: 500GB Sata hard drive
Wireless connections: 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, mobile broadband HSPA+
Ports: Ethernet, 2 x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB/eSata combo port, VGA, DisplayPort, smartcard slot, multi-card reader slot
Camera: 1MP (1,280x800) webcam
Dimensions: 379x252x25mm
Weight: 2.49kg

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Daniel Robinson
About

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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