A solid laptop with plenty of business-focused features. Battery life is a concern, though, and the majority of corporate users would do best to save some money by opting for one of the versions with a slower CPU. Cheaper alternatives from rivals such as Dell are also available.
Powerful processor; solid chassis; good range of features; decent keyboard.
Poor battery life; expensive compared to the competition; no built-in 3G module.
Toshiba's Tecra range of laptops is aimed squarely at business users, with security, robustness and solid performance taking priority over the bells and whistles found on its Satellite and Satellite Pro lines. And with a rather mundane all-black chassis weighing in at 2.4kg, the new Tecra M11 certainly isn't one to set pulses racing.
It is sturdily built, however, and should be able to withstand being regularly carried between sites. The 320GB hard drive features Toshiba's shock protection, which automatically parks the drive head when a fall is detected. During testing we found this was a little too eager to activate itself, but thankfully it's possible to adjust the sensitivity.
Various versions of the Tecra M11 are available. Our review sample is the top-of-the-range M11-11M, which is powered by an Intel Core i7-620M processor. With two cores running at 2.6GHz, this is one of Intel's faster mobile processors, but it also pushes up the price of the laptop.
Business users planning to do little more than send email, browse the web and show presentations would do well to save some money and opt for the Tecra M11-11K version (£699) with its slower, but still capable, Core i3 processor.
The Core i7 CPU helped power the Tecra M11 to a decent overall score of 6786 in PCMark05, indicating that the laptop will have no problems running processor-intensive tasks. A higher-than-average score of 6291 was achieved in the hard drive test within PCMark05, thanks to the drive spinning at 7,200rpm; most laptops feature 5,400rpm drives.
A total of 4GB DDR3 memory comes fitted as standard, but the laptop can only make use of 3GB due to Toshiba's pre-installing the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Professional. As is the case with the majority of Toshiba's business laptops, an XP Professional downgrade disk is supplied.
All versions of the Tecra M11 come with the same 14in screen, which has a widescreen resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels. Toshiba has sensibly decided not to go down the glossy display route that irks so many business users, and the Tecra M11 is far less likely to be plagued by reflections as a result.
Along with a standard trackpad, the Tecra M11 comes with a trackpoint controller located in the centre of the keyboard. More commonly associated with Lenovo ThinkPads, this can be used as an alternative to the trackpad at the base of the keyboard. A pair of buttons placed just below the space bar allows for quick-access left and right mouse clicks while using the trackpoint.
The keyboard features full-sized keys that have a good amount of travel, making it far easier to type on compared to the low-profile keyboards that tend to dominate the market.
Our only slight concern is the slimmed-down Enter key; at first we kept missing it and hitting the neighbouring keys, but it doesn't take too long to get used to the design.