Toshiba Tecra S1

By Carla Thornton
Tags:notebook computers,notebook computersToshiba Tecra S1 notebook computers,Toshiba Tecra S1 notebook computersnotebook computers notebook computers
WHAT'S HOT: The Toshiba Tecra S1 we tested blazed through our benchmark tests, earning a PC WorldBench 4 score of 125--the highest score we've recorded for a notebook so far. The Tecra S1 also lasted an astonishing 6.6 hours on one battery charge in our tests--another new record--and boasts dual pointing devices. At 6.5 pounds (not including the power adapter), it's reasonably light for travel carrying.

WHAT'S NOT: The laptop is not cheap--it will set you back $2879--and productivity software will cost you extra. Also, the optical drive in our test machine was extremely difficult to remove. While it was easy to slide the release latch, we had to use the flat end of a screwdriver to pry the drive out of the bay.

WHAT ELSE: Typical of corporate systems, the Tecra S1 takes a conservative approach to ports: It has parallel, serial, PS/2, and 10/100 ethernet networking ports, plus three USB 2.0 ports and a Secure Digital memory card slot. However, it has neither S-Video-out nor FireWire.

Our review unit had a 15-inch XGA screen; for $150 more, you can opt for a 15-inch UXGA screen. The 802.11b Wi-Fi switch located on the front (where you'll also find the headphone and microphone ports) makes it a snap to flip wireless transmitting on and off. For enhanced security, the hard drive slides out easily. The S1's firm, no-nonsense keyboard has a satisfyingly crisp feel. Both sets of the Tecra's mouse buttons are a tad stiff. Once we discovered that a right mouse button is embedded in the top frame of the touchpad, we found it easier to use.

The Tecra S1's audio pours loudly out of speakers jutting from the back corners of the keyboard, and we appreciated the volume wheel on the left side of the case. An on-screen user's guide in Acrobat format documents the notebook thoroughly, but the index is not hyperlinked. (Print documentation is limited to a basic guide.)

UPSHOT: The Tecra S1 earns just about every dime of its high $2879 price with the fastest notebook performance and the longest battery life we've seen yet.