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Toshiba's Tecra Notebooks Just Keep Rollin' Along


Toshiba is known the world over for its long list of consumer electronics products. The company doesn't, however, produce or sell desktop PCs; instead, it has focused on notebook computing, which has made it one of the most respected brands in the notebook PC industry.

Sitting at the top of Toshiba's notebook hierarchy is the Tecra line. When Toshiba first rolled out the Tecra brand in the 1990s, it was targeted at office workers who needed the most reliable and flexible platform for expansion. That is still the case. Tecras are business computers. Generally, their components, buttons, slots, connectors and ports change more slowly so that small, medium and large businesses can train employees to use a computer without worrying that the computer will be obsolete in three to six months, as are some consumer models. Slower change also means that support and repair are less of a problem as time passes and Tecra notebooks age.

We look at two Tecra models, the A8 notebook and the M7 Tablet PC notebook. The notebooks are different in a number of ways, but the components in each of our tested units were almost exactly the same. This leads to an interesting question, do both notebooks perform similarly, given their near matching components? That question is answered below.

In addition to performance, we focus on three other aspects of the Toshiba Tecras: how they look outside and in (including the location of all buttons, slots, ports and switches), their components and other features and the quality of their displays. We'll start with exterior and interior photos of both units.

Exterior And Interior Photos Of The Tecra A8

With dimensions of 10.5" x 14.25" x 1.75" and a weight of 5lb 14oz (2.67 kg), the A8 is firmly in the middle weight and size notebook class.

The A8 has a 15.4" wide screen display with a resolution of up to 1280x800.

The Tecra A8 has a built in biometric fingerprint reader (bottom right), and not one but two methods of built-in mouse control: there is the touchpad (bottom center) and the Accupoint pointing device in the middle of the keyboard as well. Long before the touchpad became the notebook mouse of choice, Toshiba was shipping Tecra units with Accupoint. Essentially it is a little "finger" that you use to navigate, much like a joystick. Some people love it, while others are less enthusiastic; ultimately, it's all about choice and, unlike many notebooks, the A8 gives you a choice.

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