Toshiba Tecra A11 review

Reviews 2 Mar, 2010

After our first look at the Tecra A11 at Toshiba’s 2010 press day, in this review we take an in-depth look at this new business notebook.

4
Price: 
£649
ex. VAT
Verdict: 
Its size, weight and average battery life mean the Tecra A11 is not ideal for frequent use on the move and the absence of vPro for remote management may limit its interest to larger enterprises. Its low resolution screen is also a potentially limiting factor. Those caveats aside, however, the A11 is a speedy and very useable machine that offers good value – though there are rivals from HP and Sony that will do similar with more panache.

Toshiba’s Tecra range caters for business users and its new A11 is part of its ‘Everyday Computing’ category. So while it’s likely to be well featured there might be some omissions and compromises to embrace/withstand.

The A11 immediately hits the spot though by featuring an Intel Core i5 M520 processor under the hood - even more powerful than the Core i3 we saw in our first look review sample. In CPU architecture terms this chip is a step change from Intel’s already impressive Core2 design. It’s a good choice for a business laptop thanks to native dual-cores and Hyper-Threading, enabling it to operate on four software threads at once. It can overclock automatically from a standard 2.4GHz to 2.93GHz when required and has new instructions to speed up AES security decryption.

The results speak for themselves. The overall benchmark score of 1.42 comfortably outpaces the 1.25 we obtained from the Toshiba Satellite L500 we reviewed last month, and just edges the score from the similarly Core i5-equipped Sony Vaio VPCS11V9E/B, though it’s worth noting that the Sony costs close to £1,200, nearly double the price of the Tecra A11.

The CPU is backed up with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and this is provided on a single DIMM, leaving one free for user upgrading - the system supports up to a maximum of 8GB. Graphics are provided by an Intel QM57 Express graphics chip and in our benchmarks this delivered noticeably better performance in the 2D graphics part of the test than previous generation integrated graphics.

Specifications: 

Processor: Intel Core i5 M520 2.4Ghz, (2.93GHz Turbo), 1,066fsb, 3MB level 3 cache

Memory: 2GB DDR3 (1.8GB usable) (Max 4GB)

Graphics: Intel QM57 Express

Optical drive: Matshita UJ890AS DVD-RAM

Hard disk: 250GB Fujitsu MJA2250BH G2

Display: 15.6in, 1,366 x 768

Features: Speakers, webcam, Kensington lock

Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Centrino Advanced-N 6200 AGN

Ports: VGA, Mini DisplayPort, 3 x USB, e-SATA, headphone, microphone socket, integrated microphone, Express card, docking support, memory card slot (SD, Memory Stick).

Dimensions: (W x D x H) 374mm x 250.5mm x 37.6mm

Weight: 2.54Kg

Warranty: 1 yr parts and labour

OS: Windows 7 Professional 32-bit

Software: Toshiba Bulletin board, Toshiba Reeltime