Toshiba Tecra A11 review

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.

Toshiba Tecra A11
Price
£649

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.

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