Toshiba Tecra R950-11F review
With an Intel Ivy Bridge chipset, mobile broadband receiver and 500GB of storage, this sub-£800 Tecra is a useful all-round Windows 7 laptop.
Toshiba's Tecra R950-11F may lack flair, but beneath the uninspiring design is a high performance 15.6in machine ready to cater to the needs of a business user.
At 772 ex VAT, the Tecra boasts solid specifications including Intel's latest chipset, a 500GB hard drive and even mobile broadband as standard.
Our review model came with an Intel Core i5-3320M processor, which was partnered by 4GB of RAM. The Ivy Bridge chip ran at 2.6GHz, and its four cores delivered a benchmark score of 0.71. This was several notches below the fastest machines we've reviewed such as the latest MacBook Pro (0.92), but it's powerful enough to comfortably handle word processing, business and multimedia apps.
The star of the show is the Ericsson F5321gw mobile broadband adapter, which helps the Tecra deliver connectivity on the move. The dual-band wireless card is a cut above what we expect on mid-range machines. It's 3G rather than 4G and you'll have to provide your own SIM, but it's a rare inclusion, even in high-end machines.
Toshiba has included a 500GB hard disk which spins at a nippy 7,200rpm, faster than you'd usually find inside a laptop. There's plenty to like about the rest of the specification too. Intel vPro technology is included, providing built-in management and security features.
There's extra security provided by a TPM 1.2 module, a DVD writer and graphics comes from an Intel HD Graphics 4000 core. It's the more powerful of Intel's two current integrated GPUs and, whilst it won't allow for high-end graphical work, its 31fps result in our Low quality Crysis test indicates that it's more powerful than its predecessors.
The Tecra comes with a 2.6GHz Ivy Bridge chip and 4GB of RAM
The 5,700mAh, six-cell battery didn't quite manage to deliver all-day usage. Heavy and light use benchmark results indicate the device will last between two to six hours, making it useful at press conferences. Long haul flights will require you to carry a spare pack or risk running out of juice.
Toshiba doesn't offer as many customisation options as Dell or Lenovo, but it's still possible to tinker with the specification. One system is available with a slightly slower Core i5-3210M processor and a smaller 320GB hard disk, and cheaper models don't have luxuries such as the mobile broadband chip.
The one-year warranty is a tad disappointing but, when it comes to services, Toshiba does offer a chance to lengthen the deal. Upgrading to a two-year warranty costs 32 ex VAT, and switching to a three-year deal adds 71 to the price.
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