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.

A solid all-rounder

Plenty of ports and sockets sit around the Tecra's exterior. The right-hand side offers USB 3 and USB 2 sockets, an eSATA port and Gigabit Ethernet, and the left-hand side provides another USB 3 socket and a card reader alongside D-SUB and DisplayPort outputs.

Toshiba Tecra -  Side

USB 3 and USB 2 sockets, an eSATA port and Gigabit Ethernet jack are conveniently located on the edge

Although it's not the prettiest machine we have encountered, there are plenty of neat touches abound when the lid is lifted. The trackpad is partnered by a Lenovo ThinkPad-style trackpoint that has its own pair of buttons and, if that's what you prefer to use, a small button turns off the trackpad entirely. There's a fingerprint reader between the lower pair of mouse buttons and blinking below is a row of status lights that indicate power, battery levels, hard disk activity, WiFi connections and more. A couple of buttons above the keyboard activate the Windows Mobility Center and handle external monitor options.

Toshiba Tecra - Back

Despite the uninspiring exterior, the device is suitable for business use

The dull-looking exterior won't win any style awards, but it's sturdy. The right-hand side of the wrist-rest is particularly strong, with the left a little weaker, but that's the only area where the Tecra is anything less than rock-solid. The 15.6in lid doesn't flex too much under pressure and the underside of the laptop doesn't give much away, either. Like any laptop we'd transport this in a carry case but we've no qualms about taking the Toshiba on our travels.

There's a rare amount of versatility when the Tecra is turned over, too. The RAM, hard disk and wireless chip are all stored under removable flaps, and it's easy to replace parts: the memory slots are stacked atop one another with one of them vacant, and the hard disk fits into a small caddy.

Conclusion

There aren't many customisation options, but we've found few fault's with Toshiba's latest business machine: reasonable power augmented with 3G, a good keyboard and mouse as aswell as a sturdy, unfussy chassis. The 772 exc VAT price means it's a level or two below the best business workstations but, if those are out of reach, this is a capable and versatile all-rounder.

ITPRO Recommended award

Verdict

Toshiba’s Tecra R950-11F looks like a dull business laptop, but its plastic exterior is hard-wearing and it’s got the fundamentals covered extremely well: a reasonable screen, great keyboard and mouse, and enough power inside to get the job done. Dell and Lenovo offer workstations that do more, but not for at £772 exc VAT.

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit PROCESSOR: 2.6GHz Intel Core i5-3320M RAM: 4GB DDR3 STORAGE: 500GB HDD SCREEN: 15.6 in 1,366 x 768 CONNECTIVITY: 802.11n dual-band WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, Mobile Internet PORTS: 2 x USB 3, 1 x USB 2, DisplayPort, D-SUB, SD card reader, 2 x audio, eSATA OPTICAL DRIVE: DVD writer DIMENSIONS: 379 x 252 x 25mm (WxDxH) WEIGHT: 2.5kg WARRANTY: 1yr RTB

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