Toshiba Tecra R840 review
Toshiba's Tecra line-up is filled no-nonsense business laptops that are superbly capable performers. The R840 is no exception, squeezing a Core i7 processor and optical drive into a compact 14in chassis.
The metallic finish and sharp lines look delightfully minimalist, but also feel reassuringly sturdy. In spite of its diminutive dimensions, we're confident of its ability to withstand the bumps and scrapes that are the inevitable side-effect of regular travel. At a shade under 2kg, it won’t weigh you down too much, either.
Despite being very compact, we found the Tecra a joy to use for day-to-day tasks thanks to its full-size keyboard. The glossy coating on the keys makes them a little slippery, but there’s enough spring in each key that we were always sure our keystrokes had been registered. The touchpad is a little on the small side, but the smooth plastic finish let our fingers glide across its surface with minimal resistance. There are two sets of buttons; one for the touchpad and another for the touch stick in the centre of the keyboard. Both felt slightly stiff, but with firm feedback when registering clicks.
Image quality on the 14in screen is reasonable, with average vertical viewing angles but a huge amount of screen tilt. The 1,366x768 resolution is enough for most single tasks, although a little too cramped to work effectively on multiple documents side-by-side. The matt screen finish helps diffuse reflections, but it does dim the image somewhat; colours appeared to have a slight blue hue, even at the optimum viewing angle. The small pair of speakers produces adequate audio at medium volume, but at the maximum setting there was a slight distortion in the treble frequencies of our test tracks.
Performance was impressive thanks to the dual-core Intel Core i7-2620M processor. It usually runs at 2.7GHz but can also use Turbo Boost to speed up to 3.4GHz. This, along with 6GB of RAM, helped it to achieve a very reasonable 64 in our multimedia benchmarks, so few applications will trouble the Tecra. Amazingly, this power doesn’t come at the expense of battery life either; a fantastic result of eight and a half hours in our light-use test means you could work all day without being near a mains socket.
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