Kamis, 27 November 2008

Toshiba Portege M700-S7002

. Kamis, 27 November 2008

Although its tablet PC lineup may not be as impressive as Fujitsu 's, Toshiba has put together a solid and diverse array of convertible tablets over the past several years. The Toshiba Portégé M700-S7002 ($1,799 direct) is a convertible tablet that competes with the Fujitsu LifeBook T4000 Series and the ASUS R1, offering a wide selection of bred-for-performance, standard-voltage processors. Although not the lightest model by tablet standards, the M700 has a built-in optical drive to soothe some of the grumbling over its weight.

The M700-S7002 measures 9.5 by 11.8 by 1.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.5 pounds. You can't tell at first glance, but the system has received a considerable makeover from its predecessor, the Portégé M400-S4032. It retains a boxy look, absent any visual eye-candy that might make it look less like a business machine and more like its prettier sibling, the Portégé R400-S4931. But it adds a new hinge design, a widescreen, and a webcam. The optical drive is essentially the reason why tablets like the Fujitsu LifeBook T4210 and the ASUS R1 are thicker and less attractive than those that forgo the drive. It doesn't help either that the Wacom-enabled screens—the technology that drives handwriting recognition—have sensors beneath the tablet's surface that thicken the screen and thus increase the tablet's overall dimensions. So even though the M700 now has a widescreen format and an LED backlight, usually signaling a thinner screen, the Wacom technology counteracts that effect.
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The M700's built-in optical drive, a rarity in the tablet space, gives you the ability to burn DVDs, watch DVD flicks, and install software. In shopping for a tablet, you have to ask yourself how important these capabilities are to you. If you decide to opt out of a built-in optical drive, there is a wealth of other options. The Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet and the Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 start at 3.5 pounds and 3.9 pounds, respectively. Devices like the HTC Shift and the OQO model 02 bring an alternative method of tablet computing, with their ultra-mobile platforms.

The best part about convertible tablets is their ability to expose a keyboard with one swivel of the screen. In the M700's case, the full-size keyboard is very pleasant to type on. As for other not-so-conspicuous enhancements, the Portégé R400's latchless design is carried over to the M700. The rotating screen is locked into position by two pegs near the hinge, in place of a locking mechanism in the front bezel. According to Toshiba, this design will beef up the hinge by 35 percent, holding the screen steady at multiple angles.

In addition to the Wacom digitized screen, the M700 also incorporates touch-screen capabilities. If whipping out the digitized pen (stored near the system's base, on the left side) is too much of a chore, your fingers can take its place. For pen input, the combination of Vista's tablet platform and Wacom technology is unmatched. Touch sensitivity on the screen is terrific for navigating, but the handwriting recognition and the pen-on-paper feel take advantage of the digitized screen and pen. The two different functions don't interfere with one another, either: Once you place the pen against the tablet's surface, touch capabilities instantaneously take a back seat. Other convertible tablets that integrate both touch and Wacom technology include the Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet and the HP Pavilion tx2000z.

Various buttons alongside the screen are useful when operating in tablet mode. You can find a miniature joystick for scrolling, a Windows security button, a display rotation button, and several customizable application keys. The dual-layer DVD burner is also modular, which means you can substitute an extra hard drive for it (but not an extra battery). A built-in 1.3-megapixel webcam gives you face time with family members and business associates, while three USB ports and the FireWire port should be enough for other peripherals. The one thing I would like to see is 3G support, either from Sprint's or Verizon's EV-DO Rev A or AT&T's HSDPA technology. While the M700 comes with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet, adding a cellular modem would have given the Lenovo X61 Tablet a run for its money.

As with its predecessor, the Portégé M700 offers a variety of Intel processors to choose from—both past and present chips. My review unit came configured with a 2.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 processor, which is based on last year's "Merom" technology. More expensive versions with a "Penryn" core—namely, the 2.1-GHz T8100 and 2.4-GHz T8300, are also available. Either way, this is a performance seeker's tablet because it uses standard-voltage processors rather than the low-voltage ones found on the Lenovo X61 Tablet, the Fujitsu T2010, and the Dell Latitude XT (stay tuned for our review of this one). The M700 comes with 2GB of RAM, which is our recommended minimum for anything running Vista.

The system put on a quite a show on SYSmark 2007 Preview, its overall score beating those of the Lenovo X61 Tablet and HP tx2000z by 49 percent. Video-encoding scores were over 20 percent faster than the results of the Lenovo X61. With the processor running at full strength, battery life wasn't as impressive as the Lenovo's and the Fujitsu's, although 3 hours 33 minutes is considered above average for its category. You can also buy an additional six-cell slice ($180) that slides underneath the tablet for over 6 hours of battery life.

Despite running a powerful processor, the M700 was able to curtail energy usage, per my readings with a PS3 International Kill-A-Watt meter. In idle state, it used 12 watts—2W below Energy Star 4.0 requirements and very impressive for a tablet with this kind of horsepower. It consumed as little energy as the HP Compaq 2710p, which runs on an ultra-low-voltage processor. Furthermore, with environmental certifications piled on, such as Energy Star 4.0, EPEAT Gold, and RoHS, the M700-S7002 merits our PC Magazine GreenTech Approved seal.

The Toshiba Portégé M700-S7002 is for tablet users who fancy extra horsepower and an optical drive. Convertible tablets are considered laptops first, with tablet functionality taking a secondary role. This is especially true for the M700. If you're using a tablet primarily for pen writing, where you're typically cradling the system on your forearm or using it on your lap, however, I would recommend forgoing the optical drive. Look for a lighter system instead, like the Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet or the Fujitsu LifeBook T2010.

Toshiba America Inc

Spec Data
* Type: Tablet, Business, Small Business
* Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Business
* Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo T7500
* Processor Speed: 2.2 GHz
* RAM: 2 GB
* Weight: 4.5 lb
* Screen Size: 12 inches
* Screen Size Type: widescreen
* Graphics Card: Intel GMA X3100
* Storage Capacity: 160 GB
* Networking Options: 802.11n
* Primary Optical Drive: Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW

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