Toshiba Portege M800-106 review
A nod to Apple's iconic design from Toshiba, but perhaps the original is best
Review Date: 20 Aug 2008
Reviewed By: Matthew Sparkes
Price when reviewed: £637 (£733 inc VAT)
For a long time it was only Apple's laptops that came in white, but now they're ten-a-penny. Even the sub-£200 Eee PC and its gang of low-cost netbooks are clad in white these days.
But despite lacking the exclusivity that it once brought, the finish looks stylish on Toshiba's latest laptop. Rather than just plain white, the Portégé M800's chassis is coated with thin grey pinstripes, and the screen lid is adorned with a chrome-effect Toshiba logo.
Under the lid, though, things are slightly less slick. Above the keyboard is a row of media buttons which are lit from behind by white LEDs, but this light bleeds around the icons, making them hard to identify.
Below these sits the keyboard, which is horribly spongy. When typing towards the edge of the board there's a noticeable dip in the surface, which bends the surrounding keys down towards it. In the middle of the board this effect is even more pronounced. It's not the most comfortable to type on.
Below it, the trackpad is flush with the chassis and only defined by a white strip-light at the top and a slightly roughened coating. The surface is comfortable to use, as are the mouse buttons, but the chrome-effect lends them a cheap and plasticky appearance. The very front of the case is lit by some illuminated indicator lights and a Portégé logo but, as with the indicator buttons, these bleed into the surrounding area and can be distracting in darker rooms.
Running down the side of the chassis are more than enough ports for use on all but the most peripheral-cluttered desks. Two separate USB ports are present, along with a combined eSATA and USB port. As well as this, there's a VGA and HDMI output, giving a range of options for external screens, plus a Firewire port.
Despite the HDMI port, however, the laptop is ill-equipped for viewing HD content. A DVD-RW drive is provided rather than the increasingly common Blu-ray drive so you'll need to go online to find some 720p video to watch on the 13.3in 1,280 x 800 screen. This is a shame, as powering this screen is Intel's new GMA 4500MHD graphics chipset, which is designed specifically to be able to handle the demands of HD video playback.
Its 3D capabilities are less impressive. In our Crysis benchmark, even on low settings, the M800 managed an unplayable 6fps. Older games it may well deal with, but modern titles are quite clearly out of the question.
For 2D work, though, the laptop is more than capable. With a dual-core Intel P8400 running at 2.26GHz and a generous 4GB helping of DDR2 RAM, it reached a decent score of 1.06. The impressive specification continues to the hard disk, which at 320GB is more than large enough to store a hefty collection of documents, video and music.
But it's not long before disappointment sets in once again. For a portable, 2.1kg laptop, the M800 has extrememly poor battery life. In light use, it lasted a mere 2hrs 50mins - that's well down on the best that most standard laptops or netbooks can offer.
Given the price and the design, there is an obvious comparison with the Toshiba that has to be made: the Apple MacBook, to which the Toshiba owes several design cues.
The MacBook is only slightly more expensive at £706, but comes equipped with a slightly faster 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, shares the same size and resolution screen, and is a similar size and weight. Despite having less RAM, the MacBook scored 1.20 in our application-based benchmarks, beating the Toshiba by a clear margin, and battery life is double.
- EE confirms 4G network outage
- EU promises single telecoms market by 2015
- Samsung courts Android developers with $800,000 contest
- iOS 7: release date, features and more
- Yahoo promises not to "screw up" Tumblr
- Nook ebook readers to get browser and email access
- Google "cheated" UK taxpayers, says former exec
- Music and lights could trigger malware
- Apple vs Samsung battle moves to suppliers
- Outgoing Intel CEO: we could have powered the iPhone
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- Google Now draining iPhone battery
- The government website that doesn't work with IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Macs or smartphones
- Best smartphones for 2013
- The best broadband speed tests
- iPhone apps for business travel
- How to get a job as a mobile games developer
- 25 best Windows 8 apps
- Introducing Arduino - a simple Raspberry Pi alternative
- The tweeting spaceman
- Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One
- 30 best web apps
- Getting started with HTML5
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't
- Yes, I write down my passwords
- How to make money from apps
There are dozens of exciting prizes up for grabs on PC Pro Competitions. All our competitions are free to enter. Try your luck.ENTER NOW