Riding the Portégé
Toshiba's latest addition to the Portégé series, the M700, is a convertible notebook targeted more towards an education and corporate audience, but without any compromise in features or performance.
Despite its rather thick and dull appearance, the M700 is unusually light at 2.1kg, battery included. Built on Toshiba's proprietary EasyGuard technology, sporting a 12.1-inch backlit LED screen display together with a full-powered Intel Centrino Duo processor, the M700 packs the latest in technology from Toshiba. HSDPA however, is still not yet a standard issue nor an option and customers looking for it would require their own add-ons or hunt for another notebook.
Although the M700 has a more power efficient and brighter display due to its use of LED technology (which enables manufacturing of thinner display panels), the cover of the notebook was intentionally made thicker to ensure lasting use even under less than desirable circumstances. The main chassis of the M700 is constructed from magnesium alloy instead of plastic materials for better strength and durability. The M700 also comes with a similar screen hinge design as the older R400 tablet and there are two additional latches at the side edges to lock the screen in place, even under extreme movements.
Inside, the M700 features a hard disk mounted on a shock-resistant casing to prevent data loss and corruption while on the go. There is also an accelerometer-based protection system to lock the hard disk read/write arms when shock is experienced. However, the word 'shock' has to be taken relatively. From our tests with the notebook, the sensitivity of accelerometer is too strong, to the extent that carrying the notebook from one desk to another would lock the HDD for safety. While there is an option to turn off the accelerometer protection, we would rather have it just a tad less sensitive instead.
As a business oriented notebook, the M700 also comes with a full set of security features, which includes a fingerprint sensor and TPM securty chip. These work together with Toshiba's security suite installed to encrypt information.
For a tablet notebook, the M700 has a new trick up its sleeve. Besides a regular tablet screen that requires the use of a stylus, the M700 also supports a touchscreen interface, which makes it more flexible and user friendly to use since you can now touch the screen directly to navigate. Although we still found it more accurate to use the stylus, touch input was no less responsive.
For our review unit, the M700 came with the optional DVD writer, standard voltage based 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 CPU, Intel 965GM chipset with GMA X3100 graphics, 1GB of RAM and a 120GB HDD, running Windows Vista Business Edition. The notebook also features a 1.3-megapixel webcam, three USB 2.0 ports, a mini-FireWire, Ethernet and a VGA-out ports. In addition, the USB ports on the left bezel features Toshiba's Plug-and-Charge, which works even when the notebook is switched off.
The Toshiba Portégé M700 is a well balanced convertible with tablet functionality, business security and robust design. It is rather pricey however, with its S$3599 price tag (~US$2560), but we encourage you to try it out first-hand to better understand it's worth.