Toshiba Tecra review

Farewell to the Tecra

I packed the Toshiba Tecra up this afternoon and gave it to a DHL man to be taken back to the TalkToshiba people.

The experience has been a little disappointing. The Tecra A8 is a good enough piece of kit, but it wouldn’t be my choice if I were looking to spend some money on a laptop. It falls between the two types of machine I’d be interested in.

The Tecra was a little too large for me to consider putting it in my man-bag and toting it around town. True, the size allowed for a full size keyboard and the large screen, but these reduced its portability. I’d like to have something lighter and smaller that I can take anywhere with me. Like the old Portege I’m typing this post up on. An even simpler solution I’m thinking of is getting a bluetooth folding keyboard for my mobile.

At the other end of the price spectrum I could really go for the current version of the portege or some other tablet PC with a flip round screen that I could do art on. Or maybe an Apple Macbook, for all my video editing dreams.

It’s been interesting, but I’m afraid the Tecra A8 isn’t for me.

A quick test of battery life

I turned the Tecra on without plugging it in, to test battery life, and got nearly two hours out of it. Which isn’t bad. I wasn’t doing anything too testing, definitely no cds or dvds and very little heavy processing. At some point the screen goes to half brightness to conserve power, which is a little irritating but I could live with it.

Toshiba Test – the weekend

For various reasons I haven’t been able to play with the laptop as much as I’d like for the last few days. It is finally talking to the house network wirelessly, but only because I installed a NetGear USB wireless adaptor. Weak internal wireless is a problem at least one person has told me about on their personal Toshiba laptop.

The laptop doesn’t have a firewire socket, so I can’t get video off my old mini-dv camcorder. However, I now have a JVC hard drive camcorder which transfers by USB, so I’ll shoot some footage and try transferring it onto the laptop.

I have, however, been able to watch some stuff on the laptop. Video playback from dvd is crisp and stutter free. Sound from the built in speakers is good enough for something your watching whilst it’s sat on your lap.

The next challenge would be to see how well it copes as a games machine, but we don’t have anything in the house for pcs that would really test it.

So, overall, a mostly disappointing few days of Toshiba testing. I’ll try to get more done tomorrow.

Toshiba test – day 1

Tosh, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

I have been given a Toshiba laptop to review by the people at talktoshiba. Which is nice, except that we can’t get it to talk to the wireless.

The computer is a Tecra A8. I don’t have access to the technical specs right now, I may dig them out later. Today’s mission, between trying to fix a puncture 15 times (which is another story altogether), was to test connectivity. First, I wanted to transfer yWriter and WeFi from my PC. This was easy enough once I sorted out bluetooth ids.

Next I needed to send a yWriter project from my normal (borrowed) laptop, an old but reliable Toshiba Portege. I plugged an IR dongle into the back of the Tecra and it recognised it but didn’t want to use it for anything. I lined the two laptops up, but the Portege couldn’t detect the dongle. This looks like something I will have to try again.

Most annoying of all, I can’t get the Tecra to connect to the internet in the house. I’ve tried it around town with WeFi, where it can detect lots of wireless nodes. It could connect to the pay wireless in Cafe Nero, which wasn’t much use. On Albert Square there were dozens of nodes detectable, but none- not even StreetNet which I’ve used before- could be connected to. I didn’t have the Portege with me to do a side by side test, but I can say that it has been used to surf from the Albert memorial.

Damian has pointed out that I can just plug it into the house network with a cable, which is what I will do later, but it does kind of defeat the object of a laptop.

Tomorrow I’ll get the rest of the software onto the laptop and start using it properly.