|Name||Laptop: Toshiba Tecra R850|
|At a glance:||15.6in 1366 x 768 screen,Good keyboard and trackpad,Useful software additions for security ,and eco-friendliness|
|Summary:||A great business laptop, with a disappointing screen.|
|RRP:||$2,180 - $4,842 (depending on configuration)|
It’s not often that a business laptop looks genuinely good – usually, the words functional or plain are more in order. But the Tecra R850 has a ribbed – there’s no other word that will do – lid and wrist rest. It’s also surprisingly thin and light for a 15.6-inch business laptop, at 2.5kg and 21mm thick. The hinges seem a little less robust than we’d like, but it’s otherwise very sturdily constructed.
The setup of the laptop took two hours – with 63 updates needing to be installed before we could get going, but once everything was up and running, things went far more smoothly.
The screen is decidedly substandard, even for a business laptop. The viewing angle is low, and even at full brightness it seems slightly darkened and has text less sharp than it should be. Colour accuracy is good though.
The screen is one of the few poor spots in an otherwise lovely laptop. Take the keyboard: the isolated piano-black keys seem as though they should be slippy, but feel decidedly comfortable even during long stretches of typing. The trackpad has just the right amount of grippiness as well as offering a good selection of gestures, and the wrist rest is comfortable. Even the Accupoint cursor-control nub – not my favourite device – feels precise and solid under the finger.
We also liked the protective and eco components of the design. Running a fingernail along the lid generates enough mild vibration that the hard drive heads are temporarily parked. A fingerprint reader and face recognition add a layer of security – even permitting fingerprint-triggered password recall for websites (IE-only), using Toshiba’s supplied utility. Toshiba has a team of engineers working on its embedded software, and the fingerprint utility is just one of its creations. The eco suite, which can track and monitor your power usage as well as modify power settings, is another. All the widgets can start to feel like overkill, but most of them have solid reasons to be there.
When it came to performance, the Tecra R850 was no slouch. Its Intel Core i5-2520 CPU and 4GB RAM helped it to perform solidly in our performance benchmarks. In computation, it stood out, outperforming all of the business laptops in our last roundup in April’s issue.
While computational grunt is good, graphics performance was less impressive. The AMD Radeon HD 6450M graphics may be modern, but it was a bit of a fizzer. The R850 will handle productivity and lightweight graphics, but this is by no means a gaming laptop, even after hours.
On the upside, the power efficiency of that dual-core, 2.5GHz Sandy Bridge chip and basic graphics solution gives great battery life, up to six hours of use in our experience. To round out the specs, there’s a 7200rpm, 500GB hard drive, DVD burner and ExpressCard/34 slot. For connectivity, gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth, and dual-band wireless-n provide a good selection of options. There’s a DisplayPort connection, as well
as eSATA, SD card slot and four USB 2.0 ports (1 eSATA hybrid, one USB 3.0 sleep-and-charge).
All up, the Toshiba Tecra R850 is a high performance business laptop that will suit many offices (this is a channel only release). It’s just a shame that the style and solid build are let down by the screen. Fortunately,
not bad enough to be a dealbreaker.