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This was a tablet before the iPad made it cool. I had one as my first laptop when I went to college, and at first it was, of course, the best thing since sliced bread. But not long into owning it, I encountered problems.
It's definitely not built to last, everything has a cheap feel to it. Being a tablet/laptop hybrid, it uses only the one hinge in the middle of the screen which rotates. I was forever worrying it would come apart, as it's very flimsy, but credit where it's due, it is still in one piece today (only just).
The screen has a plastic protector over the top, for when you're using the tablet function. It serves it's purpose but again adds to the 'cheap' feel of it.
The hardware is good, but you get the impression it could be much better, and at the RRP this used to command, you'd expect better. 80GB HDD, 512mb of RAM, and with integrated graphics, it was a bit poor even in it's day (we're talking late 2007 here). The processor was very slow compared to my mate's Dell laptop, which cost about £100 less at the time.
You may be thinking that this is a small price to pay for the tablet function, but it isn't. It was a great idea, but the tablet could only be used with a special pen, which slotted into the base of the laptop next to the optical drive. A cool feature though, you could use the top of the pen as an eraser in Microsoft OneNote, just like a real pen.
It came bundled with the OneNote software, which was pretty good, I could have all my subjects in different folders, and a new note in the folder for each lecture. You could have it in normal tablet mode for typing notes, which came in handy for English, but in Maths and Chemistry, the tablet mode was more widely used for writing equations and drawing diagrams. It is a highlight of the laptop, but these days you can do so much better, for much less; e.g. an iPad 16GB is £399, £5 for a stylus, and 69p for the Penultimate note taking app. Back then, this laptop had an RRP of around £1000.
A few months in, the pen decided to stop working, thankfully having bought it through the college, they were able to sort it.
This also happens to be the least reliable laptop I ever owned. Within my 2 years of college, it went back numerous times. Off the top of my head, the following all ended up needing replacement:
This was not through carelessness, just everyday use. Two years later, once pretty much the entire laptop bar the plastic casing had been replaced, I went to university. No more college tech backup if it went wrong. Which of course it did. First, the battery would not hold a charge; I'd stick it on charge all night, and it would die on me about 10 minutes into the first lecture. A few months later the screen gave up the go, and that was the end of it. Thankfully, the University provided me with a laptop because of the course I was doing; another Toshiba which broke within one year. This helped me decide to go to a MacBook; it cost about the same as the Portege when it was new, but is infinitely better, and what's more, if you really need the tablet function, then a drawing tablet is available for very little money from places like PC World. Or just get an iPad in this day and age
When I first got this on order from amazon.co.uk, I looked at the box and thought 'jees its huge!' After stripping down the 100's of layers of wrapping and cardboard on the laptop, I finally got to it. It is very petite in real life, yet a good weight at 2.1 kg - not too heavy but not too light, about the weight of a little over 2 bags of sugar. It's 29.5 cm wide, 24.9 cm high and 3.9cm deep. Very easy to just stick in your backpack if you need it for a school or work project.
Using it is a pleasurable experience! It is excellent to use with either the touch pad or stylus. The stylus is very touch responsive, and this can be utilised for graphics artists and amateur artists alike.
The screen is great, very bright and you can even see it outside in bright light. Like a high definition tv screen almost, it is such a high quality.
One thing I found depressing was the frailness of the keys on the keyboard. I have broken one off by doing nothing other than quick touchtyping (although i may be rather too vigorous sometimes) but now I am left with a little rubber ball thing to press for my R key.
The laptop has very good battery life and often I can use it with a fully charged battery for around 4 hours, granted I am usually listening to music and working/drawing on it.
The hibernation mode takes quite a while to activate and also bring the computer back to life when it has been in hibernation.
I enjoy using the biometric fingerprint scanner, it makes me feel like a member of the FBI :). It is useful, now nobody but me can access my laptop. Great for stopping nosey friends from looking at your work!
The XP tablet edition works very well, and allows all of the features of the PC to be utilised to their full potential.
The one main thing I am disappointed with this PC for is the fact it is NOT TOUCH SENSITIVE. You can only use the stylus with it. This may be a good thing in some ways as you don't get a fingerprinty screen, but it would be nice if it was touch sensitive so you wouldn't have to use the stylus all the time, or when you really can't be bothered just click on the buttons on the screen and not have to navigate with the mouse or reach for the stylus. Yes I am rather lazy sometimes!
The laptop also comes with a 3g sim card and can be used wireless with the (expensive) 3g services as well as at hotspots. This may be attractive to any (rich) people who need to look at their emails immediately or watch a very important video on youtube.
The price of the computer isn't too steep either, about the same as most extra-portable or tablet PCs are nowadays.
Overall this is a great computer, I would highly recommend this or one of the m700 range - exactly the same as this but with a touch screen, not just using the stylus. Congratulations, Toshiba, for making another excellent creation for us all to enjoy!
It's been a while since I wrote this review, so I thought I'd let you know how my Portege is holding up. Well, for starters, I'm typing on it right now. It's been in for a service which I received for free due to my Toshiba extended warranty (well worth getting!!!!) and my once-missing R key has been replaced. I also managed to damage the k,l,n,m, comma and full stop keys (possibly water damage) and they replaced it no query. There was a dead pixel on the screen and I got a whole new screen too. The hard drive died too (random occurance) and toshiba replaced it under warranty. There has been little wear and tear since the replacement of said items, and that was about 2 years ago! The fan is getting louder (or perhaps other modern computers are getting quieter?!) and as the memory space runs out on the computer, it is a tad lethargic and crashes more often. If you are planning on getting this computer, I suggest buying the extended warranty as my hard drive failed the day after my old warranty ran out (luckily I had purchased a further warranty that day!) and that's likely to happen mainly due to sod's law. Typical, eh? So yes, toshiba have a fabulous warranty/repair service and great customer care, and if something goes wrong with your toshiba item do not be afraid to get in contact with them as my many experiences with them have all been positive!
The Portege M400 intelligently fuses breakthrough mobile technologies, on-demand business applications and the versatile and intuitive functionality into a supremely portable package that exceeds mobile performance and productivity expectations.