Toshiba Portege M800 notebook review

4 out of 5
£780

For

Great design, well built, powerful

Against

Lacks Blu-ray

Toshiba seems to have lost its way of late. At one time it was the biggest seller of notebooks worldwide but now it takes a lower third position. Hopefully the Portege M800 is a return to former glories, as our first impressions of this highly portable notebook are excellent.

The white chassis is a limited edition run of the 13.3-inch machine and the build quality is great. It may look fragile but the plastic used is tough and even the hinges holding the screen in place feel robust.

We carried this notebook around for a couple of days and found it to be an excellent machine to use. Sure, the white chassis isn’t ideal for using out and about but it’s easily cleaned down. Weighing 2.1kg, this notebook has been designed for carrying around and you certainly will. Battery life is outstanding, as we managed to get close to 5 hours from a single charge, making this a highly portable notebook.

We really liked the screen, which uses LED backlight technology, so images are truer to life and look great. More importantly for the mobile user, such a screen also uses less power, which helps partially to explain the battery life. LED screens tend to be rather thin, but Toshiba has added a slightly thicker bezel around it, which helps add rigidity to the design.

The screen has a standard resolution of 1200 x 800 pixels, which is fine but doesn’t take full advantage of the integrated graphics chipset, which is Intel’s latest GM45, which has support for full HD.

The keyboard is a really good size and makes full use of the compact design. The keys are individually mounted and have a smooth typing action. The touchpad is of a good size and while the mouse buttons felt a little loose, navigation was generally smooth.

Considering the compact design, Toshiba hasn't scrimped on the power inside this notebook. Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor, this is the latest 45nm size, which is smaller and more power efficient. Backed with 4GB of RAM you'll find the Windows Vista Home Premium OS loads and runs smoothly and we had no trouble running high-end applications on this machine.

The main specification is rounded out by a 320GB hard drive and a DVD rewriter, which is fine but Toshiba has yet to move over to Blu-ray so you won’t be able to watch any high-def content from this drive. When it comes to connections, you’ll find this packs in the latest in features. 802.11n wireless LAN is a given, using Intel’s latest Wi-Fi Link 5000 adapter. There is also Gigabit Ethernet, an ExpressCard slot and three USB ports.

Verdict

The Toshiba Portege M800 is a great machine to use every day. Surprisingly, Toshiba hasn’t charged a premium for this machine and at £780 (inc. VAT) is one of the best multimedia notebooks we’ve seen in recent months.