Toshiba Portege M700 Review
Toshiba recently released the Portege M700 Tablet PC, which was all the rage at CES. The M700 takes the place of its predecessor the M400, although it has many similarities to the R400. The M700 has a 12.1" LED backlight display and is powered by a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor. This sleek business tablet is sure to have heads turning. Take a look at our complete review to see how the M700 performs and stacks up against the competition.
Toshiba M700 converting to tablet mode. (view large image)
Toshiba Portege M700 Tablet PC specs as reviewed (price as as tested $1,799):
Design and Build
I first must comment on how lightweight the M700 feels. It's not the lightest tablet on the market, weighing in at 4.7lbs, but it is very comfortable to hold. I think the plain Jane design gives it the illusion of being lightweight and simple. However, if you get the optional slice battery, which I recommend because it adds much more battery life, it looses the comfort factor in tablet mode. Substituting the weightsaver for the DVD drive is a great option if you don't need the optical drive though.
M700 in notebook mode. (view large image)
The M700 has a sleek design and a solid chassis. I didn't notice any flex in the design except a little around the keyboard. The dark silver color hides fingerprints and dirt well. It looks kind of dull compared to the high gloss HP tx2000, but it still looks sleek and professional. It has that plain, but functional appeal like with the Lenovo X61.
The hinge design is one of my favorite things on the tablet. The M700 has the same style hinge as the R400 Tablet PC. Toshiba designed it, so it feels more like a notebook. The hinge locks into place on both sides, making the screen solid. There is no flex. You can turn the M700 into tablet mode with ease, but when turning the screen back it "clicks" and is locked into place. It is great for giving presentations.
Up-close view of the durable hinge. (view large image)
The touchscreen is responsive and accurate, but so is the pen. Taking notes on the M700 was a breeze. The display automatically changes orientation when in tablet mode as well. Navigating through different applications was simple and the overall feel of the M700 is function over style.
The 12.1" (1280 x 800 resolution) LED backlight display is very nice. The M700 has one of the best screens I have seen on a tablet. There isn't much graininess and the colors are vivid. It reminds me of Fujitsu's T4220 display, very bright and colorful. The LED backlight display has another advantage though, it saves on battery life. The viewing angles could be better, but overall a nice screen.
Display on the M700. (view large image)
The M700 has both a touchscreen and pen/ink capabilities. This way you can use your finger or the pen for navigating the Web. I recommend the pen for more precise navigating though. The display doesn't give off much of a reflection, which I personally like.
As I mentioned before, the viewing angles aren't always the best, so if you are sharing a presentation with a co-worker you will have to make sure they can see it. Sometimes standing to far to the right or left gives you a view of a blank, fuzzy screen. Since the M700 is a tablet, I am sure many users aren't going to be looking at it head on.
The keyboard has a rugged look. It feels durable and can withstand all that fingerprint grease and normal wear too. There are signs of flex in the middle of the keyboard if you type hard, but nothing major. The keyboard didn't feel cramped and was nice to type on. Toshiba claims the keyboard is spill resistant, but I didn't try it first hand. I will take Toshiba's word on that one.
The M700 keyboard and touchpad. (view large image)
The touchpad is your standard everyday, run of the mill touchpad. There wasn't anything fancy about it. It was responsive and had a textured feel. Actually there wasn't anything fancy with the pen either. The pen was made of hard plastic and it didn't feel cheap. It's comfortable to write with and accurate on the screen.
Performance and Benchmarks
The M700 sports an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz processor, had 2GB RAM and a 160GB hard drive. I didn't notice any signs of lag when surfing the Web or emailing and it booted up fine. I haven't tested any games on it, but it did get good benchmarking scores.
I know some users were bothered by the PCMark score and just to comment this test doesn't really affect a users day-to-day tasks of emailing, taking notes or searching the Internet. The M700 isn't the fastest tablet and you can thank Toshiba for that since they added so much bloatware.
PCMark05 measures the systems performance as a whole.
For better PCMark results it is recommend that you do a clean install of Vista and get rid of all the bloatware. When that was done the PCMark scores were higher (in the low 4,000 range).
|Toshiba Portege M700 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA 965 chipset)||3,399 PCMarks|
|HP tx2000 (AMD Turion 64 X2 2.3GHz, Nvidia Go 6150 graphics)||3,738 PCMarks|
|Asus R1E (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, GMA 965 chipset)||4,679 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)||2,334 PCMarks|
|Gateway C-140x (Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz, ATI X2300 HD graphics)||4,342 PCMarks|
|HP Compaq 2710p (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)||2,453 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)||3,473 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)||4,171 PCMarks|
|Gateway E-155C (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.06GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics)||2,205 PCMarks|
|LG C1 (Intel Core Duo 1.2GHz, Nvidia Go 7300)||2,568 PCMarks|
|Toshiba R400 (Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics)||2,187 PCMarks|
|HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150)||3,052 PCMarks|
|Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950 graphics)||2,724 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo)||2,860 PCMarks|
|Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950)||2,732 PCMarks|
Comparison Results for 3Dmark05
3DMark05 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook.
|Notebook||3D Mark 05 Results|
|Toshiba Portege M700 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, GMA 965 chipset)||940 3DMarks|
|HP tx2000 (2.3GHz AMD Turion 64 X2, Nvidia Go 6150 graphics)||636 3DMarks|
|Asus R1E (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, GMA 965 chipset)||923 3DMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics)||566 3DMarks|
|Gateway C-140x (2GHz Core 2 Duo, ATI X2300 HD graphics)||1,956 3DMarks|
|HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics)||634 3DMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics)||812 3DMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics)||925 3DMarks|
|Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950)||500 3DMarks|
|LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo, Nvidia Go 7300)||1,392 3DMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1150)||810 3DMarks|
|PortableOne UX (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950)||590 3DMarks|
|Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950)||519 3DMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)||2,092 3DMarks|
In the below results of Super Pi, where the processor is timed in calculating Pi to 2 million digits: The M700 looks to be one of the fastest contenders here.
|Notebook||Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits|
|Toshiba Portege M700 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)||55s|
|HP tx2000 (2.3GHz AMD Turion 64 X2)||1m 33s|
|Fujitsu LifeBook U810 (800MHz Intel A110)||6m 22s|
|Fujitsu T2010 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo)||1m 40s|
|Gateway C-140x (2GHz Core 2 Duo)||58s|
|HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo)||1m 39s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 10s|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)||54s|
|Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo)||1m 58s|
|LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo)||1m 49s|
|Toshiba R400 (1.2GHz ULV Core Duo)||2m 10s|
|Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo)||1m 20s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo)||1m 24s|
|IBM ThinkPad X41t (1.5GHz LV Pentium M)||2m 02s|
|HP TC4400 Tablet PC (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 13s|
|Dell Latitude D420 (1.06GHz Core Solo ULV)||2m 11s|
The solid hinge design converts the notebook into a tablet with ease and the screen automatically changes orientation, so you are always ready to go. There is a cross functional button on the screen for programmable use and a button that brings up Toshiba Assist in case you get stuck.
The M700 in tablet mode with pen. (view large image)
The M700 has both a touchscreen and active digitizer, so you are getting the best of both worlds for a starting price of $1,449. You can take notes on the screen in seconds with the Wacom pen. The pen has nice feedback and is easy to navigate with, but if you like using your finger then you can use it to navigate through windows as well.
If you go into the Control Panel on the tablet to Tablet Properties you can calibrate the pen and touch capabilities. This is a nice feature because you can calibrate the pen's tip and eraser to your liking, either soft or firm. The same options are available for the touchscreen too. This way you get the response you prefer. Also don't forget about programming pen flicks for those applications you use the most.
Heat and Noise
The M700 didn't run hot. In fact it barely got warm. On the left side where the vent is, you could feel the hot air being pumped out when running the benchmarks or over working it. Besides that I didn't feel any heat. The bottom got a little warm after the tablet was on for hours, but nothing to complain about. No signs of heat around the keyboard or palm rest area, making the M700 very nice to carry and use.
As for noise, there wasn't much of that either. The vent blowing out air was even quiet. I forgot the M700 was on half the time. When I ran the benchmarks it made a little more noise, but it was still quiet enough to use in a library. I was shocked. Even putting a DVD in to test how loud it spins was a pleasant surprise. It was still quiet enough that your neighbor wouldn't be bothered.
The M700 is targeted toward the business market. It isn't packed with many entertainment features, but it has the necessities. There are three USB ports, IEEE 1394, PC Card slot, SD Card slot, monitor output port and more. The webcam is a nice touch for chatting with friends and family while away for business or even clients for meetings.
Left side view of the ports. (view large image)
Right side view of the ports. (view large image)
Front view of the M700. (view large image)
Back view of the M700. (view large image)
Underneath view of the M700. (view large image)
Top view of the M700. (view large image)
Overall, the battery life on the M700 is good. I wouldn't brag about it, unless I had the optional slice battery to go with it. I didn't get the optional slice battery to review, but it gives you all day computing power. I know this because I had some hands-on time with it at CES. Back to the standard 6-cell battery. After testing it out I got about three to three and a half hours in high performance mode. If you want that claimed five hour battery life you will have to set your tablet to the power saver mode. However, in balanced mode I did get four to five hours depending on what I was using the M700 for and that is respectable.
The M700 is a typical tablet. It does have two speakers though, one on each side of the keyboard under the monitor. The sound output is decent, but it doesn't get very loud. I don't think the M700 is made to be your iTunes listening machine though. It's good for voice recognition and the headphone port works fine for tuning out distractions.
My iPod actually goes louder then the M700, but that is typical for a business tablet. The speakers do get covered a little when in tablet mode, so the sound gets a little muffled, but you can still hear it. There is a nice volume wheel on the front of the tablet for quick adjustments of the volume, which is a convenient feature.
The connectivity on the M700 worked fine. It has 802.11a/g/n and Bluetooth. I didn't have any problems connecting at home or in the office. It has a strong antenna as well because I could pick up all my neighbors Wi-Fi signals and my Asus R1 does a poor job of that.
OS and Software
The M700 I reviewed ran Microsoft Vista Business. I had no problems with it and actually prefer Vista on tablets thanks to the improvements in handwriting recognition and the pen flicks. It did come with tons of bloatware and free trial programs that slowed the notebook down. I would recommend getting rid of the bloatware. There were deals for LoJack and DVD rentals, kind of annoying.
The M700 is a solid tablet. You get what you see with it. There isn't anything fancy, just a minimalistic design with all the necessities. The silver body protects a great LED backlight screen that has both a touchscreen and active digitizer and it doesn't lack in performance or features. The hinge is definitely an added bonus because it locks the screen in place and gets rid of any wobble. Business professionals and college students should enjoy taking notes and giving presentations with the M700, especially considering it has such an affordable starting price.
Pricing and Availability
The Portege M700 is available now on Toshiba's website with prices starting at $1,449. You can customize your M700 or buy one of the already preconfigured models.
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