Toshiba Tecra A11-S3540 Review - HotHardware

Toshiba Tecra A11-S3540 Review

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Toshiba's Tecra Series of laptops have traditionally been marketed as high-performance business laptops, designed to be capable of handling demanding tasks. Earlier this year, Toshiba announced the Tecra A11. The new Tecra A11 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor and features a 10-key numeric keypad. Designed as a desktop replacement, the Tecra A11 offers the new 2010 Intel Core processor family and a high-resolution widescreen 15.6-inch display. Some models also offer NVIDIA NVS 2100M graphics.

 

Because the Tecra Series targets business users, Toshiba has included additional security features such as a fingerprint reader with the A11. Toshiba's Tecra line also offers EasyGuard Technology which provides for added protection from shocks and spills and enhanced data security. As part of the EasyGuard Technology, Toshiba has gone to great lengths to help protect the system by including a more durable display, a keyboard that helps guard against damages from spills, and advanced encryption technologies.

Carl Pinto, vice president of product development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division talks about what the Tecra A11 has to offer: "Our customers are looking for slimmer and lighter designs for portability, textured finishes for durability, and the latest technologies for full-featured performance.”

We had the top-of-the-line Tecra A11-S3540 in house for testing. This model runs on the Intel Core i7-620M processor and has NVIDIA NVS 2100M graphics. In addition to these features, our test model had a fingerprint reader and an eSATA/USB Sleep-and-Charge Combo Port that lets you power your smartphone or other gadget even when the laptop is turned off.

In the following pages, we'll walk you through the design and features of the Tecra A11-S3540 and then we'll run the notebook through a number of benchmark tests to see how its performance compares to several other laptops in its class.

Toshiba Tecra A11-S3540 Notebook
Specifications & Features

 

Operating System
Genuine Windows XP Professional, SP3
Recovery media for Genuine Windows 7 Professional

Processor and Chipset
Intel Core i7-620M processor
2.66 GHz (3.33 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology), 4MB Cache
Mobile Intel QM57 Express Chipset

Graphics
NVIDIA NVS 2100M with 512MB DDR3 discrete graphics memory, plus up to 1228MB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory using NVIDIA TurboCache technology
Total Available Graphics memory 1740MB

Memory
Configured with 4GB DDR3 1066MHz (max 8GB)
2 main memory slots, both slots may be occupied

Storage Drive
320GB (7200 RPM) Serial ATA hard disk drive

Fixed Optical Disk Drive
DVD SuperMulti drive supporting 11 formats
Maximum speed and compatibility: CD-ROM (24x), CD-R (24x), CD-RW (24x), DVD-ROM (8x), DVD-R (Single Layer, (8x)), DVD-R (Double Layer, (6x)), DVD-RW (6x), DVD+R (Single Layer, (8x)), DVD+R (Double Layer, (6x)), DVD+RW (8x), DVDRAM (5x)

Display
15.6” diagonal widescreen TFT LED backlit display at 1600 x 900 native resolution (HD+)
Native support for 720p content
16:9 aspect ratio

Sound
Built-in stereo speakers

Input Devices
Standard US keyboard with 10-key numeric pad
TouchPad pointing device
TouchPad Enable/Disable
Media Control Buttons: TOSHIBA eco Utility button, Volume Down, Volume Up, Presentation button

Communications
Webcam and microphone
Modem
Intel 82577LC Gigabit Ethernet Connection (10/100/1000 Ethernet)
Intel 802.11a/g/n10
Bluetooth version 2.1 plus Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)

Expandability
ExpressCard slot (ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54)
Memory Card Reader (Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, Mini SD Card, Micro SD Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Multi Media Card [shared slot])

Ports
Video:
RGB (monitor) output
Mini DisplayPort
Audio:
Microphone input port
Headphone output port
Data:
Serial port
2 x USB v2.0
1 x USB v2.0 with Sleep and Charge (left side)
1 x eSATA/USB combo port with Sleep and Charge
RJ-45 LAN port
RJ-11 modem port
Docking connector
Security:
Fingerprint Reader
Slot for Security Lock

Physical Description
Textured Finish in Charcoal Black
Dimensions (W x D x H ): 14.7” x 9.86” x 1.31”/1.48”
Weight: Starting at 5.63 lbs., depending upon configuration

Battery
6 cell (55 Wh) Lithium Ion battery pack
Dimensions (W x H x D): 8.11” x 1.78” x 0.79”
Weight: starting at 0.72 lbs.
Battery Life Rating (measured by MobileMark Productivity 2007) Included 6 cell battery: 3 hours, 7 minutes

Power Supply
75W (15V x 5A) Auto-sensing 100-240V/50-60Hz AC Adapter
Dimensions (W x H x D): 4.96” x 1.18” x 1.97”
Weight: starting at 0.79 lbs.

Toshiba EasyGuard
Protect & Fix
Toshiba PC Health Monitor
TOSHIBA HDD protection (3D Accelerometer)
TOSHIBA Shock Protection System
HALT Tested Design
LCD Cover pressure Resistant Design
Hinge Design Enhancement
Polyurethane (PU) Coated Palm Rest
Spill Resistant Keyboard
TOSHIBA PC Diagnostic Tool
Secure
Multiple-Level Password Utilities
Fingerprint Reader (includes software for password and identity management)
AuthenTec EntréPad TrueSuite
Infineon TPM Software Professional Package
Trusted Platform Module v1.2
TOSHIBA Secure Digital Token Utility
Reinforced Security Cable Lock Slot
Execute Disable Bit
Connect
Diversity Antenna
TOSHIBA ConfigFree
Voice-over-IP Ready Design
TOSHIBA Bluetooth Stack
Wireless Communication On/Off Switch
Optimize
Toshiba Disc Creator
TOSHIBA Device Access Control
TOSHIBA Power Management Extension
TOSHIBA Password Utilities
TOSHIBA Recovery Media Creator
TOSHIBA eco Utility
TOSHIBA Assist
TOSHIBA USB Sleep and Charge
TOSHIBA Zooming Utility
FN Shortcut Keys

Software
Toshiba Software and Utilities
Electronic User’s Guide
Bluetooth Stack for Windows by Toshiba
TOSHIBA Recovery Media Creator
TOSHIBA ConfigFree
TOSHIBA Disc Creator
Hard Disc Drive (HDD) Recovery
TOSHIBA DVD Player
TOSHIBA Power-saving eco utility
TOSHIBA Face Recognition
TOSHIBA PC Health Monitor
Third-party Software
Microsoft Windows Media Player
Microsoft Office Live Essentials including Photo Gallery, Messenger, Mail and Writer.
Microsoft Silverlight
Internet Explorer 7
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Google Toolbar
Skype
Trial Software
Norton Internet Security 2010 (30-day trial subscription)
Microsoft Office Ready with Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Edition, 60-day trial
Special Offers
Toshiba Online Backup
Intuit Quickbooks Financial Center
AutoDesk AutoCAD certified. Certification includes AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD LT and Civil 3D products. (software not included)
AutoDesk Inventor 2011 certified (software not included)

 

The Tecra A11-S3540 has an MSRP of $1,349 with a three-year limited warranty. Other models in the Tecra A11 series start at $879. Of course, these lesser models don't have all of the same high-performance features of the A11-S3540. To help you compare, the A11-S3510, which is the lowest priced A11 model at $879, comes with an Intel Core i3-330M processor, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD, 2GB DDR3 1066MHz memory, and a 250GB 5,400rpm hard drive. Other Tecra A11 models are available as well that fit somewhere in the middle of these two systems.

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Seems like it has more garbageware than it does features! besides the three hour battery life, it doesn't seem much different from any other standard laptop out there right now.
 
It might be interesting with its workstation possibilities. yet at that price one would probably lean towards a more future proof and cooler looking laptop! From the companies side this case is designed precisely to make people look back a year from now and say to themselves. "This thing is old, time to get a new one!"

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animatortom:

Seems like it has more garbageware than it does features! besides the three hour battery life, it doesn't seem much different from any other standard laptop out there right now.
 
It might be interesting with its workstation possibilities. yet at that price one would probably lean towards a more future proof and cooler looking laptop! From the companies side this case is designed precisely to make people look back a year from now and say to themselves. "This thing is old, time to get a new one!"

 

The NVIDIA Quadro NVS 2100M isn't really geared for gaming performance so I don't hold that against Toshiba. But considering the great line of computers Toshiba has out right now, this one doesn't stand out. I'd beef up the graphics card, and for $1300 I'd like a i7-720M. The quad would come in handy for a workstation laptop.

The bloatware issue, while annoying, can be easily remedied with a fresh install or programs like PC decrapifier. More troubling is the crappy battery life, a big strike since this is a business laptop.

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