Toshiba Tecra A9 (PTS52A-00V00F)
- Unfussy businesslike design, large and attractive widescreen display, solid performer in most areas
- Not geared towards portability, limited graphical capabilities
While it might not quite resurrect a dying breed, the A9 (PTS52A-00V00F) proves that big old-fashioned business notebooks still have a worthy place in the ultra-mobile world. Worth investing in.
Price$ 1,815.00 (AUD)
As we march boldly into the 21st century, mobility and travel have become important components of most global businesses. This constantly prowling workforce has seen the big and clunky notebook of old fall from favour; to be replaced with a sleeker, more portable breed. Which begs the question -- is there still room for desktop replacements in the hectic bustle of today's day and age?
Toshiba sure seems to think so. Its latest offering in the Tecra business range has set out to prove that size still matters. Whether it achieves this aim is largely dependant on personal taste, but if you're looking for a super-sized notebook with a nice array of features, the A9 (PTS52A-00V00F) is unlikely to disappoint. It performed well across all benchmarks and will ensure you never need to squint while updating your spreadsheets again.
Despite touting itself as a gateway to freedom and portability, the A9 (PTS52A-00V00F) is very much a desktop replacement machine. Topping the scales at a hefty 3kg and sporting overall dimensions of 366x268x38.8mm, this definitely isn't a notebook you'll want to frequently lug from place to place. Stylistically, the A9 (PTS52A-00V00F) shares the same plain aesthetics commonly found in business-orientated notebooks. Its silver lid and interior are appropriately workmanlike, with none of the flashy superfluousness that so often plagues the casual market. While its industrial-like finish is unlikely to turn many heads, it retains a simplistic charm that is also highly resistant to fingerprints. All up, we quite like the look of this notebook -- simple yet elegant. Furthermore, it is extremely robust, and should subsequently withstand all manner of rough treatment.
Beneath its minimalist hood, the Tecra A9 features the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors running on the new Centrino platform. The model we tested came equipped with a 2GHz T7300 CPU (800MHz front side bus, 4MB L2 cache) and 1GB of DDR2 RAM, along with an 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi adapter for all your wireless needs. An integrated 965GM Express Chipset has been thrown into the deep end to handle incoming graphics.
In our benchmark tests using WorldBench 6, the A9 (PTS52A-00V00F) received a score of 70. This is a fairly respectable result for a notebook with these components, and should see you through the majority of business applications; including more taxing programs like Adobe Photoshop. However, the notebook scored only 412 in 3D Mark 06; which reflects the absence of a dedicated GPU. If you're the type of worker who enjoys sneaking a few rounds of Quake Wars in during your lunch break, you'll definitely need a machine with a bit more grunt than this.
Despite the A9 (PTS52A-00V00F)'s intimidating bulk, we found its keyboard to be curiously undersized, with a noticeably shrunken top row and no dedicated numeric keypad. This is sure to hamper sophisticated gaming, though as previously mentioned, the notebook is not suited for such endeavours anyway. On the plus side, typing proved to be quite intuitive; in large part thanks to the extra large Caps Lock, Ctrl, Shift, Backspace and Enter keys. We were also pleased to find the Ctrl key located on the far lower right, where it should be.
Elsewhere, the build quality of the A9 (PTS52A-00V00F) fared even better. We scrutinised its 15.4in widescreen display under a variety of settings and angles, and for the most part, both images and text remained highly viewable. Similarly, the inbuilt speakers were impressively loud and robust; especially for a business notebook. This makes the A9 (PTS52A-00V00F) more than adequate for extensive DVD playback.
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