Notebookcheck

Review Toshiba Tecra A7 Notebook

Hard work. Usually office notebooks are not went easy on, on the contrary, they have to faithfully serve their user every day. The reviewed Tecra A7, a representative of the most reliable business notebook class, was apparently worn and already creaked somewhat during handling. Nevertheless, we were quite astonished by this computer's stability. How to explain this apparent contradiction? Well, please read the following article.

Toshiba Tecra A7 Logo

Case

Following review is provided by notebookcheck.pl, our Polish editor team.

 

It is the first time we reviewed  a notebook which apparently was in use quite a lot. Seemingly it was a sample for many a test in different editor's offices. Paradoxically, it was favorable for us, as we could check, the Tecra A7's durability after a couple of years of regular usage. Although the run-down notebook creaked at the front part of the base unit (left-hand corner), we can reassure the reader, that, despite of some evident signs of wear, the laptop looks as if it would still serve its user for many years to come. It's hard to express this in words, but you can sense that durability each time you take this computer in your hands. No doubt, the magnesium alloy top case plays a vital role here. This material makes the notebook also relatively light, despite of its size.

Tecra A7 is quite similar to the good old Satellite A100. Both look equally elegant. The fine design of these two Japanese machines won quite a lot of sympathizers over the years. As usual for (older) Toshiba models, the predominant colors are silver and black.
 
On top of the already mentioned creaking of the base unit there is another minor flaw - the lid's outside can be easily pushed in.

The screen is supported by two large hinges, which pretty much work as they're supposed to. You can only complain about a slight see-saw of the screen after adjusting its position.

Besides the standard interfaces, the Tecra A7 also provides a LPT port, an infrared port, and a PC Card slot, and an ExpressCard slot.

At the front of the notebook on the right side a very ergonomic WireLess is provided. Below the touchpad there is also a fingerprint reader provided, which today is a standard for office notebooks.

Front Side: IrDA, Card Reader, Audio Ports
Toshiba Tecra A7 interfaces
Left Side: D-Sub, S-Video, FireWire, PCMCIA, ExpressCard
Toshiba Tecra A7 interfaces
Back Side: LPT, 2x USB, LAN, Power Connector
Toshiba Tecra A7 interfaces
Right Side: 2x USB, DVD drive, Modem, Kensington Lock
Toshiba Tecra A7 interfaces

Input Devices

The keyboard is generally not bad, but not completely free of some shortcomings. The user will like the fact that it only minimally deflects. The keys are soft, the travel quite long, and despite of that typing feels very comfortable.

However, the layout of the keyboard is not perfect in our view. During fast typing we often mistyped the letter 'A' and hit Caps Lock instead. After getting used to it, this problem fades away, but for some time you have to control your left hand fingers.

The touchpad is quite nice. The dimensions of the pad are (sort of standard with older Toshibas) rather appalling, but its gliding properties, sensitivity and precision are top notch. The pad is quite deep below the top case's surface. The touchpad buttons are mostly flawless, so, you can enjoy using them. They can be used without problems, the only things is that they are a little noisy.

Touchpad
Toshiba Tecra A7 Touchpad
Keyboard
Toshiba Tecra A7 Keyboard

Display

Color Diagram
Toshiba Tecra A7 Display

Our Tecra A7 had a glossy 15.4 inch WXGA (1280x800) screen. The same display made by LG.Philips can also be found in the Satellite A100 series. It's notorious drawback is a somewhat dark picture. The brightness is around 100 cd/m², and the measured maximum value amounted to 111.1 cd/m². However, the screen is pleasingly evenly backlit, so, the illuminance is 83%.

92.6
cd/m²
105.3
cd/m²
92.6
cd/m²
94.0
cd/m²
109.4
cd/m²
95.8
cd/m²
101.6
cd/m²
111.1
cd/m²
109.0
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 111.1 cd/m²
Average: 101.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 83 %
Black: 0.6 cd/m²
Contrast: 182:1
Operation Outdoors
Toshiba Tecra A7 Outdoor

When we brought the laptop outside we experienced what was conceivable on the basis of the undeniable results of the measurements. The glossy screen reflects the user, the surrounding and the sun rays as well. One can hardly accomplish some work, but, by no means you can work efficiently.

Unfortunately, the viewing angles are very narrow. Especially the vertical ones.

Toshiba Tecra A7 Viewing Angles
Toshiba Tecra A7 Viewing Angles
Toshiba Tecra A7 Viewing Angles
Toshiba Tecra A7 Viewing Angles
Toshiba Tecra A7 Viewing Angles
Toshiba Tecra A7 Viewing Angles
Toshiba Tecra A7 Viewing Angles
Toshiba Tecra A7 Viewing Angles

Performance

The model which we've tested was equipped with a Intel Core Duo T2400 processor, which is one of the most popular 1st generation dual core mobile  CPUs.

The Mobility Radeon X1600 graphic card doesn't really belong to the leading pack of the most potent GPUs, but its performance guarantees some comfortable fun with the newest, demanding games.

The 80GB Fujitsu HDD has a quite good average transfer rate but the access time is not that rosy.

Further information about the video card can be found  here or in our comparison of mobile video cards. Detailed information about the Core Duo CPU can be found here.

Please also look at our benchmark list of mobile processors or at our benchmark list of mobile video cards, in order to compare this notebook to other configurations.

Benchmark Comparison 3DMark
Benchmark Comparison Toshiba Tecra A7
Benchmark Comparison PCMark
Benchmark Comparison Toshiba Tecra A7
3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE16335 points
3DMark 036185 points
3DMark 053598 points
3DMark 06
 
1836 points
Help
3DMark 06 in comparison
Sony Vaio VGN-FS485B (min)
 740, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 900
54
   ...
Samsung X60 Pro Boxxer
 T7400, Mobility Radeon X1700
1829
Asus A6Ja-Q001H
 T2300, Mobility Radeon X1600
1830
Toshiba A7
 T2400, Mobility Radeon X1600
1836
Dell Latitude E6400 XFR
 P9600, Quadro NVS 160M
1841
Dell Venue 11 Pro 5130
 Z3770, HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
1848
   ...
Clevo Clevo P157SM (max)
 4930MX, GeForce GTX 880M
29955
PC Mark
PCMark 045657 points
PCMark 053978 points
Help
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
692
   ...
Apple MacBook Pro 17"
 T2600, Mobility Radeon X1600
3971
Dell XPS M1210
 T7200, GeForce Go 7400
3973
Toshiba A7
 T2400, Mobility Radeon X1600
3978
HP 620 WT092EA
 T4500, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
3983
Toshiba Satellite Pro A100 PSAACE-010010GR
 T5500, Mobility Radeon X1600
3992
   ...
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
13842
80 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 4.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 38.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 30.3 MB/s
Access Time: 18.1 ms
Burst Rate: 77.6 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3.2 %

Emissions

Loudness

After only a couple minutes of being turned on (and on idle) the fan announces its presence (in relatively loud manner) and doesn't quit after that. It's the same story all over again after a couple of minutes of employing the machine with load - the fan shifts into higher gear and continually maintains the higher revolution speed.

Noise Level

Idle 34.7 / 40.1 / 38.4 dB(A)
HDD 34.9 dB(A)
DVD 40.3 / dB(A)
Load / 40.1 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Although we weren't, by any means, lenient towards the Tecra A7, and tried to fatigue it as much as possible, we weren't able to warm up its chassis. Another good sign, which suggests that the material used is in fact magnesium alloy. The maximum measured on the top case was only 38°C. And also at the bottom side the temperature  never exceeded 40 degrees Celsius

Upper side

palmwrist: 29.3°C max: 37.9°C avg: 31.4°C

Bottom side

max: 39.5°C avg: 33.0°C

Speakers

Although Toshiba doesn't make a fuss about it (there is no sign of any sort on the chassis), the Tecra A7 is equipped with Harman Kardon speakers. Hidden behind an inconspicuous perforated cover, they provide clear but not too loud sound.

Battery Runtime

One of the few major complaints about Toshiba laptops is invariably the low battery capacity. Equipped with a 4000mAh battery, the battery run time is between an hour (full load) and about two hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
2h 05min
DVD
1h 40min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 07min

Power Consumption

Idle 28.3 / 31.0 / 33.4 Watt
Load 62 / 51 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         

Verdict

Despite of the before mentioned creaking, the somewhat worn Tecra A7 quite impressed us with its seemingly endless vitality. This laptop really seems very robust, and is that solid, one would possibly need to make a serious effort in order to damage it.

The worst part, on the other hand, is the lousy screen by LG.Philips, which has a rightly has a bad reputation. Still, it seems to be loved by Toshiba without a common-sense reason (we assume that this is a price decision). Its brightness is very low, and the viewing angles are quite horrible. Oh, well...

Thanks to our partners of Notebookcheck Polen, who reviewed this notebook.

Toshiba Tecra A7
Toshiba Tecra A7
Reviewed: Toshiba Tecra A7-111
Toshiba Tecra A7

Specifications

Toshiba A7

:: Processor
Intel Core Duo T2400 1.83 GHz (Intel Core Duo)
:: Memory
512 MB, Samsung DDR2-533, maks. 4096 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
15.4 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, WXGA TruBrite (LG Philips LP154W01-TLA2)
:: Harddisk
80 GB - 5400 rpm, 80 GB 5400 rpm Fujitsu MHV2080BH PL: 80GB, 5400rpm
:: Connections
1x CardBus typ II, 4x USB 2.0, FireWire, wej¶cie mikrofonowe, wyj¶cie s³uchawkowe, LPT, RJ-11, RJ-45, TV-out, D-Sub/VGA, gniazdo stacji dokuj±cej
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 37 x 360 x 267
:: Weight
2.72 kg
:: Battery
, litowo-jonowy 4000 mAh
:: Price
6273 Euro
:: Additional features
Mobile Intel Calistoga i945PM, HDD: 80GB, 5400rpm, Fujitsu MHV2080BH PL, Realtek ALC861 @ Intel 82801GBM ICH7-M - HD audio, Matshita DVD-RAM UJ-841S,

 

[+] compare
Toshiba is apparently very proud of its business class, because it introduces the Tecra with capital letters.
A MR X1600 GPU and a pretty average Core Duo CPU can bearably keep up with competing systems.
When one's typing really fast, one can easily activate the Caps Lock instead of typing the letter 'A'; below: a worn left Shift.
The optical drive is loud while reading discs, and accompanied by some vibration on the notebooks chassis.
A twofold bay will accept both PCCards and ExpressCards.
The WiFi switch, on the other hand, seemed very comfortable to us, and has been placed in the most proper location.
Putting the cardreader just below the touchpad is not a good idea.
The deeply sank dial (on the right side) is not easy to use.
The hinges are generously proportioned, but one might have some minor reservations regarding their behavior.
Many properties hint on a magnesium alloy.
You can hardly find a more tranquil top case design.
The speakers are not no-name ones; indeed they are real Harman Kardons.

Pro

  • Solid and fairly light magnesium chassis
  • Some old-fashioned ports beside modern ones
  • No noteworthy warming up of the chassis
  • Contra

  • Loud creaking sounds
  • LG.Philips' screen
  • Hardly any data protection devices for business people
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    > Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Toshiba Tecra A7 Notebook
    Author: Tomasz Cyba, 2007-06-30 (Update: 2013-05- 8)