Review Toshiba Tecra R950-192 Notebook

Till Schönborn, 05/05/2013

The business professional? With the Tecra R950, Toshiba wants to teach its competitors from Dell, HP and Lenovo the meaning of fear. To do so, they equipped it with the currently fastest Dual-Core processor, an integrated UMTS module and extensive security equipment. But is this enough to justify the high price?

For the original German review, see here.

Those who are looking for a high-performance business notebook often turn directly to well-known brands like HP and Lenovo. But there are alternatives: Other manufacturers have interesting professional devices in their portfolio as well.

Toshiba for example. Their Tecra series has been established in this segment for years and ranks among the most serious competitors to such prestigious top dogs as the ThinkPad or the ProBook series.

Today we want to have a closer look at the current 15-inch-model Tecra R950. The price starts at 800 Euros (~$1049) and quickly cracks the 1,600 Euros (~$2098) mark, depending on the equipment. Our test device R950-192 (nearly 1,500 Euros/~$1967) relies on a fast Intel Core i7-3540Meight GB RAM and a 320-GB-HDD (SSD is available for a surcharge). To replace the weak graphics processor, Toshiba has also built in a dedicated Radeon HD 7570M with GDDR5-memory, which drives a matte WXGA++-display with 1600x900 pixels. Several safety features, as the integrated UMTS-module as well as the Professional version of Windows 7 (Windows 8 is enclosed as well) do underline the focus on business clients for this notebook.

In the following review we will compare the R950 to, among others, the Lenovo ThinkPad T530, the Dell Latitude E6530 and the HP ProBook 6570b. Is our candidate up for the challenge?

Case

Wie wir testen - Gehäuse

Wavy case surface
geriffelte Gehäuseoberfläche

Matte surfaces, dark colors: The optics of the Tecra R950 corresponds to the typical subtle standard of a professional notebook. Following the principle of “form follows function”, the focus of the design clearly follows the rule of ergonomics and practical use. According to the manufacturer, the case, which is coated with fine grooves and made of high-strength artificial resin, also shines with exceptional durability – a promise, which we surely cannot test in this review.

Directly compared to its competitors, the R950 surprises with a relatively slim case. A maximum thickness of 25.4 millimeters (1 inch) and a weight of nearly 2.5 kilograms (~5.5 pounds) let the Tecra appear significantly more delicate than an EliteBook 8570w (35 millimeters, 3.25 kilograms/~1.4 inches, ~7.7 pounds), for example. However, it needs to be mentioned that HP also offers this workstation model with Quad-Core-CPUs and by far stronger graphics cards – but the ProBook 6570b is also noticeably heavier with its 2.8 kilograms (~6.2 pounds).

But what effects does the slim design have on its stability? The base unit turns out to be quite sturdy, though there is still potential for improvement. Under local pressure the chassis slightly gives in above the DVD drive and around the keyboard – this is not the case for some of the competitors. The display, which is held in its place by two tight and extremely precise metal hinges, could have also withstood our deformation tests a little bit better.

In terms of workmanship, there is not much to criticize. Nothing rattles or wiggles, all material transitions were well processed and sharp edges rounded thoroughly – however, this should be expected in a notebook for nearly 1,500 Euros (~$1967). Altogether, the Tecra R950 has earned a good but not very good overall grade in this discipline.

Connectivity

Wie wir testen - Ausstattung

For the connection of external devices, the notebook was fitted with four USB-ports, which come with a few special features. Two of those ports already support the fast USB-3.0-standard and another one was combined with an eSATA-interface for the connection of external hard-drives. Via Sleep-and-Charge, USB-devices can also be charged when the notebook is turned off, for example to charge a smartphone overnight.

In addition to an analog VGA-output, the R950 comes with a modern DisplayPort, which allows the connection of high-resolution external monitors. On the other hand, the user has to cope without HDMI, or use an adapter or a docking-station, which costs about 200 Euros (~$262). The docking-station is plugged into the bottom of the notebook and provides a big range of various additional interfaces.

On the one hand, the layout chosen by Toshiba is well suited for right- as well as left-handers (USB-ports on both sides of the case); on the other hand, it has some other weaknesses. The distance between the interfaces is slightly too small. Additionally, we would have preferred to have the display-outputs and the LAN port at the back.

Front: No connectivity
Frontseite: keine Anschlüsse
Left: Power connector, ventilation, VGA, DisplayPort, USB 3.0, Card reader, SmartCard-reader
Linke Seite: Netzteilanschluss, Luftauslass, VGA, DisplayPort, USB 3.0, Kartenleser, SmartCard-Reader
Rear: No connectivity
Rückseite: keine Anschlüsse
Right: USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB 2.0/eSATA, DVD burner, Gbit-LAN, Kensington Lock
Rechte Seite: USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB 2.0/eSATA, DVD-Brenner, Gbit-LAN, Kensington Lock

Communication

The extensive communications equipment of the Tecra R950 leaves nothing to be desired. First off the WLAN-adapter: The Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 supports dual band operation in 2.4- and 5-GHz-networks as well as the common radio standards 802.11a/b/g/n. Two antennas (2x2 Dual-Stream) ensure a steady reception even under difficult conditions and allow gross transmission rates at a maximum of 300 Mbit/s. In our practical test, the radio communication impressed with an outstanding range and high speed – provided the corresponding router also supports MIMO. In addition to a number of features like Wireless Display, the current Bluetooth version 4.0 is at the user’s disposal.

UMTS/HSPA(+)-module from Ericsson was built-in for mobile internet access. According to Toshiba, the H5321gw allows a download-/upload-rate of up to 7.2/2.0 Mbit/s (according to Ericsson even 21/5.76 Mbit/s) and also masters positioning via GPS-Signal. The brand-new mobile radio technology LTE was not installed.

The 1.0-Megapixel-webcam, which is fitted into the display frame, records pictures and videos with a resolution of up to 1280x800 pixels. To achieve really smooth frame rates though, the resolution needs to be changed to 640x480 pixels or less, which is still suitable for communication purposes. Worthy of note is the low picture noise and the excellent speech quality of the integrated microphone.

Security 

The protection of sensitive corporate data has a top priority for a business notebook. For this reason, Toshiba has equipped the laptop with comprehensive safety features. This includes BIOS with support for Computrace and Intel’s anti-theft-technology (data deletion and device tracking after theft), a fingerprint scanner, a SmartCard-reader and a so-called Trusted Platform Module (TPM). For more details about those technologies, we have written a separate extra article for you.

Accessories

Besides the notebook with its power adapter and battery, Toshiba encloses some brochures and an installation disk for Windows 8 Pro. However, the preinstalled operating system is Windows 7 Professional – this leaves it up to the user to decide which version he prefers.

The accompanying software package is particularly generous. More than 700 MB of tools, administrative tools and other little helpers can be found on the hard-drive; including a shock sensor utility, a wireless- and GPS-manager and recovery software. It remains to be seen if all these applications are really needed. At least annoying adware was left out.

Maintenance

At the bottom of the notebook, the user finds three maintenance covers, which allow the exchange of the most important components. Sadly, all available slots are occupied ex-factory, which only allows an installation of an SSD after the removal of the hard-drive. To clean the fans and the heat sink, the case needs to be taken apart.

 

 

Toshiba Double guarantee
Toshiba Doppelgarantie

Warranty

The purchase price includes a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty including Bring-In-service, which can be extended for a relatively small price. An extension for a total of 3 years costs about 60 Euros (~$79), for 4 years 100 Euros (~$131). Furthermore, Toshiba guarantees the following: In case of defect during the first year, the notebook does not only get repaired, but the customer is reimbursed with the full purchase price ("Toshiba Double guarantee").

Input Devices

Wie wir testen - Eingabegeräte

Keyboard

The integrated Chiclet-keyboard scores with an additional numeric keypad and is also splash proof; backlight, like some ThinkPads and EliteBooks have, is missing, though. For the layout, the manufacturer was guided by the common standards and placed the 18 x 18 mm (~0.7 x 0.7 inches) letters where the user expects to find them. The arrow and function keys are a bit smaller, which is not bothersome in everyday usage.

Despite an overall consistent typing feeling, the keyboard fails to keep up with the best models on the market in our practical test. The keystroke is relatively soft and combined with a short stroke distance– this may be a matter of taste, but a slightly tighter layout would deliver more feedback on each keystroke. On the other hand, we liked the excellent stability and the minimal noise level even when typing quickly.

Touchpad and Trackpoint

The 8.5 x 4.9 cm (~3.4 x 1.9 inches) touchpad has a rubberized surface whose small frictional resistance allows an exact navigation of the cursor. All input commands are processed quickly and can be done via multi-touch-gestures (pinch-to-zoom, scrolling with two fingers) if desired. The mouse buttons were replaced by two shiny metallic buttons whose tight pressure point leaves a very good impression of quality.

Alternatively, the user can rely on Trackpoint, also known as Toshiba’s "AccuPoint". Precision and responding qualities are excellent. The little joystick turned out a little bit too tiny, though. With a little practice, Trackpoint proves to be a practical extra because the necessary finger movements were kept to a minimum. The associated buttons work as firmly and reliable as the ones of the touchpad.

Keyboard
Tastatur
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

Wie wir testen - Display

The 15.6-inch anti-glare display of the Tecra R950 is offered with a resolution of 1366x768 as well as 1600x900 pixels; our test device had the higher resolution WXGA++-version. The user soon appreciates the additional pixels, especially when using Excel charts or multitasking more often. Simultaneously the resulting pixel density of 118 dpi guarantees a still comfortable font size.

Toshiba promotes the display as “high-brightness-display”, thus promising a strong backlight. Indeed: With its wide control range of 19 to 260 cd/m² (eight stages), the luminance can be perfectly adjusted to various surrounding conditions. Only a few competitors like the Dell Latitude E6530 (up to 278 cd/m²) offer a higher luminance. Nevertheless, there are ultrabooks that reach over 300 cd/m² - such values would have been desirable for the Tecra as well.

245
cd/m²
252
cd/m²
292
cd/m²
238
cd/m²
253
cd/m²
287
cd/m²
253
cd/m²
243
cd/m²
272
cd/m²
Information
X-Rite i1 Pro 2
Maximum: 292 cd/m²
Average: 259.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 254 cd/m²
Black: 1.99 cd/m²
Contrast: 127:1
Distribution of brightness

The measurement of black value (1.99 cd/m²) and contrast (127:1) was disappointing, though. Dark parts of an image always seem a bit grayish, which causes a colorless and pale image. The reason behind it is, that Toshiba chose to produce their own TN-Panel (TOS5092), which is far behind competing displays as far as quality is concerned (LG-Philips (ProBook 6570b) or AUO (ThinkPad T530)). Since the Tecra R950 is surely no multimedia- or gaming-laptop, this flaw can be ignored.

First, we examined the color display in delivery condition and afterwards had a look at the results after calibration. It quickly turns out that this notebook is not meant for professional photographers or graphic designers: Only 51% of the important sRGB color space is covered and the color deviation was relatively strong (Delta E up to 15, 9 when calibrated). The display of grayscales only works slightly better and only comes close to the ideal when previously calibrated (Delta E 12, calibrated 1.4).

Color fidelity
Farbtreue
Color fidelity (calibrated)
Farbtreue (kalibriert)
Color saturation
Farbsättigung
Color saturation (calibrated)
Farbsättigung (kalibriert)
Greyscale
Graustufen
Greyscale (calibrated)
Graustufen (kalibriert)
R950 vs. sRGB (t)
R950 vs. sRGB (t)
R950 vs. 6570b (t)
R950 vs. 6570b (t)
Outdoors
Außeneinsatz

The combination of an anti-glare display surface and high maximum brightness – which is held steadily when running on battery power – allows using the R950 outdoors. Annoying reflections are very rare and often so weak that they do not affect the user. The display has only to surrender under direct sunlight – a problem that could only be reduced by an even stronger backlight.

Viewing angles Toshiba Tecra R950-192
Blickwinkel Toshiba Tecra R950-192

Many displays based on TN-technology struggle with picture quality at large image angles. The display of our test object is no exception – on the contrary: Especially vertically, the screen falsifies the image quickly, which causes a constant need for readjustment of the display hinges. In comparison to other TN-panels, the display of the R950 performs below average.

To conclude this chapter we would like to mention the excellent signal quality of the analog VGA-output. Even at a resolution of 1920x1200 pixels the pictures stays nearly flicker-free and razor-sharp – by no means a given.

Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

3,7 GHz maximum Turbo Boost
3,7 GHz maximaler Turbo Boost

Since the presentation of the new Haswell-processors is expected for June, thus ending the Ivy-Bridge-era, Intel has injected new life into its current CPU-platform with a series of so-called “speed-bumps”. The Core i7-3540M represents the new top model of the dual-core-class succeeding the i7-3520M processor.

The clock rate of 3.0 GHz and the turbo-settings of 3.5 (2 cores) and 3.7 GHz (one core) do not give reason to expect a big performance leap in comparison to the 100 MHz slower predecessors. Owing to the meanwhile fully developed 22-nanometer assembly, Intel managed to keep the TDP at 35 Watts and was not forced to make substantial changes. Also on board are features like Hyperthreading-technology, for a better multi-threading-performance and a four MB L3-Cache.

Like all mobile spin-offs of the Ivy-Bridge-series, the Core i7-3540M has a DirectX-11 capable graphics card, which is not used in the Toshiba Tecra R950-192, though. Instead of the HD Graphics 4000, a dedicated Radeon HD 7570M comes into use for the image calculation and is constantly active during 2D- and 3D-mode. Pity – a flexible graphics switching via AMD’s Enduro-technology could have lowered the power consumption during idle and increased the battery run time.

Depending on the configuration, the R950 is available with SSDs or HDDs of varying capacity. Our test candidate has a common 320 GB hard-drive, which makes it 200 Euros (~$262) cheaper than its 256 GB flash memory equivalent. Furthermore, eight GB DDR3-RAM were built in, in dual-channel-mode (2x 4 GB DDR-1600).

System info CPUZ
System info CPUZ
System info CPUZ
System info CPUZ
System info CPUZ
System info GPUZ
System info HWInfo
DPC latencies
System information Toshiba Tecra R950-192

Processor

Owing to the extreme high (turbo) clock speed of up to 3.7 GHz, the i7-3540M shows an excellent single-thread performance. In the respective test of the Cinebench R11.5 (64-bit) the CPU scored 1.52 points, which is equal to the quad-core model i7-3740QM. When all available threads are being used, the 3540M falls about 50% behind at 3.49 points. As expected, we can only detect a marginal performance increase compared to its predecessor Core i7-3520M – not much, but still enough to take the throne as the fastest dual-core processor. Fortunately, the performance is not throttled when running on battery.

Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit
Toshiba Tecra R950-192
Radeon HD 7570M, 3540M, Toshiba MK3261GSYG
3.49 Points ∼29%
Lenovo ThinkPad T530 2429-5XG
NVS 5400M, 3520M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
3.36 Points ∼28% -4%
HP ProBook 6570b (B6P88EA)
Radeon HD 7570M, 3320M, Toshiba MK5061GSYN
3.1 Points ∼26% -11%
Samsung 400B5C-H02DE
HD Graphics 4000, 3210M, Lite-On LMT-128M3M
2.88 Points ∼24% -17%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
6326 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
13307 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
8724 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5018
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
10993
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8783
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.52 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.49 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
25.63 fps
Help

Storage Devices

HD-Tune-benchmark
HD-Tune-Benchmark

Toshiba equipped the R950 with a 320 GB hard-drive from its own company. The MK3261GSYG (2.5 inches, 9.5 millimeters height) runs at 7200 rpm and has a 16 MB cache. The result is quite impressive: With its average sequential transfer rate of 93.4 MB/s, the hard-drive belongs to the fastest of the currently available ones. The access time, which profits from the fast speed of rotation, is 16.7 milliseconds, according to HD Tune.

The available 256 GB SSD is Toshiba’s HG5-series with a flash controller from Marvell. You can find benchmark results for this hard-drive here.

Toshiba MK3261GSYG
Transfer Rate Minimum: 54.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 116.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 93.4 MB/s
Access Time: 16.7 ms
Burst Rate: 91.8 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

System Performance

According to its good results for the processor and data medium, the Tecra can also score when it comes to system benchmarks of the PCMark-series. With 8,003 points in the PCMark Vantage as well as 2,201 points in the PCMark 7, our candidate is at the same performance level as its similarly equipped competitors like the HP ProBook 6570b or the Lenovo ThinkPad T530. The more expensive SSD-alternative should score even higher – those wanting to install a flash memory themselves find the necessary information further up in the section "Maintenance".

In everyday use, the R950 works inconspicuously and efficiently. Simple office software does not present itself as a problem and the laptop has enough power reserves for more demanding software like simulation- or CAD-software (see following chapter). Considering this computational power the user should only rarely long for a faster quad-core processor.

PCMark 7 - Score
Toshiba Tecra R950-192
Radeon HD 7570M, 3540M, Toshiba MK3261GSYG
2201 Points ∼33%
HP ProBook 6570b (B6P88EA)
Radeon HD 7570M, 3320M, Toshiba MK5061GSYN
2191 Points ∼33% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T530 2429-5XG
NVS 5400M, 3520M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
2442 Points ∼37% +11%
5.8
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.3
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.6
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.8
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.6
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage8003 points
PCMark 72201 points
Help

Graphics Card

SPECviewperf 11
SPECviewperf 11

The Radeon HD 7570M is based on one of the older 40 nanometer chips, which has been on the market for over two years and is also used for some of the models of the HD-6000 series. By now, the computation power of the 400 VLIW5-shader units is ranking at the low end but still exceeds the integrated HD Graphics 4000 by a small margin. Another reason for the low performance is that Toshiba clocks the graphics card at 500 MHz for the core and 600 MHz for the one GB GDDR5-memory, which is slightly lower than allowed by AMD. We could only reach a score of 901 points at the performance preset of the 3DMark 11.

As the results of the SPECviewperf-11 benchmarks prove, the HD 7570M is at least conditionally suitable for professional CAD-applications. Those regularly using these kinds of programs should instead choose a FirePro- (AMD) or Quadro-card (Nvidia) with their specially optimized drivers. The GPU can still be used for general computations via OpenCL-interface – a feature that is also available for the slower HD 4000. In conclusion, we would like to point out that the graphics driver does not support a resolution of 1366x768 pixels ex-factory; we explain how to add it manually here.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance
Toshiba Tecra R950-192
Radeon HD 7570M, 3540M, Toshiba MK3261GSYG
901 Points ∼7%
HP ProBook 6570b (B6P88EA)
Radeon HD 7570M, 3320M, Toshiba MK5061GSYN
963 Points ∼7% +7%
Dell Latitude E6530
HD Graphics 4000, 3360M, Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500423AS
619 Points ∼5% -31%
3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
5738 points
3DMark Vantage3571 points
3DMark 11901 points
3DMark Ice Storm45370 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4329 points
3DMark Fire Strike562 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Crysis 3
Crysis 3

Although gaming is not one of the main applications of this laptop, we would still like to take a look at the performance for some of the current titles. This confirms what we had mentioned earlier: Even though the Radeon HD 7570M is slightly faster than the HD Graphics 4000 is, it can only reach acceptable frame rates at low settings. Very complex games like Battlefield 3 or Crysis 3 do not even reach the important 30 fps mark at minimal detail settings.

low med.high ultra
Battlefield 3 (2011) 2819.915.4fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 65.225.216.2fps
Diablo III (2012) 62.942.135.1fps
Sleeping Dogs (2012) 51.237.913.2fps
Dishonored (2012) 4333.930.4fps
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2012) 53.534.715.7fps
Dead Space 3 (2013) 91.933.226.1fps
Crysis 3 (2013) 22.313.68.7fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 55.32615.2fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 47.923.519.4fps

Emissions

Wie wir testen - Emissionen

System Noise

Due to the consistently activated fan and the quietly humming hard-drive, the Tecra is never completely silent even during idle. A noise level of 31.8 dB(A) is not annoying but is quite noticeable in quiet surroundings. The similar sister model tested with an SSD-drive and integrated graphics card (R950-191) performs at 29.6 dB(A) and is clearly quieter.

The system noise rises drastically under heavy use. The notebooks run at between 35.9 and 44.2 dB(A) in the 3DMark 06 test and peaks at a noisy 49.3 dB(A) during the stress test. The relatively high-frequency characteristic of the fan noise quickly gnaws on the user’s nerves during longer periods of time under full load. This problem is mainly due to its slim design – more massive business competitors like the ThinkPad T530 present themselves a lot better here.

Noise Level

Idle 31.8 / 31.8 / 31.8 dB(A)
HDD 31.8 dB(A)
DVD 34.7 / dB(A)
Load 35.9 / 49.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    PCE-322A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stresstest

The heat generation of the device stays low for common use: During idle, we measure an average of 30 °C (86 °F) at the top and bottom. This allows usage on the thighs without restrictions. Under full load, the temperature jumps up to 40 °C (104 °F) around the air outlet while most parts of the case stay at slightly higher values compared to idle. 

Toshiba seems to be able to handle the temperature management of the notebook – but does this also apply to the hardware inside? After stressing the processor for one hour with Prime95 and FurMark it levels off at an uncritical level of 82 °C (179.6 °F), but only clocks at the base frequency of 3.0 GHz. The theoretically possible Turbo Boost of 3.5 GHz can only do his work for a few minutes at the beginning of the stress test; this behavior cannot be observed with real applications, though. The graphics card heats up to 66 °C (150.8 °F) and constantly keeps its maximum clock rate of 500/600 MHz (core/memory).

 32.6 °C29.6 °C26.1 °C 
 33.7 °C33.3 °C26.3 °C 
 28.4 °C34.5 °C30.5 °C 
 
26.7 °C31.7 °C29.7 °C
27.2 °C34.2 °C31.9 °C
31.6 °C31.1 °C28.2 °C
Maximum: 34.5 °C
Average: 30.6 °C
 Maximum: 34.2 °C
Average: 30.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  36.2 °C | Room Temperature 21.0 °C | Fennel Firt 550

Speakers

The integrated stereo loudspeakers, situated at the top of the keyboard, were primarily designed for office purposes. The highly treble-prone sound and the limited volume reserves limit the joy of watching a movie or listening to music drastically. In those cases the user should go back to an external sound system (connection possible via DisplayPort or 3.5-millimeter jack). However, the small speakers fulfill the demands for system sounds or VoIP-applications.

Energy Management

Wie wir testen - Akkulaufzeit

Energy Consumption

As mentioned before, Toshiba did not implement AMD’s Enduro-technology for automatic graphics switching. Thus causing the consumption during idle to be rather high at 12.3 to 17.6 Watts. This results in less battery run time – a problem that is already well known from the HP ProBook 6570b. For comparison: The Tecra R950-191 with an integrated graphics solution is satisfied with 8.2 to 12.6 Watts.

Along with the dedicated graphics card, the high clocking processor is especially responsible for the high power consumption under full load. Since the maximum consumption lies between 41.2 and 75.3 Watts – the latter value is only reached during the unrealistic stress test – the 75-Watt power supply is correctly dimensioned.

Power consumption

Off / Standby 0.4 / 1.2 Watt
Idle 12.3 / 15.7 / 17.6 Watt
Load 41.2 / 75.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Although Toshiba fitted a 66-Wh-battery into the notebook to counteract the big power consumption, the runtime of the laptop is rather short especially under small load. The R950-192 runs only for 5 hours and 25 minutes in the Battery Eater Reader’s test (minimal brightness, energy-saving mode, WLAN off) – the more energy-efficient sister model is running 12.5 hours, more than twice as long without the dedicated graphics card.

Our practical WLAN-test (about 150 cd/m² brightness) shows that the user can browse and work for nearly 4 hours before it runs out of battery. Even though this is significantly better than the HP ProBook 6570b with its 2.5 hours, it still is far behind the values of other competitors with graphics switching.

As expected, the Battery Eater Classic test (maximum brightness, high performance, WLAN on), which puts stress on the processor as well as the graphics card, achieves the shortest runtime. The notebook needs to be reconnected to the socket after 1 hour and 22 minutes at the latest where the battery is charged within about 3.5 hours.

Reader's Test
Readers Test
Classic Test
Classic Test
Charging
Ladevorgang
Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 25min
WiFi Surfing
3h 57min
DVD
3h 32min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 22min

Verdict

Wie wir testen - Fazit

Toshiba Tecra R950-192
Toshiba Tecra R950-192

What is essential for a good business notebook? Features like reliability and quality but also low emission rates are probably top priorities for the buyer. The Toshiba Tecra R950-192 shows promising approaches in those disciplines but lacks when it comes to the final touch.

This can be observed for the slim and carefully processed case, which cannot keep up with the best laptops of its class in terms of stability, though. The connectivity and input devices of the laptop do also perform well but without being tremendously better in comparison to its competition.

One of the biggest advantages of the R950 is its outstanding application performance, owing to the fast hard-drive and the higher-clocked i7-processor. Sadly, the cooling system barely copes with the waste heat of the CPU and GPU causing the background noise to rise strongly, especially under full load. Those able to take a pass on a few percentage points of performance should instead choose a model with i5-core and integrated graphics card. The same advice goes for the battery runtime, which suffers greatly because of the missing graphics switching. Thanks to its anti-glare and high-brightness display, its integrated UMTS and low weight the notebook commends itself as a mobile companion for everyday business life.

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In Review: Toshiba Tecra R950-192
Im Test: Toshiba Tecra R950-192

Specifications

Toshiba Tecra R950-192

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel QM77 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, 2x 4 GB DDR3-1600 (Hynix/Samsung), 2 Slots
:: Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon HD 7570M - 1024 MB, Core: 500 MHz, Memory: 600 MHz, GDDR5-VRAM, 8.932.5.6000
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1600x900 pixel, TOS5092, TN-Panel, LED-Backlight, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Toshiba MK3261GSYG, 320 GB 7200 rpm 16 MB Cache
:: Soundcard
Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: headset connection (3.5 millimeters jack), Card Reader: 5-in-1-Card reader (SD, SDHC, MMS, xD, MS/Pro), 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, TPM
:: Networking
Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth, Ericsson H5321gw (GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA+)
:: Optical drive
Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8C2
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 25.4 x 379 x 252
:: Weight
2.45 kg Power Supply: 0.37 kg
:: Battery
66 Wh Lithium-Ion, 6 cells, 5700 mAh
:: Price
1500 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64 Bit) + Windows 8 Pro (64 Bit)
:: Additional features
Webcam: 720p, Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, 75 Watt power supply, Recovery-DVD, Windows-8-DVD, el. manual, Toshiba Tempro, Recovery Media Reminder, Webcam-application, Wireless Manager, GPS Utility, Eco Utility, 24 Months Warranty, Markus Döpfert

 

Toshiba is probably not one of the first brands, ...
when it comes to business notebooks.
But with the Tecra series, the manufacturer has...
a few attractive models in its product line.
The 15.6 inch Tecra R950...
scores with its solid artificial resin case...
and excellent workmanship.
Particularly the massive metall hinges...
delight with a wide opening angle.
The range of interfaces includes...
a modern DisplayPort-outlet...
and a combined USB/eSATA-interface.
sowie eine kombinierte USB/eSATA-Schnittstelle.
Additional ports can be added via docking station.
Weitere Anschlüsse können per Docking-Station ergänzt werden.
An integrated SmartCard-reader as well as...
Ein integrierter SmartCard-Reader sowie...
a fingerprint-scanner provide security.
ein Fingerabdruck-Scanner sorgen für Sicherheit.
Although the key stroke could have been a bit tighter...
Obwohl der Anschlag noch etwas fester ausfallen könnte, ...
the keyboard leaves a good impression.
hinterlässt die Tastatur einen insgesamt guten Eindruck.
A numeric keypad was also integrated.
Auch ein Ziffernblock wurde integriert.
The cursor can both be controlled by touchpad...
Der Mauszeiger kann sowohl per Touchpad...
and trackpoint.
als auch mittels eines Trackpoints gesteuert werden.
The 1.0-MP-webcam is of average quality.
Für Fotos und Videos dient eine 1,0-MP-Webcam durchschnittlicher Qualität.
The noise level of the fan is very annoying under full load.
Unter Volllast erreicht der Lärmpegel unangenehme Ausmaße.
Toshiba ships the R950 with Windows 7 as well as Windows 8.
Toshiba liefert das R950 sowohl mit Windows 7 als auch Windows 8 aus.
The bottom can be opened in several places...
Mit wenigen Handgriffen...
with just a few steps.
kann die Unterseite an mehreren Stellen geöffnet werden.
Here you find the memory,...
Hier findet man den Arbeitsspeicher, ...
the hard-drive...
die Festplatte...
and both radio modules.
sowie die beiden Funkmodule.
Despite the strong 66-Wh-battery...
Trotz des üppigen 66-Wh-Akkus...
the notebook needs to be charged after 4 hours in everday use.
muss das Notebook im Alltag nach etwa 4 Stunden geladen werden.
Charging is taken care of by the power supply...
Dies übernimmt das mitgelieferte Netzteil...
with a power of 75 Watt.
mit einer Leistung von 75 Watt.

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Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+High performance
+Integrated UMTS
+Good input devices
+Extensive Interfaces
+Precise display hinges
 

Contra

-Missing graphics switching
-Short battery runtimes
-High noise levels
-angle-dependent display
-moderate price-performance ratio

Shortcut

What we like

Its extensive security and interface equpiment makes the Tecra R950 a versatile companion for financially strong business customers. The level of quality of the case and input devices is also very high.

What we'd like to see

The noise level of the notebook soon becomes unpleasant especially under heavy load. In addition to a more modern and energy-efficient graphics card, Toshiba should consider a more powerful cooling system.

What surprises us

It difficult to understand why the manufacturer decided to pass on flexible graphics switching. The R950 only reaches average runtimes despite a powerful 66-Wh-battery.

The competition

Toshiba's business notebook has to compete with a range of high-quality competitors. For example: Dell Latitude E6530/E5530, HP ProBook 6570b, HP EliteBook 8570p, Lenovo ThinkPad T530 or Samsung 400B5C.

Rating

Toshiba Tecra R950-192
04/25/2013 v3
Till Schönborn

Chassis
84%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
85%
Connectivity
80%
Weight
82%
Battery
83%
Display
69%
Games Performance
73%
Application Performance
90%
Temperature
85%
Noise
80%
Add Points
80%
Average
81%
82%
Office *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Toshiba Tecra R950-192 Notebook
Author: Till Schönborn, 2013-05- 5 (Update: 2013-06- 6)