Notebookcheck

Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 Notebook Review

Florian Wimmer (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 07/12/2014

Magnesium for the office. The Toshiba Tecra Z40 is officially not an Ultrabook, but it is still light and thin. Read our review to find out if it offers what you would expect from a high-quality office notebook.

In Review: Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147. Review unit courtesy of Toshiba Germany.

For the original German review, see here.

Selling notebooks to large companies is probably the dream of every manufacturer: The customers order large quantities at once, replace their hardware every couple of years and provide important feedback about the usage scenarios. They obviously expect reliable devices in return, which protect sensitive data and are easy to manage at the same time.

Toshiba is a familiar company when it comes to business devices: The sophisticated and handy business notebooks also look good on your desk at home. The new notebooks from the Toshiba Tecra Z40-series are models with a 14-inch screen, a popular size for the office, and notebooks of this size are often complemented by docking stations and external displays.

The Tecra Z40 A-147 is equipped with a frugal Intel Core i5, 4 GB memory and a 500 GB hard drive. This configuration retails for 1,349 Euros (~$1835), even though hardly any retailer charges this price on the Internet: The current street price is around 1,000 Euros (~$1360) including VAT.

There are many rivals for a place on millions of office desks: Dell offers its comprehensive Latitude-series and we select the Latitude E7440 for the comparison. Acer has the TravelMate P645, Fujitsu offers the LifeBook E744 if you need more performance and HP the EliteBook 840. The Lenovo ThinkPad T440s is the classic of business notebooks.

Case

Silver case with smooth corners
Silver case with smooth corners

The Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 looks very nice: The subtle silver colored case and the restrained design, which is still appealing, will probably fit in every work environment. The only colored element is the blue "Accupoint" that works like Lenovo's "TrackPoint" and can be used as an additional input device.

The case is completely made of magnesium, a very high quality and light material. Small drawback: You always have the feeling of construction wear and tear if you move your fingers over the display. There are also visible traces of wiping, so the cover has to be cleaned every once in a while.

Toshiba sent the Tecra A40 to the TÜV for evaluation. They determined a drop resistance from a height of up to 76 centimeters (~30 inches) and keyboard splash protection against 30 milliliters (~6 teaspoons) of fluid.

However, the torsion resistance of the display is not very convincing in our test: Hold the screen at the corners and you can twist it, which is accompanied by quiet creaking sounds. The effects are also quickly visible on the display. The base unit can dent with medium force in the area of the palm rest and the same applies for the keyboard, but it is sturdy during normal typing. Overall, the Tecra Z40 A1-147 feels very high quality and the mentioned drawbacks in terms of stability hardly affect the usability in practice.

The dimensions border those small enough to meet the Ultrabook standard, but the business notebook does not include a touchscreen, for example, so it cannot carry the Ultrabook title. Toshiba avoids the name and calls the Tecra Z40 "ultra mobile". With a height of up to 20.4 millimeters (~0.8 inches), the device is slimmer than any notebook within the comparison, even though the difference is sometimes very small.

Connectivity

Offering all necessary ports in a slim chassis is obviously a challenge. However, Toshiba did a good job, and they were, for instance, able to integrate a full-sized LAN and VGA port. Besides an SD card reader, you also get a SmartCard reader and three USB 3.0 ports. Finally, there is a docking port at the bottom of the case.

Even though there are no ports at the back of the device, Toshiba still managed to locate the majority of ports on the rear area of the sides, so there should be no annoying cables when you use a mouse. Only the full-size HDMI port on the left side is further toward the front, which might be an issue for left-handers.

Back: No ports
Back: No ports
Front: Speakers, status LEDs
Front: Speakers, status LEDs
Left side: Fan exhaust, VGA, USB 3.0, HDMI, SD reader, SIM slot
Left side: Fan exhaust, VGA, USB 3.0, HDMI, SD reader, SIM slot
Right side: SmartCard, combined stereo jack, 2x USB 3.0, LAN, AC power, Kensington
Right side: SmartCard, combined stereo jack, 2x USB 3.0, LAN, AC power, Kensington

Communication

Although free Wi-Fi is increasingly popular, business customers still like the possibility to use the Internet via WWAN to improve the flexibility. Another aspect is that you probably do not want to transmit sensitive data over a free network.

Toshiba integrated a WWAN module that supports the fast LTE standard. At the left side is a slot for a full-size SIM card, which fortunately, can be opened without any tools. The installation of a WWAN connection is a bit tricky since Toshiba does not provide a tool, but there are Open Source tools on the Internet. You can activate or deactivate the WWAN with a key combination, but this will be handled by the system administrator in companies.

The signal is good once you have established a connection. During our test in the metropolitan area, we always had a decent UMTS signal and good transfer rates in the moderately developed E-Plus network. Unfortunately, we could not test LTE because it was not available at our location.

The WLAN module is provided by Intel and supports all the usual standards up to 802.11ac, which enables very fast WLAN connections with a corresponding router. The signal quality is very good as well: We still had the full signal and web pages quickly built up with a distance of 10 meters (~33 feet) from the router and through three walls. Another three meters (~10 feet) and another wall resulted in 3/4 of the signal.

Security 

Even though intelligence services find pretty much everything that is transmitted via the Internet: At least the files on the laptop should be protected if it is lost or stolen. Toshiba provides hard drive encryption via software, integrates a fingerprint reader for secure access and obviously includes a TPM module.

The position of the fingerprint reader is a bit inconvenient (more on that in the section Input Devices), but it recognizes the fingerprint very reliably.

There is also a vibration sensor to protect the files on the hard drive. The sensor lifts the read head as soon as it detects a sudden movement. The keyboard is splash proof, so low amounts of fluid are no danger for the important components.

Accessories

You do not expect many accessories when you buy a business notebook, and the box of the Tecra Z40 A-147 only contains the power adaptor. The port replicator is probably the most useful accessory that is available in Toshiba's online store. It retails for 249 Euros (~$339) and offers more USB ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port besides DVI and DisplayPort.

Maintenance

You cannot replace the battery from the outside; you have to open the case first. This seems simple enough at first: You just have to loosen some Philips screws at the bottom. However, you cannot lift the bottom cover at the rear area, and Toshiba does not provide any information about the disassembly in the manual, either.   

Warranty

Toshiba limits the warranty to 12 months, but the manufacturer offers extended plans on its website.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The chiclet keyboard has 87 keys and background illumination. The letter and number keys are 15  millimeters wide, 13 mm high and spaced 3 mm apart. These are good prerequisites for a fast typing experience without typos.

The typing is actually fairly fast as soon as you get used to the rather low keys. Still, the Dell Latitude E7440, for instance, provides a much better typing experience. One reason is the significantly larger keys, another one is the resistance, which is much lower in the case of the Tecra Z40 A-147 and results in somewhat spongy typing. The travel on the other hand is quite deep, so the overall impression is reasonable.

The keyboard illumination in a subtle white is activated when you press a key and is automatically deactivated 15 seconds after the last input. However, you can also activate or deactivate it permanently. Thanks to the black keys with white lettering, the keys are also easy to see if you activate the illumination during the day.

Touchpad

The touchpad is a ClickPad, which means that there are no dedicated buttons, but clicks can be activated by pressure on the corresponding lower corner on the pad. For a business notebook, in particular, we would prefer a touchpad with dedicated buttons to improve the precision. Working with the ClickPad is no problem, but drag and drop gestures, for instance, take some time getting used to. The surface provides good gliding capabilities in return and does not get smeary. 

The Tecra Z40 A-147 also has an annoying feature: The fingerprint reader sits directly underneath the ClickPad in a chrome colored area. At first, we thought it was a touchpad button; we only noticed the ClickPad after several unsuccessful attempts to click on the fingerprint reader.

You can deactivate the ClickPad with a quick double tap in the upper left corner. On the right side is another touch-sensitive area for the Toshiba Eco Utility.

TrackPoint

The little stick between the letters "G", "H" and "B" is called "Accupoint" and can be used to control the cursor as well. This is our favorite, thanks to the two dedicated buttons above the ClickPad in particular. More or less strong minimal movements with the finger result in a very intuitive control of the cursor.

Keyboard with Accupoint
Keyboard with Accupoint
ClickPad
ClickPad

Display

Right away, we have to say that the 14-inch display is no highlight. The resolution of 1600x900 pixels is just okay, but Full HD would have been appropriate for this price category. The matte panel is pretty much mandatory for a business notebook. The average brightness of 250.6 cd/m² is reasonable as well, especially in comparison with the rivals. However, the maximum brightness is slightly reduced on battery power and you can see that the brightness distribution is uneven.

243
cd/m²
239
cd/m²
244
cd/m²
265
cd/m²
256
cd/m²
254
cd/m²
272
cd/m²
246
cd/m²
236
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 272 cd/m²
Average: 250.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 256 cd/m²
Black: 1.36 cd/m²
Contrast: 188:1

The problems are bigger when we evaluate the black value and the contrast of the panel: With 1.36 cd/m², the black value is clearly too high and black areas always appear grayish. This also results in a contrast of just 188:1, which is even worse than the poor results of the rivals. Only the Acer TravelMate P645 has a decent contrast ratio with 679:1.

The detailed measurements with the software CalMAN and the colorimeter are quite bad and confirm our suspicions: We can measure high deviations of the colors from the reference value of the color space sRGB. Only yellow colors are still reasonable, all the other colors show high deviations. Only white and black are tolerable in terms of grayscale performance, everything in between has a strong blue cast. The saturation of blue is too high as well, whereas red and green are too pale.

Overall, the ThinkPad T440s, for example, offers a much better display with Full HD resolution.

ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
Grayscale
Grayscale
Colorspace coverage sRGB
Colorspace coverage sRGB
Colorspace coverage Adobe RGB
Colorspace coverage Adobe RGB

The matte surface is definitely an advantage if you want to use the Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 outdoors. However, the brightness is not overwhelming, and it is even reduced on battery power, so the results are not great in practice: You can often not recognize enough under direct sunlight to work with the notebook. In the shade or indoors, however, there will not be any problems.

We already had to deal with the similar panel in the Toshiba Tecra S11-11H back in 2010. Back then, the viewing angles were limited and that did not change: The angles are wider to the left and right side without huge picture changes. Vertical changes from above or below on the other hand quickly result in contrast changes. Overall, the picture is the best if you sit directly in front of it, which could help in terms of privacy when you are on a plane or a train.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

The Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 is equipped with an Intel Core i5-4200U processor with a nominal clock of 1.6 GHz, an integrated graphics card with the designation Intel HD Graphics 4400, 4,096 MB memory and a 500 GB hard drive.

The frugal but still powerful processor is not without reason a very popular processor, which is also used in the Dell Latitude E7440, for instance.

System information Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147

Processor

The Intel Core i5-4200U is a frugal processor with a TDP of 15 Watts and two native cores. Thanks to Hyperthreading, it can execute up to four tasks simultaneously. The nominal clock is 1.6 GHz, but it can be raised to 2.6 GHz for one core or 2.3 GHz for two cores via Turbo Boost.

The processor is a very good choice for a business notebook in practice: It is fast enough, even for more complex calculations without big delays, but it is also very frugal at the same time.

The results in the synthetic benchmarks are slightly below the rivals. The HP EliteBook 840 G1 has an advantage of around 20% with the more powerful Core i7-4600UDell's Latitude E7440, which uses the similar Intel Core i5-4200U, manages around 10% more performance. The reason for this difference is not apparent: When we look at the clocks of the Core i5-4200U in our review unit during Cinebench R15, we can see that the maximum Turbo Boost is always utilized.

Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5903 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
9865 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4830 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
15.09 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.49 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.11 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
20.38 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
231 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
100 Points
Help
Cinebench R10
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
9865 Points ∼28%
Dell Latitude E7440
10797 Points ∼30% +9%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
10988 Points ∼31% +11%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
11664 Points ∼33% +18%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
19148 Points ∼54% +94%
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
4830 Points ∼20%
Dell Latitude E7440
5277 Points ∼21% +9%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
5430 Points ∼22% +12%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
6025 Points ∼24% +25%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
6078 Points ∼25% +26%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
2.49 Points ∼14%
Dell Latitude E7440
2.77 Points ∼16% +11%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
2.55 Points ∼14% +2%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
2.92 Points ∼17% +17%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
5.43 Points ∼31% +118%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
1.11 Points ∼60%
Dell Latitude E7440
1.23 Points ∼66% +11%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
1.24 Points ∼67% +12%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
1.46 Points ∼79% +32%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
1.4 Points ∼76% +26%
Cinebench R15
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
231 Points ∼15%
Dell Latitude E7440
253 Points ∼16% +10%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
234 Points ∼15% +1%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
272 Points ∼18% +18%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
509 Points ∼33% +120%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
100 Points ∼65%
Dell Latitude E7440
105 Points ∼69% +5%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
109 Points ∼71% +9%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
126 Points ∼82% +26%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
124 Points ∼81% +24%

Legend

 
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Dell Latitude E7440 Intel Core i5-4300U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
 
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk Intel Core i7-4500U, AMD Radeon HD 8750M, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
 
HP EliteBook 840 G1 Intel Core i7-4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
 
Fujitsu LifeBook E744 Intel Core i7-4702MQ, Intel HD Graphics 4600, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP

System Performance

The Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 falls slightly behind the rivals in the system benchmarks as well. One reason for this could be the slow conventional hard drive or the limited amount of memory with 4 GB (Acer TravelMate P645HP EliteBook 840Fujitsu LifeBook E744: 8 GB).

PC Mark
PCMark 74126 points
PCMark 8 Home v22810 points
PCMark 8 Creative v22495 points
PCMark 8 Work v24094 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
4126 Points ∼62%
Dell Latitude E7440
4535 Points ∼68% +10%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
5159 Points ∼78% +25%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
5303 Points ∼80% +29%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
4334 Points ∼65% +5%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
2810 Points ∼57%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
3610 Points ∼73% +28%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
2790 Points ∼56% -1%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
2495 Points ∼42%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
3114 Points ∼53% +25%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
2758 Points ∼47% +11%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
4094 Points ∼76%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
5180 Points ∼96% +27%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
3972 Points ∼74% -3%

Storage Devices

The storage solution is a conventional hard drive with 7,200 revolutions per minute that is provided by Hitachi. It is obviously much slower than the SSDs, which are used by the competition.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to replace the hard drive, but there are also configurations of the Tecra Z40 with an SSD, so this should not be a huge problem when you buy the device.

Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
Sequential Read: 107.22 MB/s
Sequential Write: 103.68 MB/s
4K Read: 0.55 MB/s
4K Write: 0.57 MB/s
4K-64 Read: 0.34 MB/s
4K-64 Write: 0.53 MB/s
Access Time Read: 16 ms
Access Time Write: 14 ms
Score Read: 12 Points
Score Write: 12 Points
Score Total: 29 Points
AS SSD
Seq Read (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
107.22 MB/s ∼8%
Dell Latitude E7440
505.41 MB/s ∼38% +371%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
479.71 MB/s ∼36% +347%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
450.87 MB/s ∼34% +321%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
512.82 MB/s ∼38% +378%
4K Read (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
0.55 MB/s ∼1%
Dell Latitude E7440
33.69 MB/s ∼43% +6025%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
13.1 MB/s ∼17% +2282%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
23.67 MB/s ∼30% +4204%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
33.31 MB/s ∼42% +5956%
4K-64 Read (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
0.34 MB/s ∼0%
Dell Latitude E7440
376.74 MB/s ∼57% +110706%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
386.71 MB/s ∼58% +113638%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
204.34 MB/s ∼31% +60000%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
368.46 MB/s ∼56% +108271%
4K-64 Write (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
0.53 MB/s ∼0%
Dell Latitude E7440
253 MB/s ∼47% +47636%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
148.51 MB/s ∼28% +27921%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
217.15 MB/s ∼41% +40872%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
196.32 MB/s ∼37% +36942%
Access Time Read (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
16 ms * ∼48%
Dell Latitude E7440
0.086 ms * ∼0% +99%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
0.179 ms * ∼1% +99%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
0.102 ms * ∼0% +99%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
0.096 ms * ∼0% +99%
Access Time Write (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
14 ms * ∼23%
Dell Latitude E7440
0.036 ms * ∼0% +100%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
0.081 ms * ∼0% +99%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
0.277 ms * ∼0% +98%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
0.033 ms * ∼0% +100%
Score Read (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
12 Points ∼1%
Dell Latitude E7440
461 Points ∼56% +3742%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
448 Points ∼54% +3633%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
273 Points ∼33% +2175%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
453 Points ∼55% +3675%
Score Write (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
12 Points ∼2%
Dell Latitude E7440
375 Points ∼55% +3025%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
234 Points ∼34% +1850%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
335 Points ∼49% +2692%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
320 Points ∼47% +2567%
Score Total (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
29 Points ∼2%
Dell Latitude E7440
1076 Points ∼56% +3610%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
910 Points ∼48% +3038%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
745 Points ∼39% +2469%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
1003 Points ∼53% +3359%

* ... smaller is better

Graphics

The Intel HD Graphics 4400 with a core clock of 1,000 MHz is more than sufficient for usual office tasks. You will be disappointed, however, if you want to watch next generation videos: Our test video "Big Buck Bunny" in 4K resolution did not run smoothly with the VLC Media Player on the Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147. Gaming should be limited to older titles, but we will have a closer look in the next section.

3D Mark
3DMark 11782 points
3DMark Ice Storm28516 points
3DMark Cloud Gate3789 points
3DMark Fire Strike500 points
Help
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
3789 Points ∼16%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
5610 Points ∼23% +48%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
4778 Points ∼20% +26%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
5515 Points ∼23% +46%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
500 Points ∼5%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
1169 Points ∼12% +134%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
632 Points ∼6% +26%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
590 Points ∼6% +18%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
782 Points ∼6%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
1854 Points ∼14% +137%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
988 Points ∼8% +26%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
1058 Points ∼8% +35%

Gaming Performance

The Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 behaves like other notebooks with the Intel HD Graphics 4400 in terms of gaming: The GPU is sufficient for older or simpler current games like Diablo 3. However, you might want to reduce the details or the resolution a bit. The latest 3D blockbusters cannot be played smoothly, not even in the lowest resolution.

low med.high ultra
Diablo III (2012) 49.337.229.6fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 40.224.312.1fps
Thief (2014) 10.27.33.9fps

Emissions

System Noise

Is there anything more annoying than a noisy fan if you are sitting in an important meeting? Toshiba knows that as well and reduced the fan noise of the Tecra A-147 to a minimum. Despite the slightly thinner chassis, the review unit leaves a better impression than all the rivals.

The fan is often completely deactivated when idle, and it is almost inaudible if it is running with 30.2 dB(A). The hard drive is also very quiet with 29.5 dB(A). With more complex presentations, including animations or videos, we can measure up to 35.6 dB(A). This is audible, but hardly annoying due to the acceptable frequency.

Noise Level

Idle 28.7 / 28.7 / 30.2 dB(A)
HDD 29.5 dB(A)
Load 31.2 / 35.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-451 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Our review unit does not really get hot, despite the quiet and sometimes deactivated fan. If the device warms up at all, it is at the rear top, where you will hardly touch it. We measured up to 38.7 °C (101.66 °F) at this spot, which is perceptible, but this temperature is a result of continuous load and it is still not unpleasant. The palm rest stays very cool all the time, even under continuous maximum load.

The infrared thermometer measures up to 31.2 °C (88.16 °F) at the rear area of the top during idle. All other spots, and the palm rest in particular, are much cooler. Toshiba really did a good job with the cooling solution.

Max. Load
 38.7 °C34.8 °C31.3 °C 
 33.5 °C33.3 °C29.4 °C 
 29.1 °C27.3 °C27.3 °C 
Maximum: 38.7 °C
Average: 31.6 °C
30.7 °C33.6 °C33.6 °C
28.9 °C30.5 °C32.1 °C
26.5 °C27.8 °C28.8 °C
Maximum: 33.6 °C
Average: 30.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  34.8 °C | Room Temperature 22.1 °C | Fluke 62 Max

Speakers

The two speakers are beneath the front edge of the laptop. Toshiba promises that the sound of the Toshiba Tecra has been improved since video calls, company videos or presentations should sound decent via speakers. The maximum volume is actually sufficient for a quiet room, but you really have to use the maximum setting. Unfortunately, there is no onscreen display that shows the current volume when you use the corresponding buttons.

There is hardly any bass, but the sound is at least fairly balanced between medium and high tones. You can improve the sound via "DTS Studio Sound" and adjust it to your preferences with an equalizer. All in all the sound system is okay, but music enthusiasts should use headphones or attach external speakers.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-14 is exemplary in regard to the power consumption, especially when the laptop is in standby or turned off: In this case it consumes nothing or just 0.1 Watts, respectively. The review unit is also very frugal during operation and even beats the Dell Latitude E7440, which has the same processor, in some scenarios.

The minimum consumption when idle is 3.7 Watts up to 6.3 Watts and up to 28.3 Watts under maximum load. The Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 has a much lower consumption than all the rivals do.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 3.7 / 6 / 6.3 Watt
Load 26.5 / 28.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Extech Power Analyzer

Battery Runtime

Thanks to the low consumption values, the review unit manages good battery runtimes with the comparatively large 62 Wh battery. The Haswell processor also saves some energy and the Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 can beat the devices within our comparison in terms of battery runtimes.

You can browse the web with our review unit for more than 7 hours before the device shuts down. The Dell Latitude E7440 with the same processor, but a smaller battery, only manages 5:17 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 46min
WiFi Surfing
7h 06min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
6h 25min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 11min

Verdict

In Review: Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
In Review: Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147

You often notice the customer feedback when you use office devices: There are usually only small issues that could be improved. In the case of the Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147, those would be the input devices, which could be reworked in our opinion. The keyboard would benefit from better feedback and a ClickPad is not perfect for a business device, either, even though you can use the buttons of the TrackPoint.

The weak construction observed when you swipe over the display cover affects the otherwise good quality impression a bit. You can also twist the display quite a lot. The speakers are just average, but still decent for a business device. The display is no highlight with its large color deviations, the low contrast and the high black value.

Otherwise, the Tecra Z40 A-147 has many positive aspects: The low weight and the slim chassis are exemplary, just like the port variety. The performance is okay, and the same applies to the signal quality of the WLAN and WWAN module. The useful security equipment, the quiet operating noise and the low heat development are other advantages.

The Toshiba Tecra A-147 is a good choice if you are looking for a high-quality office laptop with good performance and decent runtimes. The mentioned drawbacks carry less weight if the display is not so important for you and you do not want to type very long texts with the keyboard. Still, the review unit only gets the silver medal because of the mentioned drawbacks.

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In Review: Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147. Review unit courtesy of Toshiba Germany.
In Review: Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147. Review unit courtesy of Toshiba Germany.

Specifications

Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
:: Memory
4096 MB, Single-Channel, 800 MHz
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 1000 MHz
:: Display
14 inch 16:9, 1600x900 pixel, TOS5092, TN LED, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630, 500 GB 7200 rpm , 453 GB free
:: Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combined 3.5 mm stereo jack, Card Reader: SD card reader up to 64 GB, 1 SmartCard, Sensors: Fingerprint reader, Vibration sensor,
:: Networking
Intel I218-V (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 3160 (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth, LTE (4G), HSPA+, GSM/GPRS/EDGE
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20.4 x 338 x 236
:: Weight
1.47 kg Power Supply: 0.13 kg
:: Battery
62 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4 cells
Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 9 h
:: Price
1349 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2.0MP FHD Webcam, Speakers: Stereo speakers, Keyboard: Chiclet keyboard with 87 keys, Keyboard Light: yes, TOSHIBA Eco Utility, TOSHIBA PC Health Monitor

 

[+] compare
The Tecra Z40 A-147 from Toshiba has a nice magnesium case.
The Tecra Z40 A-147 from Toshiba has a nice magnesium case.
Silver-gray is the predominant color.
Silver-gray is the predominant color.
Opening the bottom cover is not as easy as it looks.
Opening the bottom cover is not as easy as it looks.
This means it is not easy to access the memory, battery and the hard drive.
This means it is not easy to access the memory, battery and the hard drive.
The docking port at the bottom is pretty much mandatory for a business device.
The docking port at the bottom is pretty much mandatory for a business device.
Even the fan exhaust looks pretty nice.
Even the fan exhaust looks pretty nice.
The speakers are average, but decent for an office notebook.
The speakers are average, but decent for an office notebook.
Numerous status LEDs at the front.
Numerous status LEDs at the front.
The webcam is average as well, but sufficient for video calls.
The webcam is average as well, but sufficient for video calls.
Toshiba's TrackPoint is called "Accupoint".
Toshiba's TrackPoint is called "Accupoint".
The position of the fingerprint reader is a bit strange, directly underneath the ClickPad in the silver strip.
The position of the fingerprint reader is a bit strange, directly underneath the ClickPad in the silver strip.
The hinges keep the display in position well, but cannot completely avoid bouncing.
The hinges keep the display in position well, but cannot completely avoid bouncing.
The design is appealing as well.
The design is appealing as well.
The Intel Core i5-4200U is a frugal and powerful processor.
The Intel Core i5-4200U is a frugal and powerful processor.
It is a good choice, but Toshiba also offers more powerful processors.
It is a good choice, but Toshiba also offers more powerful processors.
Next to the fingerprint reader are more status LEDs.
Next to the fingerprint reader are more status LEDs.
The buttons of the Accupoint can also be used for the ClickPad.
The buttons of the Accupoint can also be used for the ClickPad.
Otherwise you have to focus on the lower part of the pad to execute a click. This is a bit imprecise for a business notebook.
Otherwise you have to focus on the lower part of the pad to execute a click. This is a bit imprecise for a business notebook.
All in all, the input devices are decent, but there is still room for improvement.
All in all, the input devices are decent, but there is still room for improvement.
The Tecra Z40-147 is a bit thinner than the competition.
The Tecra Z40-147 is a bit thinner than the competition.
However, it still offers many ports.
However, it still offers many ports.
You can obviously extend the port variety with a port replicator.
You can obviously extend the port variety with a port replicator.

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Pro

+Good battery runtimes
+Accupoint as additional input device
+Matte display
+High-quality chassis
+Good port variety
+Security equipment
+Low weight
+Good wireless signal
+Reasonable performance
+Low temperature development
 

Cons

-Wear at the cover
-Limited feedback from the keyboard
-Clickpad
-Strange position of the fingerprint reader
-Display with bad measurements for the colors
-Poor contrast and black value

Shortcut

What we like

The nice case and the Accupoint.

What we miss

We recommend an SSD for every user.

What surprises us

Why the fingerprint reader is located in such a strange position...

The competition

Dell Latitude E7440, Acer TravelMate P645, Fujitsu LifeBook E744, HP EliteBook 840, Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

Rating

Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147
07/09/2014 v4
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
80 / 98 → 82%
Keyboard
78%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
80%
Weight
69 / 67 → 100%
Battery
88%
Display
73%
Games Performance
52 / 85 → 61%
Application Performance
72%
Temperature
92%
Noise
96%
Audio
55%
Camera
65 / 85 → 76%
Average
76%
82%
Office *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Toshiba Tecra Z40 A-147 Notebook Review
Author: Florian Wimmer, 2014-07-12 (Update: 2014-07-16)