Toshiba describes the 14-inch, sub-2kg Tecra R10 series as having a 'sleek design, extensive features and lightweight portability'. There are three models available, our review sample being the entry-level £1,030 R10-112. The mid-range R10-11B with a faster CPU and bigger hard disk costs £1,210, while the top-end R10-114 (with a solid-state drive and integrated mobile broadband) costs around £1,720.
The R10 has a predominantly silver livery inside and out, except for the black frame around the screen. The system measures 33.7 by 3.1 by 25.2cm and weighs 1.97kg, keeping it just inside the sub-2kg ultra-portable class.
Build quality is generally robust, although there's a fair amount of flex in the lid section. We like the way the system tapers towards the front of the laptop and the fact that the lid section is slightly shorter than the base -- this means that the status LEDs, on a frame surrounding the mouse buttons, are visible when the laptop is closed.
There's no clasp to hold the lid and base together when the laptop is closed, so you'll need a separate compartment in your travel bag to house the R10 securely in transit.
The screen is a 14.1-inch, high-brightness LED-backlit display. It has a matte finish, which will please those who find reflective screens distracting. Viewing angles are excellent, and the native resolution of 1,280x800 pixels is adequate if not remarkable.
The spill-resistant 86-key keyboard is not entirely to our liking. There's plenty of space for it, yet the keys feel slightly small. Worse, the keyboard has a good deal of flex. This was noticeable even with a relatively light touch, so heavy-handed typists may find it off-putting.
To the left of the keyboard is a bank of three buttons on a vertical bar -- there's some flex in this bar, too. One button is the on/off switch, the second opens the Toshiba Assist window, which accesses various system settings, and the third button opens the Windows Mobility Center, which offers further customisation options.
Beneath the keyboard, the touchpad has vertical and horizontal scrolling built into its right and bottom edges. The large mouse buttons sit on a separate panel made from shiny plastic, which contrasts well with the matte finish throughout the rest of the laptop. They barely depress at all, but do deliver a satisfying click. Between the two buttons is a fingerprint sensor.
A VGA-resolution webcam sits above the screen, with a status indicator to its left that illuminates when the camera is running. Toshiba provides some software for adding effects to any video or photos you shoot using it. The webcam can also be used for logging on using face-recognition software.
The R10-112 uses a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SP9300 processor, which has 6MB of Level 2 cache and a 1,066MHz front-side bus. This is a relatively new chip, which launched in the fourth quarter of last year. The other two Tecra R10 models use the faster 2.4GHz SP9400 chip. Our review sample had 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM, expandable to 8GB. The mid-range model comes with 3GB, while the top-end variant has 4GB.
Windows Vista Business comes preinstalled, with a downgrade option to Windows XP Professional on a supplied recovery CD.
For storage, our review sample had a 160GB hard drive, while the R10-11B has a 200GB drive and the R10-114 splashes out on a 128GB solid-state drive. The mechanical drives benefit from a shock-protection system. There's an integrated optical drive, a DVD Super Multi (double layer) unit, which sits on the right-hand side of the system.
Graphics are handled by Intel's integrated GMA 4500MHD chipset, which uses shared system memory and so isn't suitable for graphics-heavy work.
Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g, draft n) and Bluetooth are both integrated, along with Gigabit Ethernet for wired connectivity. If you want mobile broadband as well, you'll have to add it via a USB dongle or opt for the top-end R10-114.
This laptop doesn't offer as many ports and connectors as we'd like. There are only two dedicated USB 2.0 ports, for example, but at least they're physically separated, with one on the left and one on the right. Next to the left-hand USB port is a combined eSATA/USB connector, which, unfortunately, is slightly too close to guarantee simultaneous use of both ports.
On the right side of the casing is a SmartCard reader, above the optical drive. Behind these is an on/off slider for the wireless radios and behind that the USB port. Near the bottom of the casing is an ExpressCard slot, which is difficult to access without lifting the laptop off the desk. Finally, at the back of this side are the Ethernet port and the power connector.