Why shouldn't I get a Toshiba Tecra M2? WTB Thread

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Kevin143, Aug 9, 2004.

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  1. Kevin143

    Kevin143 Newbie

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm in the market for a thin and light laptop, centrino platform for around $1500 and have been researching obsessively for the last couple days. I am going to college, and will be doing word processing, internet surfing, programming, a little web development, software like Mathematica, and occasional gaming.

    Here is the laptop I have configured for myself online with Toshiba:
    Intel Pentium M Processor 1.6 Dothan
    NVIDIA graphics w/ 32 meg (FX5200, I believe)
    256 megs of RAM (the minimum, I will be adding more myself)
    14 inch XGA display (I would love to have SXGA+, but it's not worth 75 more dollars to me)
    60 gig HD, 5400 RPM (a $50 dollar upgrade from a 40 gig 4200 RPM drive)
    DVD/CD-RW Drive
    Intel Wireless Lan 802.11g (which I assume means Intel Pro 2200, which would make this a certified Centrino, correct?)

    It comes to $1,484.10, plus $10 shipping, which brings it to $1495. Then, of course, there's 7% tax. I wish I lived in a state having a tax free weekend. Oh well. Toshiba also offers 12 months interest free financing, which is another benefit. The only complaints about the Tecra M2 concern the look and feel. Some people say it has a cheap look and feel. There is an extremely negative review here: http://www.pcplus.co.uk/reviews/default.asp?pagetypeid=2&articleid=30879&subsectionid=372&subsubsectionid=39. However, there seem to be many more people on these forums saying that they love their laptop and it feels solid. CNet's review is overall positive, although they complain about the feel of the "sagging" keyboard. What does a sagging keyboard mean, exactly?

    Here were my thoughts leading me to feel strongly about the M2:

    It has to have a trackpoint. I can't stand touchpads, and though I'll be using an external mouse whenever I can, sometimes that just isn't convenient, so trackpoint is a must.

    Bluetooth would be nice, but isn't necessary, and in my mind is worth paying much extra for.

    It seems like the IBM T42 is the best in the market, and a friend of mine has one and it's pretty wonderful. However, it's extremely expensive, and one thing that bothers me is the function key at the bottom left instead of the control key.

    Dell is out, the 600M has no trackpoint, and their seem to be a lot of complaints about the overall feel of the unit. If I'm spending $1500+, I don't want to be stuck with a cheap feeling unit.

    The Fujitsu thin and light model seems like a contender, except the trackpoint does not have its own buttons, forcing two handed operation, and it has integrated video. It's too bad, it seems like an extremely solid laptop.

    Sony is just too expensive.

    Apple would be nice, but for 1500, there's just not enough computer for the price paid.

    I haven't really studied HP/Compaq's competitive models in depth, but at a glance, it seems like it is more expensive to go with them.

    Thanks for your comments/suggestions and for your help.
     
  2. Andrew Baxter

    Andrew Baxter -

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    I think you've made your own case here! I think the Tecra M2 is a great machine for the price. You are right that IBM and Sony cost more, Sony for its label and style and IBM for its build and excellent software (today I used the System Restore software to recover from a virus that had infected my T40, I was so happy how easy this system software made it to avoid reinstalling the OS and disinfecting the virus...blah).

    I totally agree with you on the trackpoint issue, give me a good trackpoint, or else I'll just use a mouse thank you very much.

    Sagging keyboards refers to the feel of a keyboard that kind of sinks in the middle where there tends to be less underneath support for a keyboard. This certainly doesn't happen with a solidly built system. I'm not sure if this is a huge issue with the Tecra M2 or not to be honest. Can you go to a retail store and do some typing on an M2...or are they not sold near to where you live? It seems you are very concerned about the machine build and usability and you are very wise for making this a top consideration, so if you can I would recommend trying out typing on one and using it for a few mins before buying.

    If you do look at HP, the Pavilion zt3000 or Compaq nc6000 might be worth a look for you...neither have trackpoint though and I don't believe any HP laptop does.
     
  3. nonprophet

    nonprophet Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi,

    I too was disappointed when I first saw the M2 in New Zealand right after they came out (weren't available in US yet) The specs were all that I wanted, and I was really really excited about the M2. But when I finally saw one in the store, I was dissapointed, and even posted those comments here in the forum. However, I began looking more closely at a variety of laptops, and in the end I had to revisit my earlier remarks about the "plasticky" feel of the M2.
    the bottom line is IMHO is that ALL laptops have a certain "plasticky" feel to them, it's just the nature of the beast i.e. trying to make them as light and yest as powerful as possible. A few friends of mine have Dell laptops which REALLY feel cheap and plasticky to me, and, that coupled with not being able to see and feel a Dell laptop before i purchase it, combined with their not-so-great record on tech and customer support, definitely steered me away from them. In the end, for me for price and features it came down to the M2 or the IBM T41/42. The IBM's have rock-solid keyboards, but it was about $500 more to get the IBM equivilent to the Tecra M2, and so I went with the M2. I have the s-730 model, and I just love it! The keyboard is very solid to me (not so with the toshiba M-30--probably one of the most flimsy keyboards I've ever used) and I too love the trackpoint and touchpad. The more I use my M2, and use others newer PC laptops) the more happy I am with the purchase. Their tech support has been great (only used them to set up my wireless network) and I also opted for the System Guard feature for $99 which insures my M2 against ANY damage for the full 3 years of the international warranty--to must a must have with fragile/portable computers......Buy the M2, you won't regret it!!
     
  4. Kevin143

    Kevin143 Newbie

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    I just ordered one, thanks for the moral support. I ordered the one I spec'ed out in my original post, and I opted for the $99 system guard. It's nice knowing that I can reasonably abuse the laptop and just not have to worry about it.

    It also came with a free after rebate printer, which I'm certainly not complaining about. The only problem I had was that it'll take 12-14 days for them to build it. It's longer than I would like but certainly within reason.
     
  5. ReverendDC

    ReverendDC Notebook Deity

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    Be careful. There has been mention of the chips heating up excessively on other threads on this forum. I think that this problem mainly affected the Dothans, but I would check it out just in case.
     
  6. nonprophet

    nonprophet Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have the M2 S-730 with the new Dothan 735 chip, and I have had no problems at all with heating--indeed I'm very impressed at how cool the system runs and how quiet the fan is. I use it in my lap all the time with no problems at all.
     
  7. jfdsadcnsjza

    jfdsadcnsjza Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for all the good info. I ordered my M2 on Friday and customized it with the 1.6 Dothan, 64mb video, bluetooth, 80gb 5400 RPM HD and the system care warranty addition. It is still sitting there with a status of credit card verification pending.

    I was considering cancelling my order till I read this thread. Now, I think I will just wait it out.

    Laptop Nut Case
     
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